Our Moving Stories: Episode 4 — VianConversation with: Vian.
This podcast is hosted by Bruno Villegas & Ariadne Pacheco.
Vian’s interview provides us a window into the childhood and young adult experience of the children of Vietnamese refugees. From her, we gain insight into the essential role of a vibrant, thriving, and loving ethnic community in solidifying a strong foundation for bi-cultural ethnic identity and providing a sense of belonging. While familiar foods are (in her words) the “star of the show”– it is the relationships and intergenerational sharing of narratives that cultivate bonds.
Two specific themes we hear in Vian’s interview run true in the lives of many other children of immigrants. One is a struggle to maintain full bilingual fluency. She sees it as essential to communicate with the older generation as well as a vehicle for cultivating inter-ethnic solidarity. At the same time, full fluency is elusive and is tied to an undercurrent of inadequacy in the parental native language. Another theme is that of social responsibility. Vian, like many other children of immigrants, consider their victories as not their own but rather that of their parents and grandparents. They feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the possibilities afforded to them by the sacrifices of their parents and often they find themselves drawn to careers where they take a role of helping others and paying it forward.