My parents were born and raised in Northern Vietnam. I was born and raised in Southern Vietnam. I adapted a northern Vietnamese accent with a southern Vietnamese dialect. When we came to America, we arrived in Pekin, Illinois. We lived in Illinois for three years and then moved south. I spent my teenage years in Seguin, Texas. There I established a Texas twang accent.
When I spoke to the Northern Vietnamese they claimed that I was from South Vietnam because of my Southern dialogue. When I spoke to the Southern Vietnamese, they said I must be from the North because of my accent. To complicate things, I also established an English/Vietnamese accent which immediately labeled me as a Việt Kiều when I spoke Vietnamese. Vietnamese who left Vietnam were called Việt Kiều. When I spoke English, I have a slight Vietnamese accent with a Texas twang. What a mess! How did this happen? No idea. Needless to say, I was not very talkative in school while growing up in Texas.
To make life even more interesting, I did not live with my immediate family until I came to America at age 10. I was an only child living with my godmother. In a strange land, I lived with a family who I knew only a little bit about. I was more confused and frightened than fascinated. I was no longer a single favorite spoiled child in a small family. I became a child in a large family with 7 children. Now I have to share!!! Imagine that!
In order to gain friendship from my siblings and fit in, I learned to share and cooperate. I adapted and loved my relationship with my siblings. Moving to America was the best thing that had happened to me. I realized that I was no longer the center of the universe. My sisters and brothers were an extension of me. My family was my team and unit. We stuck together and supported each other.