Hard to play favorites with all my children, but it would have to be my wonton dumpling tattoo on my right arm. I got it to commemorate my grandfather who committed suicide in Vietnam a few years ago. He ran a wonton noodle cart in District 20 in Ho Chi Minh City for most of his life, waking up early in the morning to operate it. I was born and grew up in Australia, and was disconnected from my Vietnamese background for a long time. I was able to revisit when I was 23 with my mum and met him for the first time in my adult life, and to viscerally understand where I come from and how far my narrative has diverged from that of my grandfather's really hit home when I learned the news of his passing a few years back. It made me truly confront what it was to be a first generation immigrant's child for the first time in my life, and opened up a lot of self-examination around the immense gratitude that I have to be given the opportunities I have, purely out of sheer luck thanks to where I grew up.
How do you think this story mirrors some of your personal values?
My whole family are immigrants, and my dad is a refugee. I had never really fully examined the way that those parts of my story impacted me as an adult until I started really going to therapy this year, and I think it's so important to understand and honor the history of the people who came before you, and to really know in what ways you're shaped by those stories. My wonton tattoo is a way of honoring my Vietnamese ancestry, and the divide that I navigate around being Australian, being an immigrant in America, being a refugee's daughter.