In 1979, Airsikhay Ammalathithada escaped to Thailand from Laos by swimming across the Mekong River. She was a teenager then, and spent a year in the Nong Khai refugee camp before eventually settling in the United States. Her aunt taught her how to cook in the camp and cooking is now an important way she fosters her connection to her country, Laos, and her local community in Morganton, NC. This video was created for “Multimedia Storytelling,” UNC-CH School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Fall 2015. Watch in HD on Vimeo.