I remember the days when Hmong people use to gather outside their homes at parks. There were so few Hmong families in the town I grew up, so I would see familiar faces everyday.
When we herd the ice cream trucks coming, we run towards our parents to annoy the money out of them. The lucky ones are usually the most persistent criers.
The men would gather in the small parking lot and roll out their handwoven mattresses, home brewed rice wine, and playing cards. The older and younger generations would sit together on the grass, or small woven chairs to smoke and gamble.
The women would stay by the playground and slowly stitch away at their paj ntaub, gossip, or watch their children play.
However today you wouldn't find people at parks and it makes me wonder, where did everyone go? When did these gatherings become less common, and just stopped?
Whenever I see a playground it takes me back to those days. The land, environment and objects contains stories and the memories shared with people. Maybe that's why my relationship with Hmong textiles, symbols, colors makes me feel bitter sweet.