Category: the Margin

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This is not a good story. It does not tell you what you want to hear. It tells you that I lived. Survived. Succeeded, even, in being a dutiful daughter, a good mother, a loving wife. It tells you that I was plucked out of precarious circumstances and made...

Insignificance

I saw Mt. Fuji only once from the small, plastic window that allowed me to view our ascension. In only the briefest second I could capture its steep, sloping sides, rising to form a great, chasm-like mouth that stretched above the highest clouds to take a gulp of the...

The Permanence of Memory

They call me a dirty chink and a gook, using the tips of their forefingers to slant their eyes upward while speaking to me in the tones of an Asian language. Ching chong choooww, and they laugh and laugh. One wants to spit on me, and I can see...

In Media Res

When I first saw Việt Nam, it was the year I got into UC Santa Cruz, the second-to-last in a string of colleges that kept my eye on the education prize while my mind still wandered, angry and discontent with the person I had become or angry at people...

Dear Adoption, I’m Tired.

Worn out from years of explaining who I am and who I am not. I have grown weary of trying to assimilate into countries and cultures that ask me to be for them and not with them. I have grown fatigued of tracing a story that befits only a partial narrative, left only...

Vizzini Academics: Kneeling? Inconceivable!

One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Princess Bride.” There’s not much to NOT love about the movie, especially with its witty lines and characters. One of my favorite characters is Inigo Montoya, played by the talented Mandy Patinkin. His most famous line, “Hello, my name is Inigo...

Paper Trails

With the recent worry about providing paperwork to affirm one’s citizenship, I have been sorting through files and boxes in my basement looking for my naturalization certificate. I just recently received a new passport, but in this political climate, I’m worried that it may not be enough. When I...

When Difference Matters

First published on The Adoption Exchange Blog: https://www.adoptex.org/the-adoption-journey/blog/ Over the course of my life, people have been curious about my adoption story. It is a story that begins in the Vietnam War. At the time, adopting from Vietnam was as much a humanitarian movement as it was an opportunity for...

Lost Time

Over the past forty years, my biological father may have remembered me now and again. He may have remembered my presence in the passing of a young, Khmer girl, a furrowed brow resembling my own even though she was not his daughter. He may have wondered how my mother...

Get Back on the Boat

When I think of school I am caught off guard by the multitude of racialized experiences that sent me daily preparing for battle.  I remember the kid that pushed me down in a bus and called me a nigger, stepping on my head as he walked over me and...