By the time you’re reading this, you probably made it to work (finally!) and are now stuck at your cube or you’re hibernating near a source of high heat bracing for Winter Storm Astro. From Monday through Tuesday, Mother Nature is expected to dump up to 10 inches of snow in the northern states of Montana and Dakotas through our beloved Minnesota.
Imagine being a new Lao Minnesotan from a blistering 100-degree tropics that you’re used to. How do you survive as a Lao during a snowpocalyse? We’ll tell you some simple ways.
1. Candles, candles and more candles. Those who have refugee blood keep it around– we got at least a box of these in every household. Just in case, of course.
2. The shovel is old school, but at least have a few around. Or ask your nice neighbor who has a snowblower to make you a path to your car. You can pay them with a heaping bowl of khao piak. It’s totally fair.
3. Get your snow gear ready. Lao don’t do well in deep feet of snow. Get those sturdy boots on and cover up head to toe.
4. When it gets VERY cold, don’t forget about the plants. It’s been a weird early season of snow, so our plants die easily in Minnesota’s unpredictable weather. Especially those serrano chili peppers. Mae would be very upset if those died. No papaya salad for you!
5. Hot Lao coffee is the way to go. It keeps a body hydrated and energized. Besides water, this will keep you moving. You can usually find good Lao coffee (if not instant) like Dao Coffee, etc at your local Lao store. If not, there are a few who have online stories, including Saffron Coffee and Snake Bomb Coffee.
6. An electric blanket is your best friend. If you’re going to be stuck inside, a snuggie or an electric blanket will help with witnessing the snowfall just a bit more enjoyable.
7. Stock up on the latest lakorn (Thai dramas, although K-Dramas are the rage). Your whole family can be addicted together, and you get a good dose of learning the language.
8. When power goes out, have a few good books nearby. We recommend contemporary classics like Mother’s Beloved: Stories from Laos, Lao classic folklore like Xieng Mieng, or At War in the Shadow of Vietnam for history buffs. Or just play tham daeng (Draw Red) cards with your elders.
9. Make a bulk batch of hot khao piak, sticky rice and beef jerky ahead of time. These Lao staples don’t need refrigeration and it will keep you full for days.
10. Finally, did you call to check in on your mae? Be a good child of the Lao community. Don’t forget our elders. They’re not good with snow. At all. You can contact your local Lao-based social services agencies to see if there are elders who are in need of help.
Be safe and most of all, enjoy the snow!
Do you have photos of your family enjoying (or hating) the snow? Submit it to the Lao Diaspora project.
At top: The scene from a xang’s point of view (Minnesota, 2014)