The Evolution of My Name, My Identity

Bich Ngoc My parents gave me the name Bich-Ngoc after a beautiful greenish jade stone when I was born. They wanted people to know that I was as precious as jade. To them, I was a gem in the midst of a life filled with limited opportunities. My dad, a prisoner of war, was trying … Continue reading The Evolution of My Name, My Identity

For Those Who Didn’t Get Into 8 Ivy League Schools

Acceptance letter season is once again upon us. This means that, inevitably, countless stories will be shared on our timelines and through news outlets that highlight the exceptionally gifted students who have overcome insurmountable barriers to be accepted into highly competitive, top-ranked schools across the nation. It is important that we share the success stories of … Continue reading For Those Who Didn’t Get Into 8 Ivy League Schools

The Night Before I Left Home

This story was shared by a Project Ava Storyteller. Learn more about the Storyteller Program.     Like hundreds of thousands of people, my mother escaped a war-torn Vietnam, risking her life to come to America, where the roads are paved with cheese (or something like that). She was jailed twice during her first two … Continue reading The Night Before I Left Home

Losing My Vote-ginity: Overcoming Asian American Apoliticism

Even as an American-born citizen, throughout my entire upbringing, I felt strongly disconnected to this particular American experience. I’ve always thought voter apathy was a personal issue but I wondered if the statistics spoke to a broader APIA narrative.

An Áo Dài’s Embrace

A piece originally published on Medium republished on Project Ava with permission from our Storyteller, Olyvia Chac-Nguyen. Learn more about the Storyteller Program. Embrace Standing at 5'3" and making weight as a super heavyweight boxer, wearing a áo dài was something far beyond how I wanted to display my “curves”. The traditional áo dài captures the grace, elegance, … Continue reading An Áo Dài’s Embrace

PSA: How To Avoid a Phở Fiasco

I know. It’s another piece about that Bon Appétit phở video. We just can’t get enough of that mess. And what a mess it was. If you’re tired of reading the dozens of thought articles this has spurned (as I am), I hope to provide a fresh perspective that might make the experience worth your … Continue reading PSA: How To Avoid a Phở Fiasco

I am a Gay American

This piece was originally published on It Is What It Is (Not) the morning of the Supreme Court’s first hearing on California’s Proposition 8. For the past five months, I have tried repeatedly to write something entitled, “I am a Gay American.” In November, when the people of Maryland, Washington, and Maine voted to legalize same-sex marriage, … Continue reading I am a Gay American

Boat Refugees

A piece originally published on Project Yellow Dress, republished on Project Ava with permission of the artist. If you search for images of Vietnamese Boat People, you will find many photographs of people crammed inside small wooden fishing boats. These pictures usually show people struggling to survive under the hot sun or through heavy rain storms, … Continue reading Boat Refugees

Butter & Sugar Sandwiches: Navigating the Vietnamese, Chinese, Immigrant, Refugee Identity & History

This is an abridged version of a piece originally published on Project Yellow Dress.

A Letter from Songkhla Refugee Camp

An art piece originally published on Project Yellow Dress and republished on Project Ava with permission of the contributor.   A few years ago, my family was cleaning out the garage and we stumbled upon a bag of faded letters and photos that my mom’s family had exchanged while and after they fled Vietnam as Vietnamese … Continue reading A Letter from Songkhla Refugee Camp