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My genogram represents three generations which begins at the top with my

paternal grandparents, followed by their children or my father and his six siblings, and

finally my generation consisting of one older brother and many cousins. It is an odd

feeling contemplating about what life was like for my grandparents during the 1930s in

Vietnam before World War II broke out. Instead, I mostly pondered about the

experience of my parents and their relatives escaping as refugees during the Vietnam

War to the United States. My father would tell me about how his education in Vietnam

did not translate to America and that his English was very weak. Fortunately, my father,

his parents, and his siblings immigrated to the area of Orange County, a community

with major ties to the Vietnamese culture. My two eldest aunts, Thai and Cuc, eventually

moved to Australia as far back as I can remember, so I was never developed a close

relationship with their children (my cousins). But I am very connected to Ngoc, Thien,

and An and Ngoc helped me gather information for my genogram. In the middle of first

grade, my family moved to San Diego because my father's work was located in San

Diego. Because of that, I did not get to see my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and

cousins as often.

Growing up in a Vietnamese household, I had to take weekend classes and learn

about the language and culture. I would say that I was really reserved and an introvert

as a child. I did not have the best self-esteem nor did I have the worst. My emotions

would always waver around the middle, meaning that I was rarely really happy or really

sad. I would say my sense of self was unique as a child, even among other Asian

Americans. I was very meticulous and I was always thinking about hypothetical
scenarios that could happen the next day and how I would react to them each night

before I went to sleep. I would also self-reflect on what happened during the day. I

excelled in school for my parents, but it did not give me an extra sense of confidence

because doing well in school was expected of me. I did not see myself as special in any

way despite being at the top of my class academically. I went to a small, private, and

Catholic elementary and middle with the same group of about thirty kids until high

school. My group of friends came from all sorts of different backgrounds, such as other

Asians, Mexicans, Africans, and Whites. Because of this, I would say that my perception

of others was normal and well balanced. I was well behaved and did not get into trouble

with anyone.

My background could be influential whenever I work with other students from

Asian American or even low income, minority cultures. I know what it is like to have

parents who do not speak English, and I lived in a small apartment without much

materialistic belongings. I could also connect to students who have high expectations

placed on them by their parents. Hopefully this will allow me to better empathize and

connect with their experiences in order to have a deeper understanding to proceed and

help them.

Interview Questions

For Ngoc:

What are the birthdays of everyone? Years on genogram

Can you give me info on marriages and births? Children on genogram, significant others

were not included


Do you know about any divorces? Only Thai divorced and remarried

Where do people reside? Thai and Cuc in Australia, my family in San Diego, the rest in

Orange County

Do you know about any health issues? Only thyroid issues from herself

Any social/emotional issues? None that she knows of

What are the family values and beliefs? Catholicism, her father was Buddhist but

converted before marriage

For Nam (father):

Where did you live in Vietnam? At Saigon, met mom in Vietnam and gave birth to my

older brother in America

What was your education in Vietnam? Did not finish high school diploma, mom finished

high school and went to college in Vietnam but did not finish

Why did you come to America? To escape from the Vietnam War with family

What was your first job in America? Worked as a busboy at a Vietnamese coffee shop

in San Diego, later owned the shop when manager went away

Was learning English difficult? It came naturally with time and interactions