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
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
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.