Baby Steps

You know how when you have something big to do, sometimes you put it off? For like, 8 months? Yeah, that’s usually a paper or dissertation or taxes for people. For me, it turned into this project.

Since leaving off in April, I started a new job, moved to a new house across the city, and found every reason in the world that I could not work on this project. In some ways, the avoidance has been legitimate—the life transitions I just named are known to be consuming, even stressful. Added to it, I also took on some side hustles, to help pay for things that are “extra” in my life. The result is that I just haven’t focused on this project in the way I had planned when I started it.

But it’s a new year and I am starting to find a new rhythm, so I am back to it. Here’s what I’ve done since my last update too long ago:

  • Opened, sorted, and “preserved” my mother’s letters from Vietnam in scrapbooks.
  • Recorded a conversation with my mother about her very first memories. Debating on fully transcribing it.
  • Submitted my mother’s DNA to Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder, MyHeritage DNA database, and This will broaden our net in hopes of finding any of my mother’s family.


Because I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed translated and the academic calendar, I decided to put a pause on working with a translator. I will resume this effort when I have a clear plan of what documents need to be translated.

Hopefully we get some matches on the DNA. Until then, I plan to start to gather “the facts” and find a way to document them. For instance, I need to formalize a potential timeline, learn place names, and perhaps create a map. I also want to do more reflective writing, but of all aspects of this project, that has started to intimidate me the most. To be honest, the idea of accurately reflecting my mother’s experience while being totally aware that I can’t separate myself from my own perspective gives me deep pause. More on that another time, though.

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