Hi, this is my answer to prompt #1. I would like to have this revised by tomorrow so any help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you :)
Although I am now twenty years old, many individuals belonging to the older Vietnamese generation are still shocked to hear me speak Vietnamese fluently after discovering that I was born in the United States. I have taken offense to this in the past, assuming they thought no one belonging to the younger generation had the ability to speak their native tongue. However, what I have realized now is that unfortunately, many individuals belonging to the younger Vietnamese generation actually do struggle with the Vietnamese language or do not know how to speak it at all. I had always believed that being able to speak and understand the Vietnamese language was an essential part to understanding the culture as well.
The fluency I have attained in my native language is attributable to my parents. For seven consecutive years, I dreaded waking up early on Saturdays to attend Vietnamese classes that, at the time, I thought were completely pointless. For four hours a week and 28 weeks a year, I was expected to attend Vietnamese school on Saturdays. For the first two hours, I was required to sit through Bible class and for the last two hours, I was educated on the history and phonics of Vietnam and the its language. These classes enabled me to be able to communicate with not only my family in the United States but also my family in Viet Nam. Though I may not have been grateful for the education I received during the years I was forced to attend, I have come to the realization that attending Vietnamese school is perhaps one of the best opportunities that my parents have given me.
Not only did Vietnamese school allow me to learn my native language, it also served as a bridge in allowing me to connect with my religion as well. Apart from church school on Saturdays, I have also involved myself in a chapter of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society, otherwise known as TNTT, at my church on Sundays. This global-wide youth group, exclusive to Vietnamese communities, aims to educate youth in both social and spiritual life. Since becoming a part of this organization, I have been able to participate and organize many different events for my youth group that allow me to reach out to the Vietnamese community here in northern California. I especially enjoy working with my youth group once the Lunar New Year rolls around. Around this time, Vietnamese families in come together to celebrate the wonderful occasion by lighting firecrackers, watching lion dances and distributing lucky money in red envelopes to all the children.
The young woman I have grown to become is a quality that I am undeniably proud of. I take pride in what I offer my community and I take pride in knowing that, although the environment I was raised in is different than that of my parent's, I have not strayed too far from my roots. My culture is a way of life that is inescapable. It is an ethos that has been embedded in my blood and therefore, does not relate to the person that I am-it IS the person that I am.