Woven Stories: Tony’s Treasured Photograph

Woven Stories: Out of Many we are One image

April 2022 marks Diversity Month.  The HSHSL is celebrating with stories collected from the campus community as part of our Woven Stories: Out of many, we are one project.  Tony Nguyen, Executive Director, Region 1, Network of the National Library of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore shared the following photograph and story:

Black and white photograph of a woman in a wedding dress sitting in front of a garden.

This is a photo of my Mom, Ann Tuyet-Thi Nguyen, when she lived in Vietnam prior to her wedding and before the Vietnam War. She worked for the French Embassy at the time. Much of this fits with my own cultural identify of interweaving Eastern and Western culture into my practice and consideration of others.

When she immigrated to the United States in 1975, she was forced to learn her 3rd language, English, to fit in. It always proved to be an interesting dichotomy to interweave other cultures in order “fit in” with our neighborhood. However, the easiest way to do that was through food. Honestly, it was a struggle as there was a lot of racism towards our family; but sharing food with others was a way to share in our culture.

Her ability to take on languages passed on to me as I grew up learning English and Vietnamese, attended a French immersion grade school and later studied Japanese in high school through college. Lastly, I learned that with food, you welcome others and share your identity, which is why I enjoy cooking and dining at many ethnic and regional restaurants. I continually see life as an outsider and look at culture differently, challenging my own norms regularly.

Woven Stories aims to capture the cultural diversity of the individuals that make up UMB’s campus.  Share your own story to be part of the HSHSL’s project by submitting a photograph and brief description here

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