Dedicated to sharing the beautiful, frustrating, and oftentimes awkward cross-cultural experiences of life as an expat.

PHOTO ESSAY: MORE THAN A POSTMASTER IN THE HEART OF AMERICA

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The forecast plays on the radio about every 15 minutes or so. The same old jingles from years ago can be still heard. Not much changes in these parts. At least not much has changed since I left almost a decade ago.

PHOTO ESSAY: GETTING READY FOR SHAN NATIONAL DAY 2015

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Myanmar is a very ethnically diverse country with over 130 officially recognized groups of people categorized into eight major races including Shan. Shan National Day happens once a year. It's a day to celebrate diversity and keep the traditions of more than 30 unique Shan ethnicities alive. A full day of events highlighting colorful costumes, rich food, and impressive dance routines is held at People's Park in Yangon every February.

I had the chance to follow members of the Palaung (Ta'ang) tribe from northern Shan State last year, as well as this year. Both opportunities have left me mesmerized by bright attire and beautiful cultural displays. To have gotten to observe and photograph such intimate moments before showtime both years was special. I hope to see the group again next year.

A member of the Palaung group getting ready for Shan National Day in Yangon, Myanmar. February, 2015.

Folding a pink head wrap worn my Palaung men in time for Shan National Day in Myanmar. February, 2015.

A Palaung man finishes tying his traditional pink headdress on Shan National Day in Myanmar. February, 2015.

Traditional Palaung clothing is bright and layered. A member of the group poses for a shot. Yangon, Myanmar.

Palaung women helping each other get ready for Shan National Day in Yangon, Myanmar. February, 2015.

Musical instruments, a flag of Myanmar, and various items being blessed by a monk before the performance.

A traditional headdress worn by a member of the Ta'ang group on Shan National Day in Yangon, Myanmar.

Members of the Palaung tribe from northern Shan State, Myanmar, take time to participate in a blessing ceremony.

Traditional instruments used during the Palaung performance at Shan National Day in Yangon, Myanmar.

RELATED PHOTOS:

JOIN CHASE: Shan National Day 2014

RELATED VIDEO:

JOIN CHASE: TA'ANG (PALAUNG) YOUTH GROUP IN YANGON

PRETTY IN PINK: WHAT I LEARNED FROM A LITTLE NUN IN MYANMAR

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The hands of a young nun in a pink robes outside of Yangon, Myanmar.

The car was left running, as the driver, my school’s principal, said she’d be back in five minutes. I sat in the passenger’s seat fidgeting with my phone—probably messaging a friend, checking what time it was—the usual distractions that cause too many moments to be missed in life. In fact, I was so immersed that I hardly heard her faint pattering on the window.

THE CULTURE OF MYANMAR THROUGH CUISINE

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Traditional soup from Myanmar.

“Have you eaten?”

I could never figure out why people in Myanmar would wonder if I had eaten whenever they’d see me. But, after I started learning more about Myanmar’s culture and language, I realized it’s one of the most common greetings. It’s like saying, “How are you?”

LAST LOOKS

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A novice monk posing for a picture near Yangon, Myanmar.

The ending of time spent in a foreign country is something I know well. Yet, it doesn’t get any easier each time I’ve come to an end point in life. The more I invest in a place, the harder it is to leave.