Khet Mar and her two sons in Rangoon, Burma
Photo: © Than Htay Maung
Arriving here in March 2009, Khet Mar, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s current writer-in-residence, journeyed with her family on a 45-hour trip from her home in Rangoon, Burma all the way to Sampsonia Way. Living with her husband Than Htay Maung and two sons, Khet Mar has resided on Sampsonia Way now for just over a year.
Since she was young, Khet Mar has written short stories, essays, and poems and continues to do so today on Sampsonia Way. Currently writing a short story, she is preparing to write her very second novel. But, at this point she is still trying to organize her thoughts.
Coming up in July, Khet Mar plans to partake in two readings of her previous work. She normally takes part in readings at local high schools, universities, museums, and at literary discussions about the Burmese community.
One of Khet Mar’s most recent hobbies since moving to America has been her garden.
“I’m currently planting flowers and vegetables in my backyard. I love gardening and seeing flowers grow. I walk in my neighborhood’s streets almost everyday and see the flowers that others have planted. I enjoy doing this a lot. One of my favorite places is my garden, where I can talk with the flowers and the plants. Another favorite place of mine is the bedroom, where I can travel in my thoughts and where I can just read.”
Khet Mar’s family is making sure they keep equally as busy with their new lives in Pittsburgh. While Khet Mar writes, her husband is painting a mural on the side of their home, and their children attending school and will soon go to summer camp. Both Khet Mar and her husband are studying at the GPLC (Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council) to help improve their written and spoken English.
“My family likes Pittsburgh very much. I like it too. A class mate of mine, who came here from Poland, told me she feels like the people from Pittsburgh are not welcoming to her family. I do not know what the difference is between her family and my family because not only the people of Pittsburgh but, also the rivers, bridges, trees and flowers welcomed us warmly.”
“Sometimes, I am thinking that I am in a dream. As a young woman who grew up in a fishing village and learned how difficult it was to survive; I never expected that kind of life I now have at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Now I am living safely and peacefully in the most livable city in the US. Our luck is very difficult to believe.”