Mama Mai is by far one of the most important people in mai life. Having immigrated here at the young age of 17, and is such a strong woman. There is no way in hell I would be where I am today without her. You guys have all seen her on the show, on mai Instagram and now I want you to get to know her a little bit more.
J: Mom where are you from, and what made you leave Vietnam to come to the US?
M: from Saigon, Vietnam, try to escape the communist for FREEDOM, come to USA June 6, 1977.
J: Think back to raising me, can you describe the first memory of me when you delivered me?
M: The day I lost my virginity, that is the day I get pregnant. Twenty years old, I do not know, until I throw up a lot, and lost weight. I have to go to the doctor check up.. I am so scared. I know nothing about take care the baby. My doctor who delivery my three kids stay the same man. He is black, very nice. When find out I am pregnancy I hang lot of picture pretty white baby I collected from the calendar. But when you came out, the doctor say "Congratulation baby girl!” I look at you I am so shocked. Your skin dark, your father surprise also. He ask me "Why she dark, different skin than us?" (After 16 years later, your dad family came in US. I see every one on his side darker more than you, so the answer you look like dad family side not mine.) Anyway I confuse the name "Sunshine" I first select now I have to change name quickly. I watching tv-my favorite show: I Dream of Jeannie, I remembered. I like the girl she make dream come true. She happy, she positive. So I decide your name will be Jeannie.
J: What about the funniest memory of me? What was the most embarrassing with me?
M:I remember something you said- funny, smart and make sense. When you make me mad, I said "I wish I have no kids, no headache. I rather have chicken. Then I can have egg to sell and make profit." You said, "Mommy is lucky to have you as a daughter because anytime I need hug, you run over and hug. Anytime you need kiss, I run over and kiss. You need some one to sleep, I sleep with you. I eat lunch with you, go out with you when you want me too, I am just like a little happy doll you can enjoy. Chicken is very stupid and smell bad. They don't know how to talk, kiss, can not do anything." It surprise me when you just 1st grade, know how to talk back self defend. Anytime dad hold you to go upstairs to our apt, you always ask to get down and walk again up and down by your self so we know you just little girl you want to do everything by yourself. Confidence, you like to stand on table in front of people singing Vietnamese song with out scare age of 1- 3. You are young, but you always try to be a leader in class, always like to help other no matter what until you finish high school. The most embarrassing is this: In school, you always make me come to see principle all the time, complain about you are trouble maker from 1st grade to 6th grade ... always bring my make up, eyes shadow to class, jewelry etc. Junior high I have to change different school because you get in fight. You fight the bully, that's all I can think off.
J: What are three things you couldn’t live without?
M: I need more than 3. My kids, friends, family, coffee morning, reading Vietnamese magazine, news from internet everyday, and Korean Movie drama.
J: If you could give a piece of advice to YOURSELF when you were ten-years-old, what would it be?
M: When I was young I have no happy life, too much control from my parent, few friend, no going out at all, grow up no boyfriend no nothing, nightmare no freedom, until I meet your dad in US. I hate my self when I think about it, no good memory when childhood, no feeling, no fun, your guys so lucky born in US. I can't advise. I change through my kids today.
J: What lessons have you learned to become the woman you are now?
M: A lot, I am so happy I have a chance to came to America, raise all my kids here. Thanks to America for accept Vietnamese refugee. Women right now more independence, lot of thing to learn, more mature, freedom of speech, no more control from the family like old fashion way back then. I do what I’m feeling, make myself happy 1st before make some one else happy, that is my principle.
J: What’s one thing you regret?
M: Like I said, too much control, the only way I can get out is marry early, chance for me to escape from my family. I have no choice, feel bad marry too soon. No fun teenage year because I had kids so early.
J: What is a big dream that you have today? (For your family or for yourself)
M: I am happy the way I am right now, for myself. Big dream is just wait and wish for my 2 son to have a great career. Find the right woman they love, get married like their sister, so I don't have to worry. About my favorite daughter, I don't have to worry her anymore, she happy enjoy life with her husband. His family side, every one love her, I can see that, I am very happy for her and she success with her job, I am proud. That is already my big dream.
Mom, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you for everything you've done. Just when I think I know everything there is to you, I learn something new that tops it all. Now I understand why you were so strict when you were raising me, why you convinced me to kick that bully's ass when she showed up at our home, and why you told me I would find someone better than him. You knew what was best for me when I didn't. Love you forever Mommy.