By: Su Su Hlaing, EEP fellow from Myanmar
Paying a visit to Missoula – a pleasant, famous and beautiful city in Montana State- is a precious chance for us to explore local culture and gain knowledge on economic empowerment. We have plenty of time shopping, climbing mountain and swimming as we like. It has been for a week in Montana and we are preparing for our home stay tomorrow. I feel so excited to move to a new town i.e. Kelispell that I have never been before and to meet a local American family and to try American life. I have been so excited and longing for this trip to the US since I was accepted to this program in Myanmar.
My dream from my childhood to go to school and learn knowledge in a developed country did not come true for many reasons but now I made it right here in the US and actually I am going much further. This program is about Economic Empowerment, but we also have chances to learn social culture, food, behavior, tradition and thought. I brought with me many gifts from Myanmar to present to my partners, friends and host family. As you may know, Myanmar is a country of ancient culture, handicraft, traditions and food. So I brought here two types of powder basically essential for cooking at Home Stay. There is a proverb in Myanmar – “Gratitude for a mouthful of meal” and “A mouthful of meal and a cup of water”. Even for such mouthful of meal, he/ she is a benefactor not only in this life but also in next life, as admonished by the Buddha and we also believe and accept that admonition. Now, as I have eaten the meal and water treated by the US, I am very grateful for it. That is infinity of gratitude.
I would try my best to show what I know about Myanmar culture while I am at Home Stay period. I hope to exchange culture by showing my friends Myanmar songs, Myanmar food and Myanmar pictures and that is how I reciprocate the American people. I felt quite worried for the weather, language, food and how to stay and but all of my concern were gone thanks to a warm welcome by Deena and Kelsey. Deena and Kelsey give us very detailed guideline from daily training session, places to go and things to eat. The lessons I learned in each subject were very valuable. Especially, I got a chance to know American culture, public sector, government control, government based on sharing of power and they were very valuable for profession. I hope that my other friends who came from other Southeast Asian countries would have different experience, new feeling and excellent results like me.
In this evening, 14 follows from EEP went to home of Shushu and Tuyen for dinner with Asian food. After the dinner, Shushu and Tuyen shared their story about how they migrated to the US in 1975 after the fall of Saigon and their challenge to new lives in the US. Their experience gave us strength to face challenges. All are enjoyed tonight and came back to the hotel. However, they were happy to come to visit us at the hotel and continue to share their experience to all of us in Thanda’s and Sokny’s room.
I am very grateful to the program organizers, cooperators like experts in the subject concerned, coordinators, the Host families that offer us Home Stay and many professors. As a last fact, thank for entering this Blog and reading.