I haven’t been online in weeks because my family and I moved houses and are still settling in what is now our new home. It feels strange to walk into a house that is so different, but it also feels nice—it’s a new start which is healthy and needed. Our new house is not far from our old one, which was a benefit when moving the treasures we’ve collected. We are somewhat still living in the same neighborhood. It’s quite quieter and calmer, and can I say safer to go out? Well, maybe I am exaggerating a little. It’s always been safe, actually. But this house gives off more of a “home vibe” because of the kitchen. The kitchen is spacious and we have formal lunch and dinners at the dining now. We also cook and set the table together. It’s been a while since then. And just the other day, our family photos were finally taken out from the faded cardboard boxes, unwrapped from the crinkled newspapers that protected them for over years, and hung up on the walls of our living room. We have a lot of old but memorable family portraits that were rediscovered and are appreciated more now. With the portraits up, the atmosphere of the new house is warmer.
Some of my favorites are the very, very old ones—the ones with faded colors and rounded edges. I am talking about the ones that are older than I am. One is of my dad in a green uniform and black boots, posing in front of a forest, holding a gun. Believe it or not, in our house, my dad has his own wall of fame. On his wall of fame, displayed are his framed certificates and accomplishments. My dad was a Secret Guerrilla Unit soldier in Laos prior the Secret War. As a young child and even to this day, my dad would tell stories of his experience. I think if I were to write them down, it would be an autobiography with continuous volumes—Sandpaper Hands, Chao Wathao Richard Vang—from a surviving fatal sickness which killed his older siblings, taking the role as the oldest and oldest son, providing for the family, joining the army instead of furthering his education, the inspirational people my dad met who inspired him, the goals that he accomplished, his love and kindness for all, his sensitivity and his soft heart, his humility and respect for others, his talent and knowledge, his generous spirit, his faith.
There is a Hmong saying that goes, “Txiv zoo li lub poj zeb thaiv teeb meem thiaj li tsis los raug peb,” which means, “Father is like a rock that protects us from all sorts of circumstances.” I believe this saying is very true. The repeating wrongs that my siblings and I do, my dad is always the one who protects us and intercedes for us all because he loves us and we are his. I am grateful and very appreciative for such a blessing that has been bestowed upon me.
(Maybe someday I will write that autobiography.)