Updated: Mar 26
Born in Vietnam, I came to the United States (US) with my family when I was 3 years old. Although I was brought up deeply rooted into my culture, growing up in Miami fully immersed me in not only American culture but also the diversity of the Latin and Caribbean culture. At the early age of 5, it was ingrained in me from my mother and grandmother daily that the life as a woman was going to be difficult. I needed to learn and prepare myself to become the caregiver and caretaker of my home, my husband, and children. My parents also taught me a strong work ethic which has shaped me in many ways. They worked endlessly from morning until night to make ends meet. Seeing my mother going to work then going home to take care of me and my siblings had given me a different perspective on being a woman which I saw at the time, required fulfilling two roles inside and outside of the home to support my family one day. Due to my parent's work schedule, I also took on the responsibility to raise and take care of my 5 siblings at an early age of 7 and eventually when I was able to do so, I started working at the age of 14 to support myself. However, at the age of 17 right after I completed high school, I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and and headed to London, UK alone as a graduation gift to myself. This was my first taste of international travel. I spent two weeks in London without much money but little did I know how much this experience would change my perspective of the world. I learned a lot about myself and others from this trip. Money had always been tight but this never stopped me from progressing. Soon after I came back from my trip, I then went onto University, but due to financial responsibilities and obligations I dropped out within a year. Since my parents did not speak much English when I was growing up, school had always been challenging for me. I had to put in twice the amount of time than most kids because I could not ask anyone for help and at some point I felt that beyond financial reasons, maybe I was not smart enough or good enough to pursue higher education. However, I was the first person in my family to be accepted and go to University, so this decision weighed heavily on me. After having worked and regaining my perspective a few years later, I was determined to not be defined by my circumstances and went on to complete my Bachelor's degree. The next decade was full of of life lessons, trials, and tribulations. I was in a long term relationship with a man who was from a different cultural background from the age of 17 to my early 30's. Although it was a loss of my youth, I want to say that I regret nothing as all this has shaped the person I am today.
--"You can't go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are now and change the ending". -C.S. Lewis