Friday, May 29, 2020

Reflecting on Asian Pacific Heritage Month

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Weekend! Thinking about Asian Pacific Heritage month and MDW, I thought it'd be a good time to talk a little bit about my family moving to the USA, and the feelings Memorial Day brings me, knowing how my parents were able to come to the states. Being a daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, I am very thankful to be born in the USA, and am proud of my heritage. My mom came to the US in the late 1980s, and has lived in the Midwest ever since.

Along with other family members, they were sponsored by a couple in Illinois through their church.  Of course, it was very difficult to leave Vietnam and there were so many steps that happened in between - but that's something that I don't want to get too personal with out of respect. The family helped with things from enrolling in public school, grocery shopping, and everything that encompasses moving and adjusting to a new country.

My mom has told me stories of the family taking everyone camping for the first time - she always tells me how nice and kind they were. As my mom was still pretty young, she attended public high school and was in ESL. From there, she had some help getting a job, and then going to community college. The show Full House helped my mom learn English, and we would watch the show together every weeknight at 9pm when I was younger. It's still one of her favorite shows to this day! 

my parents visiting Vietnam for the first time since the late 1980s

That same couple who took in my mom and siblings would then go on to attend weddings for years to come. They owned a hair accessories company, and hired my aunts to make some of the accessories as a way for them to make extra money on the side. I still have some of those bows today! The company is now under new ownership (that's another blog post), and my great aunt is still helping out today.

I hope you've found it interesting to look into a very small part into what life was like as an immigrant in the 1980s. I am so very grateful and thankful to the family in Illinois who sponsored my family. I am very proud of my heritage and where I come from - and sometimes I feel I'm not as in touch with my culture as I don't live with my parents, and I don't exactly live in the most diverse area. I know this is different from my usual posts, but it was something I felt compelled to share. Thanks for reading!

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