By Zoe Navapanich
When I was twelve years old, I traveled to Thailand for the first time. I met much of my extended family for the first time, tasted all kinds of different cuisine, and saw many of the typical tourist attractions that draw people from far and wide to the country. Though I am half Thai, and was fairly well connected to my culture throughout my childhood—calling my grandma “khunya” and going to every Thai festival and celebration at the local temple, I felt like a tourist when I finally had the opportunity to visit Thailand.
For many children of immigrants, especially those from mixed-race families, it can feel very difficult to stay connected to your roots. When I visited my cousins growing up, I was ashamed that the only Thai I knew was the baby phrases my Khunya chided us with like แปรงฟัน (brush your teeth) or the nursery rhymes sung to the children at temple. Now, I wonder how much of my Thai heritage I will one day pass on to my children, or how much I would even be capable of passing along considering my lack of knowledge of the language and substantially lower involvement with the Buddhist temple in the past few years. Continue reading Reconnecting with my Thai Heritage through Los Angeles