Groom from Overseas: The Groom's Perspective, Part 2
A month or so ago, we brought to you the first half of one of our stories from our series Groom from Overseas. It was from the Hmong-American Bride's perspective. You can read it here to catch up on what the bride had to say about her overseas groom.
This week, I am sharing the second part of our interview. It's the groom's perspective, but with extra questions that I have been wanting to know and I'm sure most of you do too. So here we go!
Before we get started on your actual interview, I want to ask you some questions about life in Laos, work, and dating. Hopefully that’s okay. I want to show our readers some insights that you may have since you were born and raised in Laos.
Yes, that’s fine. I’ll try to answer any questions to the best of my ability.
First, what is work life/life in general like in Laos compared to what you have experienced here in America?
Work in Laos is different than here in America. The company I work with was very lax and not strict on start times. Work may start at 8AM but I can stroll in around 10AM and my boss will not have a problem with that. In America, I believe you get in trouble or you get counted against you for not coming into work on time.
Life in Laos seems slower and relax. We don’t tend to be in a rush. We just go with the flow. When we eat, we don’t have our own bowls. We have more of a communal setting when we eat. For example, at work, we have two to three pots, three to four bowls, and we all share the food. What I have noticed here is, we all usually have our own bowls/plates, when we eat, especially when we dine out.
Wow, I wished my bosses were more relax about us strolling in two hours later. I would have been talked to about coming in late. Okay, let’s get into the dating questions.
When there was no Internet, how did you meet girls? How do you know they received the letters or not?
We would get introduced by friends. That’s how it would start. If we don’t live in the same village, we would write letters and pass it on to people who are going to the other villages. We only know if they received the letter, if they responded back. If they don’t, then there’s a chance that they might not have received.
I think everyone back then use to use snail mail. That’s what we called it here. Now everyone has the Internet and their phones, so it is much easier to meet people of the opposite sex. Let’s move on to the next question.
When you lived in Laos, how was dating?
In the city, there’s many things to do. We meet up and hang out and don’t have to worry about anyone nagging us. In the villages, the elders don’t allow or scold us for going out too much. If we take any of the girls out that live in the village, you would most likely be married. They frown upon going out in the villages. So, dating in the city is much better. We have no restrictions keeping us from hanging out.
Sounds like the stories I have heard. Okay, I am looking forward to what you have to say about the next two questions I’m going to ask you. First question:
What are three things that come to mind that you can share with us about Hmong-American Women.
There are a lot of things that come to mind, but here are the three:
- They have money.
- They are sociable and not shy.
- If you’re lucky and get to marry an American woman, you’ll have a peace of mind, relax, and not have to worry too much.
Wow, those are very interesting. Not different from what I would think. Okay, next question.
What are three things to describe women from in Laos?
- They are young and innocent.
- They are approachable, speak mature naturally, and shy. I think that’s the correct word.
- The way they speak is different than women in the US. They speak in sweeter and softer tone. I'm not saying that Hmong American women don't speak like that but that's what I notice.
Thank you. You have given me some perspective about life back in Laos. Let’s move on to the next part: Your marriage to an American woman.
How old are you? And your wife?
I am 33 years old. My wife is 48 years old Hmong-American. She was born in Laos but has been living in America for a very long time.
How long have you been married?
In June, it will have been 3 years.
When you married your Hmong-American wife, what did your parents, siblings, and relatives think/say?
Most of my parents, family, and friends said that I was lucky I found someone in America. That I’m going to the land of opportunity and that’s great, but there were some naysayers as well. The naysayers say, “why go over to America, when you already have a great paying job. It will be a lot harder for you. It’s best that you stay.” Most of the elders say its fine, if we love each other and are in love, then that’s all that matters.
I didn’t think there would be too many people opposing you when you told them you were going to marry someone from America. I guess someone always has something to say. Must be a human nature response type thing. Let’s move on to the next question.
Do you currently have a job?
When I came to America, I did not work right away but did find a job. It was hard finding a job because most job requires you to speak English. My wife and I moved out of state recently to another state so currently I am not employed but hope to be soon. I am currently taking ESL classes to help with my English.
What are some struggles that you have encountered so far in your marriage?
There are many things we struggle through. First, we are bound to have different perspective on things, because we were both brought up differently in two different countries. In America, it seems like not many people worry too much about money because it’s a land of opportunity. What I have noticed so far is that Hmong-Americans tend to splurge on more stuff, like eating out, on clothes, or other things. That’s what I have observed, so far since being here. In Laos, we are poor, and money is hard to come by, so we tend to save more of what we earn.
With my wife and I, we struggle with overspending on things we might not need rather than save and pay the bills that we need to pay. So, as a married couple, we struggle on that. Secondly, my wife tends to speak more English than Hmong so it’s hard for me to understand. I do get frustrated when that happens. We are working through it.
We hope everyone was able to enjoy this interview as much as we did. We learned a lot from the conversations we had with our guest and it has definitely given us a different perspective on things. We really appreciate that. Thank you to our overseas groom for participating in this interview.