Palden is from Tibet and lives in Takoma Park with his wife, who is also from Tibet.
He emigrated to the U.S. in 2000. From 2000 to 2008 he lived in Takoma Park. He then lived in Silver Spring for eight years. In 2016, he moved back to Takoma Park.
In 2013, he became a U.S. citizen.
Palden spoke little English when he arrived in the U.S. He learned a lot by taking English classes at Montgomery County Community College. He also speaks Tibetan and Mandarin.
He misses home very much. “It’s very hard to go home,” he tells me. That’s due to tricky political issues. He hasn’t visited since 2008.
He worked at the Co-op from 2004 to 2008. After that, he worked at Whole Foods in downtown Silver Spring and returned to the Co-op in 2016.
Palden works in the Refrigerated Department. He pursued employment here because he’s interested in natural food stores. He likes food and learning about food. For him, the best part about working here is his department. Recently, he’s been learning more about cheese.
When asked about what it’s like to work at the Co-op, he tells me that he loves the camaraderie. He says his work can even be relaxing.
Palden thoroughly enjoys living in Takoma Park, especially because his apartment isn’t far away from the Co-op and both his children live nearby. His youngest daughter will finish her undergraduate studies next year; she’s at the University of Maryland in College Park.
He enjoys going into Washington, D.C. when he can. He likes a lot of museums, but the Museum of Natural History is his favorite. “I like history.”
When asked about Co-op products that he might grab for a snack, Palden happily tells me that “we have too many good things here.” He frequently goes for certain chips or crackers.
He tells me that the Co-op carries a lot of good international food and wishes that the store had room for more.
For lunch, he typically brings something that he’s prepared at home. “I like curries. I like to cook Indian, Tibetan and Chinese.” He’s a big fan of spicy food.
In terms of Takoma Park dining, he used to frequent Mark’s Kitchen on a regular basis. But now, he prefers to eat at Asian restaurants in either Silver Spring or Rockville. “I also like Chipotle,” he tells me.
In the morning before work, Palden likes to read the news. He’s especially interested in what’s happening back home and relies on Voice of America and the BBC to stay informed. Outside of his morning routine, he likes reading about philosophy and religion, especially Buddhism.
His family’s most recent trip was to Toronto, Canada; he appreciates how easy it was to travel there. His dream vacation destination, however, would be Tibet.