Friday, December 13, 2013
FInding love in unusual places
By Blia Yang
I never approved of any Hmong person going overseas to marry someone. I always believed that those marriages were just a way for people to come to America. I also believed that people who married ib tug neeg nyob tebchaws vam meej no xav thiab ntshaw lub neej vim txoj kev muaj nyiaj ntxiag xwb. Cov neeg nyob tim ub lam txias nyiaj yeej tsis muaj kev hlub kiag. The thought of international marriages only brought out negative thoughts. Why would someone want to marry overseas when they can find someone who is educated and knows the language to start out a better life? Luag tej yeej hais tias ua li cas yus xav yug ib tug neeg es tsis paub ntawb paub ntawv. Tsis yog hais tias yus ruam thiab tsis zoo nkauj es thiaj nrhiav tsis tau ib tug nyob tebchaws Ameliska no. I used to believe in all of that. But now my view has changed because I am part of it.
I hesitated to tell my story because I’m scared of what others might think. I was afraid to be judged the way I used to judge others. But after much thought I decided I needed to share my story. I was once in your position.
In 2009 I just graduated from U of M in elementary education and was about to pursue a masters program in curriculum and instruction. My parents suggested I take a break and travel to Laos to visit relatives that I have never met before and to finally see the land they have been talking about. We arrived just in time for the Hmong New Year in Xieng Khouang. The land was beautiful. The scenery and mountains were breathtaking! The breeze was not like any others. Huab cua txias zias laj siab tshaj plaws yuav tsis muaj dabtsi los piv tau.
I met Nhia during the Hmong New Year. We threw a few balls, smiled and walked around the field. I actually treated him to a bowl of pho. He showed me places around town and some tourist sites. I loved everything about him including txoj kev hais lus qab zib. I love the way he respected elders. I loved the way he talked to his parents. I even loved the way he chopped meat. He was attending law school. He was ambitious. He knew where he was going in life without anyone telling him how to get there. Before I knew it I was falling in love with this guy. Nws tsis hau yuam yeeb, tsis quav cawv thiab tsis twv nyiaj txiag. Tsis tag li ntawv thiab nws paub txhoov tau hau npua.
We shared a lot of memories together. In no time he asked me to marry him. I said no. It was too soon. We had only known each other for a month. He asked me again, I said no. For me going to Laos and meeting him was just a blissful vacation. By the fifth time he asked me to marry him I finally thought long and hard about it. I agreed to get engaged.
Many people strongly disapproved the engagement when I announced it. I was lectured by many about the “mistake” I was about to make. Feelings were hurt all around. But I was lucky to have my parents by my side and I received their blessing.
When my month long vacation was over I came home to Minneapolis and left Nhia behind. Because it was an engagement I was in no rush to get him here. In the back of my mind I also believed that Laos was a country where one could fall in love easily. So, I wanted to see if my feelings were still there. We continued to stay connected through Skype, emails, and numerous phone calls. My feelings and love did not change one bit. In fact, I only grew to love him more.
After a good five to six months I started the paper work. Fast-forward another fives months I went back to Laos and we both spent time together. We stayed in Vientiane and he totally serenaded me. We decided to take the bus to Luang Prabang. I enjoyed being with him on the long bus ride, the time we were together overlooking the spring water, and the night shopping. I enjoyed being sick to my stomach because of the food poisoning and he took care of me. What I loved the most was our motorcycle rides. We still reminisce about many of these memories today.
In no time my husband was here despite the fact that there was a winter storm in Minneapolis and he was stuck overnight in Atlanta, GA. When he finally arrived in Minnesota he touched snow for the very first time!
Muaj ib qho kuv ntshai tshaj plaws thaum nws tuaj txog yog txoj kev thuam ntawm tib neeg pej xeem. But I learned to not let that get to me because in the end they are not the people who matter most to me. We gained the love from the ones that disapproved of us. I would love to assume that they finally see what I saw in him. He’s a great man. He’s respectful.
I understand the negative thoughts and views of international marriages. But every story is different. I want to thank my Hmoob Yaj (7-13-3) side of the family, kuv cov neej tsa, for being so supportive and for loving me so much along with my husband. Trust me, you don’t know how supportive they were. One relative sang us a song and another one played a musical instrument to bond our love stronger. The list goes on. I also want to thank my husband’s pog and yawg (tij yug, kwv yug) that welcomed us with open arms.