my dad
I don't talk much about my first family
my dad leaves today to retire back home in laos (where I was born)
he came to canada with my mom so that we would have more choices (top right photo was taken just before we came to canada) - you can see where lil' p gets her hair from - the woman in front of him is my mom. they both came to canada with a few bags and hope in their hearts.
they struggled to carve a life for us and never complained
I owe everything I do to my dad - he has taught me to love making things
with my hands - and made me who I am today.
he is one of my biggest supporters (bottom right photo - yes I was in the air cadets - we were pretending to be all serious - we're both not)
I remember as a disgruntle teenager complaining about how busy my after school job was and he said "you should never complain about being busy, it means you will have work"
his hard work ethics always stuck with me
when I decided to go to art school - he was the one who drove me to my interview
and waited outside for me to hear all about it - he came to my art openings and even if he didn't understand my art work he would find nice things to say
I remember when I was 19 and got a job in maine (my first time away from home) and the look on his face of trepidation but also so much trust - and as he said good-bye he squeezed me hard and push a bag of peeled and cut fruit into my hands
he taught me to drive a car and was so patient even when I would drive too close to the curb
he always listened to my stories and all my aspirations in life
as I got older and tried to make a go at my career - I admit the visits were not as frequent
but I still relished our phone calls - and now that he will be so far away - it saddens me deeply
with guilt that I didn't visit him more often when he was closer - I will miss him dearly and hope to see him soon.


  1. this post is so beautiful and sad at the same time
    if my father was alive today I would never let him go away
    he and I were so very much alike
    nerdy and creative at the same time
    big hugs
    ( ps i almost dropped what i was drinking when i saw how much you look like your mom and lil p like you)

  2. I know it was hard
    but he also taught me - you have to live your own life.
    I forgot to say he and I are so much alike too.

    I didn't realize it either till I saw this photo how much p looks like me and I like my mom.

  3. How lovely. I felt a bit teary reading this. What a great father he has been to you. I am sure you take many of the things you learned from him and give them to your own children, even if you don't know it. And you will always be close to him, no matter how far he is.

    One of my friends just had her honeymoon in Laos (for 6 weeks!). She said she never wanted to leave - she met the most wonderful people.

  4. what a moving post, thanks for sharing something so personal. my hubbie's parents emigrated from china, and i am forever thankful they made that huge and scarey step all those years ago (cos i wouldn't have met him otherwise).

  5. I too was struck by the family resemblances. Thank you for this lovely open post. I think it makes us all think of our own precious family ties.


  6. how many of us have gone through in some way what you are going through now.
    it is so hard
    but you can still talk with him and write to him and that will become so precious...

  7. Hey Arounna, thanks for the early morning tear... :-)
    I left home at 20...and am still very close to my parents...they don't love that I am away from them...but they know I have a Life.
    They left their Country's when they were in their early 20's.
    BUT, each time I have to say goodbye to them when I go and visit...my father sheds many tears and squeezes me.
    My heart aches to think about it...and know you are feeling similar feelings...our parents will always be our parents even when we are 60 and they 85.
    I was just near the boarder of Laos and Thailand when I went to Thailand in my mid 20's...
    Have you ever been back?

    My post today is dedicated to Bookhou.
    hope you like it.
    I LOVE the fabric. Thanks!


  8. arounna, this is so beautiful.
    I should go visit my parents more often too.
    I hope you get to see you father soon.

  9. oh Arounna, I feel the weight of your words & your feelings. I wish I could give you a big, warm hug right now.
    Thank you for sharing all of this with us all, your father sounds like a wonderful one. Not all fathers are like that, so encouraging & supportive.
    I agree with Margie, you look like your mom very much, and P looks like you as a lil girl too !
    sending you extra special hugs today oxoxo

  10. Thank you for this beautiful and heartfelt post about your dad. He sounds like a great guy. Piper looks so much like you!

  11. I absolutely loved reading this beautiful post about your amazing dad. It sounds like he deserves a wonderful retirement after all that hard work. I hope returning to his country fills his heart with happiness and peace. Living apart will no doubt be hard, but it sounds like you have a special bond that distance cannot break.

    Thank you for sharing a little bit of him with us.

    And I too cannot get over how much you look like your mom and Piper like you. It is astounding. And I love the photo of you in your uniform. Such a change from the natural clothes you wear now.


  12. I love this post so much Arounna, though I confess it made me cry too, reminding me of my own dad who lives so far away. Your sweet words are lovely, I'm sure he'll think so too. The images are fantastic and I too was amazed at the similarity between you, P and your mom - all beautiful.

  13. I cherish the relationship I have with my father as much as you cherish your relationship with your father. As they get older we do want to be geographically (is that a word?) near them but sometimes it isn't possible...that's why we always have them close in our hearts...thank you for your words you shared. And don't you love that you, P and your mom beautifully favor each other.

  14. Oh Arounna, I feel for you. Your words about your Dad are so beautiful and reminded me to spend more time with my family while I can. Piper looks exactly like you when you were little, and you are so like your mother! I look like my Mum too, and I find it quite comforting to see her in my face as I get older. I just wanted to say too that I received the bird sprout wallet I bought from you the other day. It is so gorgeous and I feel happy every time I use it! I shall treasure it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and art with us :)

  15. I feel the same about my parents. We came from Vietnam. Happy retirement to your father! :)

  16. So true, so beautiful.
    I lost my dad at an early age and sometimes I am a little envious when I see all the good a father can bring his children lives. He was a painter, and I wish I could remember more but I know his absence made me who I am as much as if had lived. Especially for creative people like us who (need to) use all the good and the bad things in life.
    And I understand the guilt, too... ho terrible terrible guilt.
    I wish you to feel at peace about it.
    And I wish you lots of amazing vacations in Laos!!! I really want to go one day.
    It must be something for your dad to go back, after so long. I am myself an immigrant and I know my heart will always be shared between 2 continents.

    I am currently living in Montreal, but I am looking for my next visit to T.O to come to your shop.

    Sorry for my bad English...

    You work is incredible. Good luck with everything.

  17. I hope you will be able stay in touch very often and also make visits once in a while.
    I have been lucky to visit Laos once myself. It is a really beautiful country and the people are so gentle and nice. I would like to go back there one day to see more of the country.

  18. A beautiful tribute. Love is all.
    v xo

  19. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story.

  20. i really loved reading this. you are incredibly lucky to have such a supportive and loving relationship with your father. i hope you will have the chance soon to visit with your father again.


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