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My mother was born and raised in Vietnam. My father is a fifth-generation Californian whose family journeyed across Death Valley in the 19th century. My aunts are Taiwanese and Singaporean, and my cousin is Italian.
I was well on my way through elementary school before I realized that not everyone eats ph? regularly, and not everyone has family members strewn around the world. As I grew up, I began to notice the cultural divides all around me — including the ones within my own family. I observed how my father’s Caucasian family and my mother’s Vietnamese family never truly intermingled with one another. For example, I had two Christmases every year, one with my dad’s side and one with my mother’s. One in which I spoke English, the other in Vietnamese. With such a unique combination of cultures in my family, I found myself suspended between worlds, not wholly a part of one or another.
Over time, I grew to appreciate the mixed heritage that both added to my character and set me apart from my friends. Living in the Bay Area, with its diverse population, I was intrigued by cultural differences and sought to understand other families and their traditions. In school, I found myself fascinated in French class, going home and struggling to read French news sites as my understanding of the culture slowly improved.
Ultimately, my ethnic background has been monumental in shaping my worldview and, essentially, in developing my desire to delve into the unknown.
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