An Ending is a New Beginning

The fall semester of my third year in college has come to an end this morning at 10. I submitted my last finals paper and now I can finally say that I am free…well, for the time being. To celebrate, I danced into the living room where my parents were sitting and yelled, “I am done!” My dad ignored me but my mom turned to look at me in confusion. I proceeded to dance back to the kitchen where I was and posted a happy + sappy picture on Instagram. Hehe, here it is:

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The caption: “I just submitted my last final paper and boy does it feel good to be free! Ugh, but I still remember this day like it was just yesterday!”

Instead of going out of the state or the country for vacation, I decided to come back to Sheboygan. I plan to spend A LOT of time with my family and friends and also read A LOT of books!

Here are the books I am currently and will be reading:

  1. Half the Sky Movement by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  2. The Mosaic of Christian Belief by Roger E. Olson
  3. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

I also plan to work. Unfortunately, I will be working first shift (6 am – 2 pm) but I need the extra income before going back to school in mid-January. Plus, I have to save for a few things this spring break and summer. Let me explain!

Spring break + Arizona = ? : 

I placed a question mark because this plan is still incomplete. My sister and I are planning to visit Arizona 😀 . I am hoping to explore and experience a different setting as compared to where I am now – Wisconsin. I hope to make everything official soon so I can start budgeting for this trip.

May + Thailand = ❤ : 

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.26.29 AMI declared the certificate in global health this past semester. One of the requirements in completing the certificate is a field work experience. I thought about interning in Wisconsin during spring break to fulfill this section of the requirements. However, one day in my Introduction to Global Health lecture, the guest lecturer informed us about the UW Global Health Field School in Thailand and said that if we apply and are accepted, then it can count towards our field work. I decided to give it a try.

The week before finals, I logged onto my email and received a notification from the UW Study Abroad program 😀 . I think you should know the rest of what happened from here.

So now, that I am finished with my finals, I am planning to look into the finances and going abroad documents aspect of this trip. I am excited!

August + Portland, Oregon = 🙂 : 

In the first week of August, my friends (Kong and Pang Dao), my fiancé (Touhu), and I will be taking a couple’s road trip to Portland, Oregon! We are super excited because: 1. We’re getting out of the Mid-West! 2. Portland = no tax on clothes = fun shopping 3. We heard Portland is hip and a cool city 4. It’s near the Pacific Ocean!

I can’t wait for this trip because it will be spent with a few of the people that I love most in my life.

All in all, this winter break will be spent working and also keeping myself busy because I don’t ever want to waste each day just sitting around. For the most part, I think reading and hanging out with friends and family should keep me company.

What are you planning to do towards the end of December and in the new year?

Cheers,

Tiffany Pauv

Brothers

Photo on 5-21-15 at 11.20 PM #5

It’s August, which means school is almost in session and summer is coming to an end. But it is this time of the year where I am reminded of how blessed I am. It was on the fifth and seventh of this month, sixteen and almost seventeen years ago, I became an older sister to my brothers, Kevin Dao and Sing Sing. Let me tell you, it’s been a hassle and a rocky journey, but at the same time, it has also been a joyful and fun one. 

My brothers are unique. They share this love/hate relationship, in which sometimes I envy because I wish my sisters and I had that kind of bond. I guess it’s normal to argue and fight with your siblings, but what they have are, what I call, “thirty second fights”. They argue, assault each other and then make a stupid joke or fart and all of a sudden they’re best friends again. It’s confusing, at times, but mostly amusing.

My brothers are also enthralling individuals. Besides inheriting my father’s handsome genes, they’re goofballs and adventurers. However, they also have their differences.

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Kevin is a non-conformist. He likes to be with all kinds of people – not just with Hmong people or Christians. He likes to be in a diverse atmosphere because he believes that in it, he is able to understand and learn from the different perspectives and ideas around him. He’s also very on top with the fashion trends now days, in which he has become a trendsetter at school and in the community. Kevin also has a heart for music. He has a passion for drumming and I know on the side, he enjoys singing as well 😀 . Though, sometimes, his super duper loud drumming makes me go nuts, I believe it’s his way of worshipping and communicating with the Lord. Knowing this, in a way, helps ease my headaches. All in all, though, Kevin has been an inspiration in my life. I love his free-spiritedness and his independent thinking. I love discussing music with him and seeing how passionate he gets when we jam with one another. I also love venturing and doing spontaneous things with him because I know he is one who understands beauty as I do.

Now, how about Sing Sing?

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Sing Sing, or as I like to call him, “Uncle Ding Ding”, is the tub ntxawg (youngest son) of the 8 kids in the family. He has a very open and blunt personality, but I’d say it’s part of his “baby of the family” trait. Sing Sing is beyond humorous and has a calling for impersonating people. He is a natural at making people laugh and ponder on life with his jokes, questions, and comments. He is also very intelligent and skillful in various ways, however, I wished he took more notice of these two aspects he owns. Sing Sing is also a talented musician. He currently plays the guitar and I think he also has something for old Hmong songs, which is awesome because I know I can always turn to him to play me songs when I am kho kho siab. But the point is, Sing Sing has taught me to be more open with my personality. He doesn’t know this, but he indirectly encourages me to look beyond one’s physical appearance because it is the personality that is most attractive. I love having Sing Sing’s presence around because I always seem to be annoyed, yet always consumed with laughter.

Let’s admit it, Kevin and Sing Sing are dorks and never ceasing jokesters but I can’t express how much I love them.

To Kevin and Sing Sing: Always be who God has molded you to be. Never shy away from Him for it is He who have blessed the both of you. Remember that y’all will always be our babies so don’t fret to ask for help. Happy birthday, you two ❤ .

Cheer’s,

Tiffany Pauv

Separation

Niam.jpg Dear mom,

It’s hard being miles away from you because all I can think about is being in your presence. Mom, that’s why I call you everyday – to hear your voice soothe my restless heart. I know you hate it when I complain of being hungry; yet, isn’t willing to cook. But I also know it makes you happy knowing I still think of you and the food you make.

Kuv niam (my mom), you don’t have to shower me with clothes, shoes, make-up, or gadgets because all I want is to be home, where everything is familiar because familiar is being with you. Familiar is the sound of your laugh and the sight of your beautiful, unpretentious face. I try to remind myself that this separation is temporary and that I will be home soon. But then I realize I don’t have much time with you because after my pursuance of an education and career, I will start my own life with the man I love. I know I can’t bring you or dad along, so what should I do? Will you visit me – 3 times a week? Will you still answer my phone calls and listen to my complaints? Please? Please?

Okay, I’ll stop asking questions; but only after I hear you say “Ua cas yuav nug seb dais puas muaj kaw tw (why are you asking if a bear has a tail)” because you know the questions are nonsense.

Honestly, though, kuv niam, I miss you so much.

I’ll see you soon,

Tiffany Pauv

Good Man

Camouflage.jpg Dad is a good man. He speaks with truth and understanding. The words that flow from his mouth leaves an eloquent tenderness behind. Ask him a question and he will answer with humble joy. Share a thought and he will intently listen with open ears. Did I forget to mention his hard work and diligence? He raised 8 children with the help of mom. Though the economy was mean and money disappeared from paychecks, dad continued to pour out his love to his family through words of encouragement. Other people were also mean to him, but he kept his head held high, not letting anyone see his tears and hear of his broken heart. “Zam txim (forgive)” is the code he lives by.

Dad is a good man.

Grandma and Her Special Medicine

I was born to Hmong refugees of Thailand in the early summer of 1995 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I had four older sisters at the time and a grandma who watched over us as my parents began their new life as factory workers. While my parents and three older sisters were gone during the day, my fourth older sister and I stayed at home with my grandma who usually sat on her usual spot on the couch, watching her Hmong-dubbed Thai lakorns or listened to traditional Hmong song-poetries. Though, what I would remember most about her was her herbal medicine.

Before my family came to the United States and before they left Thailand, they lived in Laos. In the mountainous terrain of their home country, my grandma traveled around the mountains and jungles in search of special types of plants, leaves, and barks she would collect to prepare for her family, relatives, friends, or other Hmong and Laotian people. My grandma, or pog, was very well known for her medicine. In fact, many Hmong and Laotian men and women from all over the country would travel the distance to find this old, short, brown-skinned Hmong woman with long hair wrapped in a purple, green, and pink cloth, who provided them with special herbal medicine to either cure them or their loved one(s). However, after the war in Laos broke out, my family had to flee for their lives, in which my grandma had to leave her special herbs behind.

Pog thought she would never be able to find her special herbs here in the new country. But as the days, weeks, months, and years pass, she found substitutes. I don’t know how she does it, but she would walk into a park or forest and wander around for an hour, picking green plants that all looked the same to me. I questioned her one time, “Pog, how do you know that plant is for stomach aches?” She answered, “I have a good memory”, then continued searching for her special plants. I tried to help pog look for them, observing the shapes and sizes of each green bush and shrub, although after five minutes, I became impatient and frustrated.

On days she wasn’t out looking for plants, leaves, or barks, she had visitors. Similar to her life back in Laos, many people went to her for medicinal purposes. I remember sitting close by her, listening to her describe what the herbal medicine was for and how it should be prepared and taken. I always thought to myself why her customers would want to eat and drink the twigs and green leaves she collected when they can find them out in their own yard. I was oblivious to my pog’s unique medicine and what they can do. However, I always knew I wanted to be like her – have a good memory.

**I was assigned to write about my first encounter with science for my LSC 212 class. I thought of writing about my boring and annoying experiences I had with biology and chemistry, but then some how I thought of my grandma and decided to write about her. My grandma, as stated above, was an herbalist (I think that’s what they call them) who was busy traveling around looking for her tshuaj (medicine). There were many times, my father recalled, when she had to leave her children behind for a few days or weeks to look for her special tshuaj, while they stayed back to farm or take care of the house. Some may say that she’s selfish and is an irresponsible mother who neglected her children, but I say she’s an intelligent woman who used her knowledge in horticulture to make a living for her family and a cure for others.

Now that I think about it, my pog not only introduced me to science but she inspired me to be a woman of knowledge, love, kindness, and selflessness.

I hope you were able to see why my grandma plays such a big role in my life.

Cheer’s,

Tiffany Pao