Interview of Kim and Van Du for the Elizabeth V. and George F. Gardner Digital Library. Kim and Van discuss leaving Vietnam as refugees and coming to the United States, establishing themselves and their family in Carlisle, and their successes since settling.
Amanda Gautier : With your parents we talked more about life, I mean obviously you were very little when you left Vietnam and your parents talked more about life after they left. But we wanted more information on if your parents told anything about how they left Vietnam, like the process of leaving. If they were refugees?
Nahn-Ai Simms: Yeah, just to be clear, I am the youngest of three siblings. I was never actually in Vietnam.
Megan Osborn: You were the one who was born here?
NAS: In Indonesia actually. What they had told me that that Dad had spent about two years as a POW after the Fall of Saigon so when he was out from the POW he was kind of on, I guess probation, I can’t think of another term for it. He was released but still very much under confinement in Vietnam. So from what I remember him telling us he kind of started his own cigarette business and he started rolling his own cigarettes. Now he comes from a family of at least 10 maybe. I know 1 or 2 died very early in life but I know that he is the youngest of 9 or 10 so he has lots of brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. So when we started making his cigarettes he kind of had his nieces and nephews working for him. They became very popular. So he decided he needed to brand them in some way. He didn’t know of anything more popular than the Playboy Bunny, because he had heard a lot about it at the POW camp. He literally just takes the Playboy Bunny logo, slaps them on his cigarettes and they became forever known as Blue Bunny Cigarettes and they became pretty popular. But that’s how he saved up the money to buy his way onto a boat. Now if I recall correctly at the time the Vietnamese government was kicking out Chinese citizens. Our last name is “Du” which is actually a Chinese last name. I think my great-granddad on my dad’s side was Chinese so I think my parents with my brother and sister, pretty much pretended to be Chinese and kind of bought their way onto this boat so they were allowed out of the country. It was one of those small village fishing boats. Now from what mom tells me, they tried, once or twice, to get out on boats. Ultimately they were successful and landed in Indonesia. And from what they said it took about 5 days and 5 nights. Mom was pregnant with me at the time. She literally had my brother and sister tied to her body. My dad was on the bottom deck. Women and children were on the top deck. So they landed in Indonesia, luckily, because lots of people who landed in Cambodia, Laos and other countries were just executed as soon as they got off the boat. So we were lucky we landed in Indonesia. So when we got there the refugee camp itself was too crowded to get in so people were basically playing “Survivor” on the beach. Most of the space on the beach was already taken. So my parents climbed the side of a mountain to find a free spot, so that’s where my family camped out for about 6 months until my mom was about to pop with me, as which point they let her onto the refugee camp with the whole family. So I was born there. I don’t have a birth certificate. I guess they don’t give out birth certificates at refugee camps. So yeah, I was born there. They stayed there for about another 5 months and then we were allowed into the U.S. on some type of refugee bill that was going on at the time.
MO: Where was the first camp you were at? You said where your dad was selling the Blue Bunny Cigarettes.
NAS: That was still in Vietnam. He was released from the POW camp and living back with his family in South Vietnam.
MO: That makes sense. I was just confused. I didn’t know if he was originally in a different one before Indonesia.
NAS: We were only in one refugee camp. He was at a POW camp for a while. I don’t know where that was exactly. But when they released him he was still on probation so he basically had to stay in his family’s area.
MO: How long was he in action for? How long was he a soldier for during the war?
NAS: It was after he graduated, I don’t know the answer to that. I would say a few years. But if I recall correctly he had already graduated from college and went straight into the military.
MO: We talked about their education and they had mentioned that they both graduated and had continued their education in Vietnam and they had both gotten their Masters once they were in Carlisle.
NAS: They both went to Shippensburg University.
MO: Do you know specifically what schools they went to in Vietnam?
NAS: Delat University. I think it’s in central Vietnam.
MO: That is an interesting detail. Since they had two very different educations in two very different countries.
NAS: If I recall correctly, because I remember both mom and dad going to school. It was hard for them because, mom in particular did not speak a lot of English. I remember her staying up late at night, dictionary on one side and textbook on the other studying computer science. I want to say that they had to redo their Bachelor’s or take some extra classes rather than just going straight into the Masters program. I could be wrong though. I just remember them both up late studying at night
MO: Because they mentioned how they had a decent background in English from elementary school or that kind of age schooling. But were not fluent in it until they came to Carlisle. They said it was hard taking classes in all English at Shippensburg.
NAS: It’s weird because computer science is in itself its own language so I don’t know how they did that.
MO: It seems like they worked really hard and were extremely proud of all their kids. Especially you. He cried when he talked about you so that was super sweet to hear about. Is there anything else we should ask about the journey to the U.S?
AG: I don’t know, you gave us a lot of good information.
MO: Wasn’t your dad’s brother also in prison himself?
NAS: Yes, I want to say multiple brothers. Again he is the youngest of 10 so it is a little confusing. But I know of at least one or two. My mom’s brother was also a POW, I think.
MO: How many siblings does your mom have?
NAS: Mom is the oldest of 8 or 9 and again I want to say one or two passed away at a young age because that was very common in Vietnam. In Vietnamese we call our aunts and uncles by number so my uncle number five on my mom’s side fought in the war and I think we was a POW. He was actually brought over to come to Carlisle as well and still resides there.
MO: That’s what your parents mentioned. Your mom had a brother in Carlisle. So it’s just one of your mom’s siblings that lives here?
NAS: Yes, just one.
MO: What about your dad’s side?
NAS: He has 6 siblings here. One is in Canada. One of my mom’s siblings actually could not get in, my aunt number 8, who has now passed, because from my understanding her husband at one point, after the Fall of Saigon, had to “work for the Communist government,” he was forced too right because he was South Vietnamese and they made him work for it. But when he put on the application “have you ever worked for a Communist government” he had to say, “Yes” because he had. Now it wasn’t by his own choice. So since he said that he couldn’t come to the U.S. so he went to France instead.
MO: One thing that they did mention, something that you mentioned as well is that if you fought for the South, your children wouldn’t or you wouldn’t have the same opportunities as you would have today. You wouldn’t be able to get the best job or continue your education was what your parents were saying.
NAS: There was that contention for a long time that anyone who was related to a South Vietnamese officer was blacklisted in the form of higher education things like that. Now, looking in hindsight, I know that some of their friends who stayed behind in Vietnam did have a hard life. But, they did become entrepreneurs. It is still a Communist government so they give most of their proceeds to the government but they themselves have done well. But I think at the time that was just something my parents were not willing to risk.
MO: That’s what it really seemed like when they were going through the story. That they really did this for you guys and decided to leave for opportunities and safety for their kids. That is when you dad did get emotional understandably because that makes sense to do everything for your kids once you have kids. But do you feel like you’re still connected to their history or to Vietnam? Do you speak any Vietnamese?
NAS: I do. I‘m conversationally fluent because growing up, obviously, we had to speak Vietnamese with them because they didn’t speak English. According to my relatives, I speak Vietnamese with a very southern Vietnamese accent. So I speak Vietnamese the way someone from Alabama speaks English. So it’s very, kind of, informal the way I speak it when I speak to a native Vietnamese person. They can tell that I probably didn’t grow up there. But I would say that I am fluent in it. I can’t read or write Vietnamese. I can decipher a menu at a restaurant but other than that…
AG: I know your parents came to Carlisle in 1980, right? So what year did they actually leave Vietnam?
NAS: They left early 1979 and I was born December 1979 in Indonesia. So I didn’t step foot in Vietnam until 2009.
MO: How was that experience?
NAS: It was kind of surreal. Because, you know, Vietnam is still a Communist country but it is also very capitalistic or at least it tries to be. There is a lot of stuff we take for granted here in the U.S. and I didn’t experience that until I was there. I remember one of the first nights that we were there; we were taking a cab ride. In Vietnam they have traffic lanes but no one really follows them. So it’s a complete mess. So if you are a cab driver you really have to use your mirrors, if you don’t have mirrors you pretty much can’t drive on the street. So it was utter chaos and I remember being in the cab and he was telling us that he makes maybe $2 or $3 a day. There was a motorcade that came by, some big politician, and apparently my cab driver didn’t move over fast enough so the police officer came up and started yelling at him and busted out his side view mirrors which pretty much made his cab useless. It was just kind of accepted. I don’t think we live in a country where that would be okay. If that happens to us we go to the press or to a supervisor or something like that. There you just kind of had to accept it. We gave him 10 American dollars, which is nothing to us, but for him it was a week worth of wages. But it was stuff like that took me a little by surprise. I visited my uncle and relatives who live in the countryside; he asked me one night what I wanted for dinner. I said I don’t know whatever you want to have. He said that he had some chicken so I said okay. Then he said “go get two.” So I went to the backyard, ran down some chickens and slaughtered them. It was great, it was delicious but I had never done that before. Here it’s so easy to go to the grocery store and get some chicken breast and you don’t realize the manpower it takes to slaughter a chicken. It took me over an hour to get all the feathers off and to kill the chicken.
MO: You said your family is still in the rural areas?
NAS: Both. We have family in Saigon, which is now called Ho Chi Minh City, but most Southern Vietnamese people won’t call it that, they still call it Saigon. Saigon is very much like New York City. It’s my understanding that some real estate is even more expensive than Manhattan because of the way the economy works. So it is very city-like. We also have family that lives in the countryside closer to the river.
MO: Do you feel like traditions and values between your family members from the city and the rural areas differ greatly or are they kind of the same?
NAS: Yeah, they differ. It is interesting because we are all Southern Vietnamese and my dad’s niece married someone who is pretty high up in the Communist government. That was kind of a big deal in our family. At the same time he is a wonderful person. He is the head of the taxing commission or something like that so he makes a lot of decisions as to where buildings go and how much taxes you pay. But we were walking down the street and people would come up to him and hand him envelopes of money and that’s just how government works over there I don’t know. So his wife is very wealthy, her style of life is a lot different from say my cousins who live closer to the country. So there is still a disconnect.
MO: And that relationship to marrying someone who is high up in the Communist government, you said it’s kind of a problem with you but has is weakened connections between family members who still live over there?
NAS: No, I think once you’re in you’re in. It would be one thing if he was this mean, horrible person but he’s not, he’s really good to my cousin and particularly to my aunt, he’s taken really good care of her. I think it was just a little odd, especially for us American cousins over here who found out about it, over there it was just kind of accepted.
MO: When you went to Vietnam did you go with your family or any of your siblings?
NAS: I went with some of my friends, but my parents were there at the same time. I was there for about 3 weeks so I spent some time with my parents and then the rest with my friends.
MO: You did some family visiting stuff and some fun stuff.
NAS: Yes, touristy stuff.
MO: Do you have any plans of going back?
NAS: I do. I recently got married and my husband has never been and we’d like to go at some point because I still have so much family there that I would really like him to meet its just getting there is expensive and taking time off work isn’t easy.
MO: well speaking of work and stuff, your parents talked a lot about it. They mentioned that you when to Thomas Jefferson?
NAS: No, that’s my sister.
MO: Oh, they made it seem like it was you. So we don’t know much about your history, or where you went to school, your experiences, where you live now.
NAS: I went to Hernan High, which is just the local high school. Thomas Jefferson is this really special magnet school. I didn’t get in but my sister did. She loves to point that out to me. So I ended up going to the College of William and Mary for undergrad. I got a bachelor’s degree there and on a whim, much to the chagrin of my parents, I decided to move to Atlanta, after living with my parents for a few months. I didn’t have a job prospect or anything like that; I just had a roommate whose parents were selling their house, so we ended up living there for free until it sold. It was a really nice house in one of those ritzy neighborhoods. So I packed up and moved to Atlanta. Luckily my next-door neighbor was a partner at Alston and Bird, which is a big law firm in Atlanta and he was working on the “…” case at the time, which was kind of big in the news and a good opportunity for me to work on so he offered me a job there. I clerked for him for about 3 years and then went to law school in Alabama at Samford University and then moved back to Georgia and started practicing law then.
MO: You are still in Georgia?
NAS: Yes, I am close to Athens which is where the University of Georgia is
MO: Where to do you work now?
NAS: I’ve just been at this current job for a year, I’m a prosecutor now. I prosecuted in Athens for about 2 years and before that I was a public defender for a while too. So I’ve mostly done criminal law but prosecuting is much easier then defense work was.
MO: Have your career choices been influenced by your family history at all or was it kind of just what you decided to do?
NAS: Initially I had no desire to go to law school. I went to business school for undergrad. I wanted to do what my sister did which is up on Wall Street, do the whole NYC thing. Didn’t work out. I kind of just went to law school because I have always liked arguing and I figured I would learn how to get better at it. There has always been a part of me that has wanted to give back to the people who have given to us. I consider myself to be politically conservative, that being said we did have a lot of help from the government when we first came over and I always wanted to give back in some way. This is the way that I found was easiest for me by doing something that I am good at while still giving back.
MO: That is actually something we have read about. Some immigrants, especially Vietnamese immigrants, were seen as being very grateful for America having such a helpful refugee system.
AG: We have read a lot about how certain Vietnamese refugees don’t think that America really did enough or that they were just trying to…by allowing all these refugees in…they were trying to maintain their reputation as the hero. Obviously here the Vietnam War is seen as a weak point in American history. But you’re saying that you kind of want to give back to America and how much helped you.
NAS: I think you are going to get differing opinions on that. If you ask me just getting us in here was enough because, especially in our culture, nothing is really just given to you, which is a really interesting dynamic between my mom and my dad. I don’t know if he told you much about his history but, his family was very wealthy. He grew up almost like a Kennedy. He was spoiled rotten; his father was very successful in his business. Mom was not on the wealthy side. So dad went from having everything to having nothing. He was going to have to work back up. Once he got here I don’t think he expected everything to be handed to him and it wasn’t. I’m not going to sit here and say we had an easy child and that we couldn’t of have used more help, we could have. I don’t know if this is a cultural thing but we kind of took it for what it was. We knew that if we worked hard enough we could get out of the welfare system and off food stamps and we did. So we can’t say that the government didn’t help us, could they have done more, sure. I think in any situation you can always say that. It never stopped us from wanting to work ourselves to get out of it.
MO: Your parents mentioned a church in Carlisle that was helping you a lot and helped you relocate. Do you remember living in Carlisle?
NAS: Oh yeah! I love Carlisle! It’s got a soft place in my heart. It had been about 15 years since we had been back but we went back recently, about a month ago. But yeah I remember a lot about Carlisle. When we went back, I realized it looks exactly the same. Growing up though, I think most kids would say this, but I didn’t know we were poor. I just kind of assumed that’s how we lived and compared to how I live now there is a big difference. The church in Carlisle was fantastic to us. We couldn’t be more grateful to them. I think dad had some concerns with the church; he is not a religious person himself. He is not Christian, he grew up Buddhist. Mom is Catholic. The church in Carlisle was Episcopalian so we kind of went because they had sponsored us. There are some things that he would have complained about for instance they set my parents up with minimum wage jobs, or at least dad at the time. He was cleaning houses. They never told him things about student loans or how to go back to school, things like that. When he would ask, the church would say “well this job at McDonald’s will probably be fine for you.” That wasn’t enough for dad.
MO: Yeah, I can see that his ambition was a lot higher than they had expected. He wanted them to help him grow and expand but they just wanted to help him really quickly.
NAS: They were kind of sticking to the status quo and that was never going to be enough for him.
MO: Did your family have to attend mass or anything like that?
NAS: We did, but we never had too. It was never forced on us but we did feel an obligation to go and mom is Catholic and Episcopalian is kind of Catholic light. For us it was just a good way to meet people in the community and thank those who had brought us there. Dad stopped going a few years into it; I think he hated putting on a suit every Sunday.
MO: Your mom is Catholic, is that something that is common in Vietnam?
NAS: Yes, Catholicism and Buddhism are the most common religions.
MO: Are you religious at all?
NAS: I do, I still go to church whenever I can go. My husband works as a police officer so he works Sundays a lot. I would consider myself Christian; I don’t think I would consider myself an Episcopalian. I was never baptized.
MO: Do you know anything about your dad’s religion?
NAS: Not really. He’s kind of a Buddhist light. He loves the teachings. Just kind of the general principles. Does he practice it, no. He eats meat and drinks beer. But I think in general it is something that gives him peace.
MO: Have they ever talked about, your mom especially since she seems a little bit more religious, has she ever talked about that helping her on her journey from Vietnam to Indonesia and Indonesia to the U.S?
NAS: Yeah, she always talked about how she pretty much prayed the entire time. I think that was the one constant that made her feel better.
MO: You said your mom was of a lower economic status in Vietnam but she still went to college. Did all of her siblings go to college?
NAS: No not all of her siblings went to college. She particularly got good grades. She was sent off after my grandmother passed…my granddad remarried within 6 months, which sounds quick, but I think in Vietnam it was accepted since he had so many children. My mom and her stepmom did not get along, so she proceeded to ship my mom away to a like a boarding school. But she always did really well. So they knew that if she went to school she would do well and make money for the family. So there was always a push for her to go to school. Her other siblings, I don’t recall them going to university.
MO: While in Vietnam did she focus on a specific field? Was she studying computer science while she was there?
NAS: No I don’t think she was. I think was some type of business or accounting because she got some type of accounting job after she graduated. Dad was also always very business savvy, until this day he always talks about wanting to run his own business even though he is retired. So I’m pretty sure he also studied some type of business.
MO: They said he worked for IBM and then the reason you moved to Virginia was because your mom got a job with AT&T. Did they influence you in through the fields that they chose?
NAS: Well they chose computer science because it was a new technology; they thought it was going to be the best money maker and the most stable. For a while it was. None of us had the desire to go into computers. You know, we’re Asian so they pushed for the general trifecta which is either to be a doctor, go to Wall Street or go to law school and that’s what the three of us ended up doing.
MO: Okay so you are the lawyer, your sister works for a hedge fund and what does your third sibling do?
NAS: He was a doctor for a while; he went to law school, now he is a little undecided
MO: Is he the oldest?
NAS: He is the oldest.
MO: Does he remember anything from…
NAS: I’m sure he does. The earliest thing he recalls is going across the street to get some ice at the refugee camp and my sister following him and then she got hit by a motorcycle. That’s one of his earliest memories. She has a little scar on her nose.
MO: Did your parents ever talk about their expectations of what America was made to sound like and then what is actually was?
NAS: Yes. There is this really funny story I remember my dad telling me. Obviously they had risked life and limb to get here to the U.S. and they had been told the U.S. was a world of plentiful food and goods, whatever you needed to get. In Vietnam, one of the breakfasts that we usually eat is rice and pork chops because you get a good beefy breakfast so you could work hard on the clock. So when they first came to the U.S. they actually stopped off in California and stayed for a few days before they got on a plane to come over to Pennsylvania. There was some guy that they met there, I don’t know if he was associated with the church or not but he was helping them out. My dad tried to say that he wanted pork for breakfast. So the guy somehow got lost in translation and he got my dad some bacon instead. In Vietnam nobody ate bacon because its fat and we don’t eat it. So here dad is thinking he’s going to get this beautiful pork chop because the U.S. is filled with lots of food. But it’s a little bit of bacon and it’s not what he expected at all. He told me he had this one moment where he thought maybe he had made this huge mistake. So yeah, I think there was always the expectation that they were going to be able to do what they wanted. I don’t think they actually realized how hard it was going to be for them. And it was. I look back on it now and I am grateful for everything that they did but at the time growing, if they were working late, I didn’t understand why. I just thought it was because they weren’t cool and they liked working or something. But looking back on it now I realize how hard they worked to get us where we are now.
MO: I’m sure that most of the kids in Carlisle, even the kids in Virginia, had a very different upbringing then you obviously. Did that ever affect you in school? Did you ever have to explain it to friends?
NAS: Yeah. My parents were obviously very strict. I consider them kind of tiger parents if you will. I played the piano and violin and had to practice a lot. If I brought home a B+ they weren’t happy with that or a 98% and the first question was why didn’t you get 100%? Most of my friends were American and Caucasian. So for them, bringing home a B+ and their mom getting them a really nice present for it, that was a concept that was foreign to me. Even just little things like what I would bring for lunch to school and I would get made fun of for that. So it did have an effect on him. There were definitely times, especially in middle school when everyone is kind of mean, when I kind of resented it. But now looking back I wouldn’t have it any other way. Especially now since I am a juvenile prosecutor, I see a lot of kids who just feel entitled and have no respect for authority and I see that far too often. I look at how these kids act and I think to myself that there was never even a question as to whether or not I could act like that. My parents would just never allow it. To this day, I am 36, I tower over my dad and I am still terrified of him. Whenever he gets upset he has a little vein in his forehead that pops out. I am a grown adult but I have a healthy fear of my parents.
MO: Yeah, definitely in American culture there is not as much discipline. But you would think that kids would be exposed to having a friend like you and seeing your family and respecting parents or rules a little bit more. You said your friends were mostly Caucasian. Would you say there was a lot of diversity in Carlisle?
NAS: No, all of my friends were white. When we first got to Carlisle there were some other Vietnamese refugees in our neighborhood. I hung out with my cousins a lot, the ones who still live in Carlisle.
MO: Were you part of any other groups with those Vietnamese refugees in Carlisle? Did you all belong to the same church? Was there a sense of community?
NAS: A lot of the people who were Vietnamese were family. I think there was one family friend. But if I recall correctly, we sponsored my dad’s brother and then he came over and also my mom’s brother. And then sponsored other family members
AG: Your parents were really excited to talk about how they are a part of a Vietnamese retiree group in Virginia and how they travel and take photos. Do they actively seek those kinds of things? Do they feel more comfortable having a community with similar experiences coming to the U.S.?
NAS: I think so. I want to say a few years ago, they found their friends in Houston. He was also a part of the South Vietnamese army, worked high up in intelligence, kind of like the CIA. He managed to get out before the Fall of Saigon. So when they met up again here in the U.S., they found all of their college friends. They kind of introduced them to this photography retiree club. I think the older they get, the more comfortable they feel being around other Vietnamese people. They always had to work really hard at work, to fit in, to understand the language so I think it’s easier for them to be around people who have experienced similar things and can kind of appreciate it. They don’t have to worry about speaking English as much. I have realized with my mom that her English has kind of regressed since she’s spending time with mostly Vietnamese people.
AG: Yeah, their accents were very heavy.
NAS: Dad is a lot easier to understand. But my husband and my brother-in-law have a hard time understanding my mother. So we have to act as translator a lot.
MO: They were talking about how they are going back to Vietnam soon too.
NAS: Yeah in about a year.
MO: Did they say what they were going to do there? Visit family?
NAS: Yeah, they are going to visit family for the most part and do some touring with their group of friends. They will be there for at least a month and then they are going to Australia and New Zealand as well. But they will spend a good amount of time visiting family
MO: that was something they are really excited about. They are going with a different group if friends or their club?
NAS: I think they are going with a different group of friends who they will meet there. It will be a good time for them. The last time they went all together was 2009 when I went too.
MO: is there anything else you want to share with us? Maybe some things you parents have shared with you. Maybe comparing Vietnam before the war and during the war?
NAS: Not that I can recall. But a story that I found interesting was before I started working in the government my online presence was a lot. When I started working as a prosecutor I thought maybe I should Google myself just in case a criminal decides to Google me. I actually found a newspaper article; I can send it to you guys, in the Cumberland County News back from when I was 5 or 6 years old. It was called “The Best Free Nigh in Town” [The Best Free Show in Town Gettysburg Times December 5, 1987] or something along the lines of that. It was basically an article about people becoming U.S. citizens and what it’s like to go to one of those ceremonies. I remember going to my parents’ ceremony and I remember the dress that I was wearing because my mom had sown it for me. There is a picture from it that I actually remember taking. In the article, apparently they interviewed me. I think I talked about how I could speak Vietnamese and English. There was a picture referred to in the article of the judge who swore in my parents along with my parents and me. It was really interesting reading that article and going to find that picture, which I did. So I actually tried to write a letter to that judge last year. I Googled him to see if he was still alive. I remember seeing that judge and seeing his black robe and it was the first time I had ever seen a judge and I remember thinking how that would be a really cool job. I thought he was so powerful and stuff and ever since I got into law it has always been one of my goals to become a judge. When I Googled him I found out that he had passed away, but I found his son who I think is still practicing law in Pennsylvania. So I copied the article and the picture and said this is your dad, I remember meeting your dad, this is a really cool story. I was hoping to hear back but I never did. I don’t know if I got the address right. I know that he is survived by his wife so maybe I could send the picture to her. It is just something that stood out to me and I want to see it come around full circle.
MO: We would love to see that article. So you are still pursuing your ultimate dream of becoming a judge?
NAS: Yeah, down the road that’s what I want to do.
MO: How does that process even work, going from a lawyer to a judge?
NAS: In Georgia if you want to be a state or a Supreme Court judge you have to run for it. I want to do a juvenile judgeship because I specialize in juvenile law. I have to get appointed to the court by the superior court judge. Basically it’s a lot of mingling and “politicking” if you will. Sucking up to them and hoping that they think I’m qualified.
MO: That’s awesome. I don’t think I’ve met anyone with that dream.
NAS: There’s a lack of female, Asian, American judges.
MO: I think I was driven away from being a lawyer by my parents. I’m not a good arguer.
NAS: My parents always told me I argue too much with them.
MO: You definitely did answer a lot of our questions. Especially since your parents did get a little emotional it was harder to drill into some of the harder questions. So it was easier to move on to the easier questions like about once they got to the U.S. So it was great to talk to you and have you fill in those holes.
NAS: I am happy to help.
MO: We have a lot of great information to work with. If you want to we can send you your interviews and let you know when they are up on the historical society website. You guys will be part of a larger collection of Vietnamese families who live in Carlisle and who still live in Carlisle.
NAS: That’s great; I would love to see it.