Growing up, my parents have always taught me that family comes first. Through my teenage, and I guess we can call them my “rebellious” years, I tested that value by trying to get out of family functions, and wanted to go out instead. After the dreadful teenage years passed, I came to appreciate all of the family gatherings that we had. My parents’ family value has been a huge influence in my own family values today. I can confidently say that I am extremely family oriented and am always excited to have family time, whether it be with my immediate family, or with my aunts and uncles and any extended family members.
Being raised as an Asian American, family is a very big focus for us. The responsibility to always take care of one another and always help each other is constant in my everyday life. In my family, we have family dinners every night, family vacations, and even larger family vacations that are planned with all of my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side. Our family is notorious for hosting large family gatherings, parties, and even random play dates with all of my cousins. It doesn’t stop at just my extended family, though. We have family friends who we even consider to be my aunts and uncles and somehow related cousins. Thinking about it may seem a bit confusing. At grand parties, I greet every adult with a hug and kiss and call them aunt and uncle, even though they may not even be related to me! It’s this close knit “family” that I’ve grown up with and have been so blessed to have in my life. Don’t get it twisted though, my family is far from perfect. We have arguments, hold grudges, family secrets, and a lot of gossip floating around – but what type of family doesn’t have all those things?
Being away from home at a four year college has made me more aware of how lucky I am with my family, and how hard it has been to see my cousins and be part of family gatherings and parties. We recently had a large graduation party for me, to celebrate my accomplishments as a recent JMU graduate and the next journey of my life! The house was crowded with family, family friends, my friends, and plenty of Vietnamese food! It was great to see everyone all in one place and to quickly chat and catch up with them (:
I want to thank my parents, my sisters, all of my aunts, uncles, extended family members and cousins for their continuous support, encouragement, and help throughout my life. It really meant a lot to me to see everyone and to have them there celebrating with me! That’s what I really wanted, to be surrounded by the people that mean the most to me, who have always been there for me, and the people who I know will continue to be there to support me in everything that I do. Their excitement to see me finish college and move on to the next chapter of my life, makes me equally as excited and a little less nervous of failure! I know they only want the best for me, and to see me reach above and beyond in anything I apply myself to. I’m lucky to have such a large family and extended family for support and encouragement. It’s made me a stronger person and a more determined individual! They’ve inspired me to pursue my dreams and have taught me countless lessons about sacrifice, love, and determination. I’m excited to travel a little further away from home and to make them proud (: