We are Tiffany and Nicole, first generation Chinese-Vietnamese sisters who were born in Harrisonburg, Virginia to two loving parents. We are both pug-lovers with a deep affection for all things phô and french bread.
TIFFANY | I currently live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my husband, Robert, and pug, Oliver. I enjoy yoga and crafting in my spare time. I was a well-practiced at-home performer of Chinese pop songs in my youth. Nowadays, my musical preferences are more American, though my eating habits have become more adventurous.
NICOLE | I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I enthusiastically practice cooking, eating and drinking. I aspire to be the host who is always ready for a dinner party, and the mom who makes the best pies. I have my mother’s laugh and my father’s hands, which explains my sense of humor and tendency to tinker with things. My clumsiness is all my own.
WHAT INSPIRED US TO CREATE FROM WHAT I REMEMBER
In early 2015, our father sent us a link to a CNN iReport prompt: What was it like growing up in an immigrant family in America? We felt compelled to answer — for those who didn’t grow up in an immigrant family, there was so much we wanted to tell them. This was an issue close to our hearts. Not everyone understands how delicate it is to balance embracing American ideals and honoring our heritage.
Instead of answering the iReport prompt, we turned to our parents. Our experience growing up in an immigrant family doesn’t make perfect sense without understanding the backstory — where our parents came from and how their life events shaped them, our family, and American culture, too.
Refusing to get to know the stories of our family and other immigrant families is yet another disempowering action we take on them. We’re not just stripping them of a freedom — we’re stripping away their humanity and their entire lives, and reducing them to one news story, one statistic, one race joke.
Don’t worry — while most of these stories are serious, we’re not trying to get all high-minded. We don’t know half the history of the Vietnam War, either, and we’re learning along with you. Our priority is to be open to all sides of this conflict to uncover the events that didn't make it into textbooks.
These stories are the legacy that our family leave us, and they finally explain the other side of a world event that we never fully understood.