Announcing the Lao T-Shirt Experiment
I don't think I've ever been so excited about a new t-shirt.
So I have a sister named Cami. She is one of my three favorite sisters. She's one of those creative types that does vinyl lettering on walls and silk screening on t-shirts. A few weeks ago I asked her to make me a shirt with some Lao writing on it.
My idea was to wear the shirt in public, and hopefully start some conversations in Lao. (Okay, it's not really my idea. I modified Benny Lewis' idea.)
Translated, the shirt says "Hello! I am learning Lao. Please speak with me."
So far, I've worn it in public three times. I don't have any new Lao friends yet.
I was pretty nervous the first time I wore it. I wore the shirt on my weekly trip to the grocery store. Every time I passed an Asian person in the store, I wondered if they were Lao, and if they would read my shirt.
Apparently Lao people don't shop at the same grocery store I do.
In fact, the three times I've worn the shirt this month, only white people have asked me about it.
I've had someone ask me if the writing was Hmong. (Hmong uses the English alphabet.)
Three times people have asked what my shirt says. I have fun with that question. My reply is "Oh this? It says 'Sabaidii! Khoi hian Pasalao. Galuna vow gap khoi.'"
I think, though, that I'm going to need to find some other places in Sacramento where Lao people are more likely to be. I'll be sure to write about my first actual Lao conversation started by my shirt.