This post was meant to be about the floating market, but I can’t write about it until I get an incident completely off of my mind.
Last Wednesday; my birthday, I went to a networking event that had many…well paying members if you may. I believe a lot of my fellow ETA’s had fun with it, while others thought ‘this is too “Hi-So/ Fudjie” for me.’ I fell in the second boat but I wasn’t not going to talk to these people who are technically funding us.
Many of these people worked for high-end companies and had lived in Thailand for 5+ years. My favorite question to ask, “So you must know a lot of Thai right?” “No not at all” or “Well, we really emphasize on our workers knowing English” was what I had for a response. A judgemental smile is what they would receive in return. How ignorant! You are IN Thailand. That’s not the part that made me ponder for so long.
I meet eyes with this man and he walks my way. “Ah you must be one of the Fulbrighters!” “Yes, I am.” I continued with what we do and how we do it. After getting bored he asks “So where are you from in the United States.” “California.” “Where in California?” *Where in California? Throughout my time here I’ve said I’m from San Diego. I know San Diego like the back of my palm and have so much SD pride. Realistically, I come from Calexico; a place I have no pride for, nor like to really mention because of the -“two hours east from San Diego, down the mountain grade, bordering Mexico, and two hours from Arizona, barely California”- explanation I always have to give.
Back to my answer. “Calexico, its east of San Diego, bordering Mexicali, Mexico.”
His body language changed rapidly. “Oh, and you’re a Fulbrighter? Well, congratulations on making it. I apologize for all of the immigration politics. It must be very hard. *Clinks my glass and walks away.
I got slapped in the face by that comment. It wasn’t a True apology. It was a, “How are you an immigrant being funded by the U.S. government, and me?”
My grandmother was born in East LA. Sure both of my parents were born in Mexico but that was because of timing not because they illegally immigrated over here. I’ve never been affected by what Trump had to say or anyone for that matter about immigration. It hasn’t personally affected me! I’m American, Mexican-American because my roots are from Mexico but I, and even my Grandmother were born in America. I was a little Mexican- American running around saying, “We should speak English because we’re in America.” If anything I lacked culture.
But no, last Wednesday, was the first time that I was put into the immigration box, whether he assumed my family did it illegally or not. The weirdest thing is that this didn’t happen in the United States. It happened in Thailand.
What I take away from this: I’m proud to be Mexican- American. I understand that immigration and illegal immigration are strongly focused around Mexicans, but I do not fall into that category. That does not mean that I do not feel empathy for those who did and get rejected like I did that night. Mexicans aren’t the only illegal immigrants nor are all Mexicans immigrants. Just remember THAT before you judge a book by it’s cover.
USA is a melting pot, don’t take away that beauty.
Amphawa Floating market on Saturday:
It was a lot of fun trust me! Except a very long day, with so much food!
Can’t wait to share my next adventures with you all! Elaine ❤