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Claire Tran

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A Disney Princess in Áo Dài: Learning to Love Being Vietnamese in White America

Editor’s Note: The following piece was chosen as a finalist in NextShark’s personal Essay Contest 2019. The views expressed in story are the writer’s own.

On a hospital bed lays a tired and drowsy woman with an IV in her forearm and nasal tubes in her nostrils. The nurses quickly shift their attention to the unconscious woman when they hear the first sound of life. “Waah! Waah! Waah!” One of the nurses holds up the newborn who has a full head of black hair and excitedly says, “Congratulations, it’s a girl!” The day is May 2nd, 2004 and that newborn is me. The woman with the IV is my mom who carried me in her womb for nine months only to face ten hours of excruciating labor and the man next to the bed is my dad who immediately stormed out of a university lecture when he got the call that my mother was in labor.