This post originally appeared on the SEARAC 40andForward blog.
My name “Quyen” was named after the story of a bird in Viet Nam, who missed its country so much that it would call out for home. My mom brought me into this world two days after she turned 20. She gifted me with this name because she missed her Viet Nam — heart aching to see the faces of her parents whom she had left when she fled as a refugee at the age of 16. Her family’s hope was for her freedom.
To have a place to call home for this daughter of refugees has been a lifelong journey. From a child of refugees who were displaced in their own countries in Viet Nam, who continued to fight for freedom by fleeing the homes they only knew, and to our own migration throughout the United States — home to me was always fleeting. I was born in New Orleans, La, grew up in Orange County, Calif, before moving to Houston, Texas, and Kahalu’, Hawaii, and then finally to San Jose, Calif.
And yet today, I am preparing to go home to San Jose to complete SEARAC’s year-long commemoration of the 40th year anniversary of the Southeast Asian American experience.