Tag: memory

Untitled

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...

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...

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...

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...

Passport

The first name I ever traveled with was Kha Thi Huyền Châu. In Vietnamese, “Huyền Châu” means “black pearl.” I sometimes wonder if the woman who gave me this name wanted to give me a sense of value after it was so obvious that I had none. In the...

Things I Remember Living in Hanoi, 1996

Dirt road to and from the airport. Large numbers of policeman with AK47s. Not going to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. Bun Cha Nem. Hoa Sua and chocolate croissants. Drinking cafe sua non on the balcony of a hostel in Sapa before the fog rolled out of the valley. Hiking...