When I think of Laos and my favorite flower, it is not Dok Champa (white Plumeria or frangipani), the national flower but rather marigold flower. I grew marigold along with Dok Sarmpee for as long as I could dig the dirt to plant them. I associate marigold with religious events and wedding. When I see the flower I think of my deceased grandmother who planted this flower all over her yard. Her house was in the middle of marigold, sunflowers, zinnia, and dok sarmpee.
When we relocated to the US, I planted marigold in front of our house every spring. It was a reminder of my birth place and to keep a little piece of Laos with me. Even today when I am standing next to marigold flowers, the smell of the flowers take me back to Laos and remind me of my early childhood. Memories of picking the flowers for Boun Pee Mai and for my aunt’s wedding or walking along my grandmother’s flower garden came rushing toward me.