The gap between me then, now and someday

I didn’t realize how different of a person I’ve become until I had coffee with a former People coworker who is now a media executive at a different company. I opted out of corporate nearly 4 years ago when I moved to Singapore and started a family. Meanwhile, my former peer, who I’ll call Lillian, is a working mom and continued her career. When I put a date on the calendar, I was aware Lillian was more of a work friend, but we had an easy professional relationship so I didn’t go into the meeting with much of an agenda. At the breakfast, she was as gracious and open as I remembered but the stark contrast in her ability to carry a conversation in business terms with confidence compared to my knowledge of singing the ABCs like Alpha Pig on Super Why had me feeling embarrassed. I simply showed up as SAHM me, and I felt like she really showed up and was prepared for LIFE. Continue reading

Happy birthday to me!

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Happy 3rd Birthday Mai! Pictured behind me is a homemade apricot blossom tree that my mom made for Lunar New Year. She used crepe paper to make yellow buds and taped yellow flowers to tree branches that she found outside. I’m named after the mai flower that blooms in South Vietnam every new year.  I’d also like to note the bangs that I cut myself when I somehow got my hands on scissors.

As a child, my family usually marked birthdays with homemade Duncan Hines yellow cake and chocolate frosting and a round of “Happy Birthday.” My Grandma always mailed each of us a card with birthday money that she signed “Lots of love, Grandma.” Sometimes our grandparents (who were church members that befriended my parents) would invite us over to their house for Little Caesar’s pizza and soda. I don’t remember presents (most likely because we couldn’t afford them), but my mouth still waters thinking about that greasy, hot pepperoni pizza and cake and ice cream.  Continue reading

My parents were refugees

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I attended the Immigration Ban Protest in Battery Park.

I owe my parents my life, but specifically this life that I live in the United States of America. They changed the future of our family when they fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, making me the first American in our family when I was born in Peoria, Ill. Growing up in the Midwest, which was not particularly diverse, I often wondered what life would have been like if my family stayed in Vietnam.

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A thank you to strong, kind women

While my friend Janet Mock inspired marchers with her honest, pointed speech at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. on Saturday, I took my daughter to a birthday party. My neighbor Angelie, who I met through a mutual friend, invited me to join her 5-year-old’s birthday celebration. My friend Vicki suggested I ask my husband to take Fei Fei so I could march with her in NYC. I considered it, but I wanted to take Fei Fei to the party and let Angelie know that I appreciated her inclusiveness.  Continue reading

My letter of solidarity in response to hate

A high school classmate, who is now a youth pastor, asked her Facebook community to send letters of support to the Islamic Center of Peoria in my hometown of Peoria, Ill. The entry sign to the center’s school and mosque was vandalized on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a white supremacist symbol. It was an act of cowardice, hate and division that can be sadly added to the list of hate crimes committed after the election. I am answering Karen’s invitation to express my support. Continue reading

My movie date to La La Land

la-la-landAfter I wrote my first post of 2017, I logged off and out of reality for the afternoon. I took myself on a movie date to see La La Land. I hadn’t been to the movies since seeing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 in theaters sometime in November 2014 when I still lived in Singapore. Some people never go to the movies but for me a three-year hiatus felt akin to Rip Van Winkle waking 20 years later. See, I love movies. Continue reading

Hello 2017: A new year begins

Fei Fei holding her Gymboree Fall 2016 certificate 

I didn’t make new year resolutions. This is the first time in months (years?) I’ve sat down to reflect. I finally have a moment to myself because we started Fei Fei in full day preschool, five days a week. Continue reading