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How I Became a Socialite

I’m a relatively shy and introverted girl–I like to keep to myself (though I also like to think I am rather skilled at masking that). So when it came to socials and get-togethers with others,  it was a wee bit of an intimidating endeavor. However, I will admit that the most difficult part of this first step is actually just introducing myself. I’ve encountered this issue where I become hopelessly undecided about what to tell people when they ask me where I’m from, because quite honestly, it can play out a number of ways when they ask:

“So, Sandy, where are you from?”

I can either reply with:

  • “America; you can tell because of my silly American accent,” or, more specifically:
  • “California. I was born and lived there for eight years. So practically spent half my life there,” or, I could say:
  • “Minnesota. I’ve lived there for about 13 years now; it’s where I spent most of my life,” or, alternatively, a combination of both:
  • “I was born in sunny Cali, raised in snowy Minnesota.” But ULTIMATELY, I think people want to hear:
  • “I’m Hmong,” which often leads to either What’s Hmong? or Where are your parents from? which leads to…
  • “My parents were born in Laos and immigrated to the United States during the Vietnam War,” OR
  • “The Hmong people are part of a small, Asian ethnic group originating from the mountains of Laos, China, Thailand…” etc.

So I think you can see why it’s a bit stressful for me to introduce myself to people, because I constantly have to run through this routine… over and over and over again. In fact, I even had an encounter with one of my academic advisors, whom, after I revealed to him that I was Hmong, actually politely asked if he could Google my ethnicity. Though it takes a bit of effort to describe my background to people, I’m glad people at least often seem semi-interested in where I hail from.

Hiding in a tree, because it’s nerve-wrecking to be anywhere else.

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Overall, it’s been fun educating people–and in fact, those who start out asking questions like, “What kind of Asian are you?” usually walk away saying, “OMG I’m so excited to have met a Hmong person! I need to go tell someone about how I met this girl from the mountains of Laos!”

I can’t wait to meet more people.

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One Response to “How I Became a Socialite”

  1. Tong Thao Says:

    When I was in Norway, this happened all the time too. It was frustrating at first but when I explained to people the magnitude of the Hmong situation in Laos, I seemed to gain a bit more respect from my peers. I dont know why, but it felt good to be their first encounter with a Hmong person.

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