I was born in Vietnam in the 1980s and immigrated to California when I was three. I do not have many memories from that age – but my sense is that I was highly confused about what was happening in my life.
Why was I here and not in Saigon? Where was the rest of my family?
As I grew up in San Diego, I quickly adapted to what was expected of me. However as an immigrant in predominantly white communities, not knowing basic things about my cultural identity created a gaping hole in my sense of self. I felt like I was floating through my life, untethered.
Who was I, really? It felt impossible to know because I didn’t really understand where I came from. I honestly didn’t know much of my own life story, nor that of my parents and my grandparents.
The summer before I started college, I visited Vietnam for the second time since I immigrated to the States. I was 18 – and it was that summer when it became very clear that I needed to take every opportunity to connect to my Vietnamese-Chinese culture. If I didn’t, I would walk through my life half-blind.
During my first year of college, I enrolled in language courses, established a second major in Southeast Asian Studies and made plans to study abroad in Vietnam.
I’m in my 30s now. I’ve lived in Hanoi for a period of time, relearned Vietnamese, and gotten to spend time with my family living there. I’ve drawn my family tree and recorded family stories.
There is still much more for me to learn. But ultimately, those years of intense immersion gave me the sense of cultural identity that I needed to feel solid in my roots.
Most people do not have the luxury to spend four years in formal cultural studies. But we can all make small steps. We can read history books and watch documentaries. We can talk to our family and write down their stories. We can travel to our home country.
My workshop for AAPI Women is one of those small steps.
This 6-week workshop “Exploring Our Cultural History, Family & Identity” was created with the intention of supporting Asian women in connecting to their roots.
Instead of going through this alone, we can share the uncovering, the stories, and the questions together.
If you identify as an Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, or multiracial woman, I warmly invite you to this small circle of like-minded individuals coming together for the same purpose.
1) Call 858-754-8884 or
2) Schedule a 5-10 minute interest call.
To Share: If you have a friend, colleague or community group who would benefit from knowing about this workshop: