As a Vietnamese-American citizen, it has become apparent that I can not and do not live the same lifestyle as my parents. From learning the language, to food, and even the traditions, it may not prove to be as influential as it used to be, but there’s nothing wrong with that and here’s why…
1. Learning the Language:
In my opinion, a ‘proper’ class shouldn’t be held priority. Instead, making sure you can hold a conversation with your parents should be.Truthfully, there are many Vietnamese-American kids who do not speak very much Vietnamese. However, taking a class is not the only option and sometimes it’s not even the right option. Most of the students are forced in by parents and usually have no interest in spending time away from friends or actual school work, so a lot of the time, they won’t pay attention and they won’t perform well. In my case, I learned the language through conversing with my family, no matter how confusing it was in the beginning, nowadays I can understand practically everything. And, the only time I was in an actual class, I was even ahead a few grades too.
From my own experience, I grew up eating Vietnamese food because the influence of Vietnamese culture was so abundant where I lived, and to this day it still is. Don’t get me wrong though, my palette of flavors is unlimited and fried chicken might as well be my one true love, but saying that a person is less ‘Vietnamese’ because they haven’t tried a food or didn’t like it is a bit much. America is one of the only places where you can expand your flavor palette with dishes from across the world so it’s only natural that you learn to love a lot. In addition, my parents(born and raised in Vietnam), have even said that sometimes the Vietnamese food made here is better than the ones at home mainly because it’s cleaner, it’s more available, and it’s tastier.
Of course the Vietnamese traditions won’t be as noticeable as it is in VIETNAM, the origin, but it has definitely not disappeared. Our traditions will live for as long as we do, because it’s impossible to get rid of a culture with so many patriots to keep them alive. Lion dancing, Chinese New Years, Firecrackers, and Moon Cake, all of it has become known to the Americas and I believe that it isn’t going to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, we may even add a couple of new ones to the list.
This generation of Vietnamese-Americans will never be able to match the lifestyle of our previous generations, however the world ever-changing and we have to keep our minds open to be able to live a life where we can not only appreciate what culture we’ve lived, but to also understand the culture of all those around us. Our Vietnamese roots will never really decay, they will change, and they will waver, but they will only continue to grow deeper into the soil we call history.
Check out my friend’s opinion on the topic at: