How background and culture plays a role in everyday life.
As I have gotten older, I sought out like minded people who I can share my life’s journey.
Luckily, one’s own individual culture can be practiced here in Canada.
I sought out Vietnamese people to connect with since 2017 when I ventured back to school at Durham College.
The reason I did was I felt I needed that deep down. I guess it is the phase in your life to seek out your cultural roots.
These Vietnamese students from Vietnam held a unique perspective and had smarts. They were able to learn English and navigate their way into doing school and work after.
It was surprising to see this. Back in 2008 when I was in university, I did not see many Vietnamese students. Now that Vietnam has quite developed, I see many Vietnamese students here in Canada pursing this and that.
A different perspective that you can relate with helps with mentorship and relationship building.
I saw this Japanese-American Computer Software Engineer now YouTuber mention this: Mayuko. She explores her roots time-to-time in her videos exploring her Japanese and American identity.
Basically find someone with a similar background as you or someone who can empathize with you.
I had to put myself out there and find my people so I could ask questions. I was looking for help and to help back. It is natural to ask for help and find that someone who can guide you on the right path. I did not do this until 2017.
I reconnected with my cousins back home in Vietnam recently. We talk online daily. I really needed that.
My cousins back home think like me. We are all supportive of each other. I am lucky to have these connections with Vietnamese here in Canada and my Vietnamese family back home.
The friendships I created with Vietnamese here and abroad helped me understand myself. No longer was I just an empty undriven person. I now had the opportunity to experience what it was like to be friends with Vietnamese and enjoy socializing about the things I experience first-hand being either Vietnamese, Canadian, and Vietnamese-Canadian.
I can always have a laugh with my Vietnamese friends and family as there are unique things that Vietnamese people only get. It is so much fun even just talking/messaging over Facebook/Discord. No need to travel or spend tons of money to have a laugh.
The idea of Vietnamese-Canadian identity gets more confusing for me as I get older. I feel sometimes I just happen to be a Vietnamese guy living in Canada but it depends.
Sometimes different interactions alter that view.
The Canadian or American view of Vietnamese can be very bad or very good. It is usually so very Westernized and I find it does not define me.
I found that only Vietnamese from Vietnam can really display what being “True Vietnamese” really is. The Westernized view is not all encompassing of the Vietnamese culture and all it’s people. I have been to Vietnam many times and each time I go back I learn something new at different growth phases in my life as a Canadian-born Vietnamese. I have grown away from the Westernized viewpoint that I grew up from. Only Vietnamese people can truly show and tell what it is really like to be Vietnamese. You don’t go to a history museum to learn. You go straight to the source. Even going back to the motherland.
Vietnamese who have been in Canada long enough all share something universal. It is hard to explain.
Last August I was speaking to Vietnamese people around my age and older to volunteer at their non-profit charity organization for Vietnamese and we all just clicked. There was harmony being together over the Zoom call. We just are all Vietnamese working to provide services for Vietnamese and anyone willing to take part in our culture.
Other viewpoints from other cultures may work with, work against or even use ‘Vietnamese’ people.
I avoid being ‘different’ and just work with people who value me for me. It is a select few.
Or maybe I am misunderstanding the ‘Vietnamese-Canadian’ identity. I have not worked and played with enough Vietnamese-Canadians. But the connection I have with older Vietnamese here solidify me. I think I know what is going on.