Ithacan Immigrant: Pakala
We interviewed Pakala, a Thai national, for this week’s Ithacan Immigrant. Pakala moved to the U.S. with his mother in the 70’s when he was a teenager. He expressed that he’s been here so long that he feels like he is already a U.S. citizen but finally decided to take the steps to formally become one.
ISP: Why did you come to US?
My mother had a job with the government with USAID right out of university and the last place she worked was in Laos. When Laos fell to communism she was placed in the U.S.
ISP: Why did you decide to live in Ithaca?
My life has taken many twists and turns. My relatives live here and I needed a haven. Ithaca became a haven for me. I ran away from reality and found a haven in Ithaca – as cliché as that sounds.
ISP: What was your first impression of Ithaca?
The truth? I was born in a large city and had lived in large cities so I thought it was quaint and at the same time I felt so far removed from everything else I had known. That drive from Whitney Point to Ithaca, I felt like I was traveling back in time in a time I didn’t know because of the farm land, the farm houses and the old tractors. But I grew to love it.
ISP: What is your favorite American food?
My mother makes a mean meatloaf.
ISP: Where is your favorite place to shop in Ithaca?
Buffalo Bookstore. There’s a sense of community; a sense of everyone knowing everyone else. I like the interaction of people there.
ISP: What is the biggest difference between Ithaca and your home town?
I find that Ithacans, as a community, care more about what makes the world whole – they look beyond the front door more. I find that to be admirable and rare.