Part of the fundamental core of who I am is that I'm both Hmong and American. I was born to Hmong parents, raised in the Hmong culture, and I'm expected to abide by Hmong traditions. However, I was born in the United States and have also been immersed in the American culture all my life. I've been schooled in the American K-12 system all the way through to graduate school, and now as an educator, I work alongside mostly white American colleagues.
As you may already know, the Hmong and American cultures are different in many ways. For me, it's a bit like living one way during the day while at work or school, and then going home to live in another completely different manner--from language, mannerisms, food, etc. This was very true for me as a kid growing up, as my parents were somewhat traditional. Now that I'm an adult and in my own home, the difference is not as drastic.
All my life, though, I've been trying to figure out what it means to be Hmong-American. I've been trying to make sense of both worlds to find some middle ground, but there are clashes. Not ALL the time, but from time to time, yes, there are issues.
I think of it in terms of this fairly common metaphor for life. Both worlds (Hmong and American) have threads that constantly weave in and out of my life. They intertwine together but not always well...I haven't found a way to weave them together seamlessly.
It's complicated to live in between both worlds, and I don't think I'm the only one. What have your experiences been like, and how would you describe it?