Report date
January 2021
Learning Log

Know that with conviction and humility, you belong here in this space and precisely at this time. You obviously know yourself deeply and have high capacity to become a Bush Fellow. Recognizing that every Fellow learns differently, I hope my journey thus far can support your own approach and experience. My learning has been surprisingly been a blend of embracing Hmong history, professional tactics, and evolving how to learn. Not that I don't listen to others, but in my commitment to reflection, I've gotten too insular and hardened in my views and so called established truths. I thought I knew broad and deep aspects of my people's history and family journey, but pouring through tons of video footage of the Secret War, testimonies, music, art, and current activism to preserve our stories...I've come to realize the limiting impact of my comfort and only base knowledge. Learning, for me, has required a critical examination of my foundations and not just integration of new knowledge and insights. It has been vital for me to develop and commit to evolutionary competencies, ways to constantly transform and adapt for advantage. In order to do this, I couldn't just structure in check points along the way for review, rather build in daily and routine determinations of truth and appraisals of key tenets. As you develop your plans, no matter how existential or logistical, put every core value on the table to be questioned and potentially relearned and potentially abandoned.
Perhaps the greatest epiphany so far hasn't been about my ancestry as I pursued and expected. while still digging in on ancestry and with much to uncover and define, my learning has pointed towards my descendants. Most immediately and directly, my two young daughters, obviously because of a parent's love but also because of their unique place in the Hmong Diaspora and story. Being born in Laos and living most of my life here in America, I am the bridge. My daughters are both new roots and wings in a way that transcends Hmong and American identity as we know it. I wasn't anticipating this direction in my learning and am affirming this realization with a bit of nostalgia but more so serenity that I have to move forward temporally and psychologically.
As I write this, I recognize that I've diverged from the vantage point of a new fellow. But may be that's the point, that expect and exploit the non-linear path , elimination of paths, and generation of new paths along the way. You will become newer to yourself and see your nuances, unshakable truths, and even broken convictions if you commit to wisdom and deep cultural self study.