She can’t breathe

“I love the sound of the rain”, I said, “I love being inside and watching it rain. It makes me feel like wearing big jumpers, reading good books and watching films.”

“The rain makes me sad, it makes me remember.” She said.

“What does it make you remember?” I asked.

“It makes me remember my childhood. When the rainy season started we would run into the roads and play in the rivers. It also makes me remember my first love.”

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Another poem: Vietglish

My brother described himself as a ‘cultural cocktail’, a description that I loved. It got me thinking, and those thoughts turned into this poem.

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Sweet Sixteen

Here’s a poem that I wrote looking back on those teenage years. Growing pains, we all got them.

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“Mẹ Việt Nam ơi, Chúng Con Vẫn Còn đây (Oh Mother Vietnam, We Are Still Here)”

Definitely check out Andrew Lam’s article in Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt that really resonated with me:

“We have learned to absorb our pain and grief and are negotiating our positions between East and West, memories and modernity, traditions and individual ambitions, old loyalties and new alliances, such that we are in the process of recreating a whole notion of what it means to be Vietnamese, a definition that is both open-ended and inclusive.

So, Mother Vietnam, in a sense we are still here, but we aren’t who we used to be. The new generations born abroad may still behold that sense of common origin, may still take pride in their heritage, but they are not bound by the idea that Vietnam is their destiny. Rather, it’s one of their many destinations.

A new song is needed, one that describes an individual with multiple affiliations, with additional homelands, someone who shares a sense of common origin but is not bound by collective nationalism. The old umbilical cord, unearthed at last, is transmuted into a new trans-pacific verse, and is an epic in the making.”

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The Vietnamese American Identity, by Nghia Le


If you have talked to me in the last 2-3 years you may have noticed that I have been in 1) an identity development overload and 2) a continuous reflective state. I guess they go hand in hand a bit. The VIA-1 theme “Bridging Identities” and this past UNAVSA-12 staff retreat has got me thinking about my Vietnamese American identity and why it has been important for me to continue to reflect on all pieces of that identity and why I think it is important for all of us to as well.

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