Growing up Hmong American, I have so many fond memories of relative sleepovers, playing outside with cousins til dark, and the moms always planning or making the next meal while the dads watched a movie or conversated with each other. Childhood days of playing with no responsibilities…oh, if I could go back to those time. Which made me think, am I the only Hmong who lives like this? Perhaps I should just put a list out there and a see if anyone could relate. Here’s the start to “You Know You’re Hmong If”.
As I started on this list, I couldn’t help but laugh at how “Hmong” I do some things now.
As an adult, these memories are still at play. Habits we pick up, traditions we were taught, and now we see our children do them too. Now, we just say, “It’s a “Hmong” Thing”.
8 Reasons You Know You’re Hmong
- You know you’re Hmong if at every entryway to your house, there’s a pile of shoes.
Do not enter a home with shoes on your feet!
- You know you’re Hmong if the smell of Tiger Balm, (similar to Ben Gay) is common in the home and Salonpos were placed on the forehead. Pain relieving oils everywhere!
Especially if you had elders in the home. Either someone has a headache or in pain.
- You know your Hmong if, Rice! Every meal consists of rice. There’s always rice cooking or rice ready to eat at home. The worst is when you step on a piece of rice, it either smashed into your sock which ruined it after having to pull it off. Or it stuck to your feet which then it smeared all over and then the floor. Eventually, you’ll find cooked and raw rice in the home.
Where’s the rice?
- You know you’re Hmong if one of the first thing you probably learned how to cook was rice. Someone taught you this, this is the ultimate measuring tool that made perfect rice! The other thing you learned to cook was scrambled eggs.
This line right here on your finger measures the water to rice portion for the perfect rice!
- You know you’re Hmong if sleepovers consisted of all the children who were probably you cousins, all were placed in one room. You gladly slept on the floor. All the kids shared blankets and one of the blankets probably looked like this,
Pam Meb, which translate to Mexican Blanket. They are mink blankets from Mexico.
- You know you’re Hmong if playing “house” consisted of playing outside and gathering grass, leaves, berries, and anything you could find. Nature was food. These were your veggies (zaub) and we cooked just as we saw our moms did. Take a rock and mush everything together and, ta-da, you had “pepper!”
- You know you’re Hmong if your dishwasher isn’t a dishwasher but you store dishes in it. Great place to store Tupperware.
- You know you’re Hmong if you jumped over rubberbands, made sling-shots (mostly a boy thing), and played the game of rocks.
Rocks (or stones) – a game of catching
Watch this video from James Zwier
Jump rope – rubberbands were intertwined together until you had about a good 5 ft. rope. Two people take the ends and hold it across. At each round, the rope goes higher.
Watch the video from Susan Alotrico
These girls are way above my level!
Sigh those were the days! Carefree childhood memories but might I add, I still step on RICE! Rice everywhere!
I still use my ultimate measuring tool to make rice. I use my dishwasher as a dishwasher and I have many Pam Mebs. Seriously the best blankets ever especially living in the Midwest.
Shoes are still piled at my door, the smell of Tiger Balm always takes me back to a time I miss, and I only wish I could still play those Hmong children games.