My parents have 18 siblings together all spread around the world in Laos, France, Australia and America. Even though I haven’t grown up with my cousins at all, we always manage to click instantly when we meet because somehow we were raised the same way.
Here are some of the frustrations they can relate to:
- Shut your mouth, swallow that pride and accept that you’re wrong cause our folks are always right. And when they’re wrong, they’re especially even more correct!
- Following n°1: don’t ever expect an apology. There’s no such thing as an “I’m sorry”, it’s not in the Lao dictionary.
- “Throwing away” or “giving away” is also not in the Lao dictionary. Keeping everything stored till you can’t park your car into the garage however, is.
- I remember going to my Belgian friend’s house and she screamed at her dad for being unfair about whatever. As a Lao kid: raise your voice and you’ll get your head smacked to the wall.
- You may be busy with your homework or watching tv but when your parents are telling you to do something, you can’t do it in 5 minutes after your homework or after your show ends, they mean: drop everything and do it NOW!!!
- My bros had to know how to cook and I had to climb the rooftop by myself with no protection to scratch out the weed from the steep roof. Well, I guess I didn’t fall off the roof, break my neck and die…
- Being a Li-kid = everyone wanting you to be their daughter-in-law. Those many times I had to put up a fake smile and try with all the will in my body not to roll my eyes while on the inside I’m thinking “OH HELL NO”.
- We got to chose our own religion and yet they took us to the Buddhist temple since the day we were born.
- There’s no such thing as having a quiet gathering with your family, there always have to be some drop-in relatives that come into your room without knocking first using their high-pitched voices or what I call yell-talking. So if you plan on studying during the weekend, forget about it.
- Having nicknames: every Lao kid has one. Mine’s fairly cute, it’s Pouky and I’ll leave out all the other nicknames my mom, my dad, my aunties etc. have for me because they each have one. It’s getting to a point where Laotians ask what my real name is…
The thing about Lao families is that no matter how crazy it gets, I know I can count on them. True my parents, aunties and uncles have been extremely tough on all 4 of us but it taught us to be much more caring, mature and intelligent kids compared to others. As they say about family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.