Who Am I?

Today I…officially go back to work.

Yes, it was quite the realization when my husband and I decided that (right now) I will not be able to stay home with my daughter so we can save some $ to buy our own place. Yesterday, actually, my daughter spent her first day at daycare!T’was a success! What a wreck I was in the morning when I dropped her off though! Nevertheless, I survived..like all moms do.

3 weeks of professional development starts now…then the first day of school on August 5th! Where did my summer go???

I’m thankful I was able to fit in good vacation/family time during the 3 weeks I was off. And, even though I tend to complain, I am thankful I even have a job in this economy.

Anyhow, we were given our first assignment for professional development. I thought it would be interesting to share it with you all… as a fun activity/ice breaker. Basically, we are to choose 6 objects/items that represent our cultural identity and present them in our “Culture Bag.” I feel like I’m in college again..although I’m enjoying the challenge of coming up with these 6 items.  The following questions must be answered during our presentation:

1. What is the significance of the items in your culture bag?

2. From whom or where did you get the items?

3. How do these items define your cultural identity?

Please bare with me as I share them all with you:

1. FAMILY PHOTODSC_0514The value of family has been ingrained in me since I was a child. My parents sacrificed for me and I, intend, to do the same with my own family. My family is my driving force. They are what pushes me to get out of bed in the morning, to get out of my comfort zone, and what encourages me to embrace any obstacles that might get in the way. I take my role as a wife and mother very seriously because, in my mind, there is no other option.


I am an Asian American. I realize that slippers is kind of a lame symbol to choose to represent my Asian culture. But, it’s hard not to be reminded of it every time I enter my parents house. It’s customary to remove your shoes when entering an Asian household because it is believed to be a good “health” practice (leaving any dirt/negativity at the door) and, because of the many pressure points in one’s foot, it is believed to be more “free” as your feet are not confined to a shoe. Whether my family truly believes this or not, I think it’s interesting that we’ve adapted to this practice and it has become a norm.

*Weird side note: I really love being barefoot!

3. Tiki Tiki Tembo

A very old version of this book was given to me by my grandfather on my Dad’s side. He’s Vietnamese and speaks very little English. I remember the day he gave this to me. He said, “Melinda, good book. Read.” And, that’s all he had to say and I did it. I have this fond of appreciation of tradition and keeping my culture alive as much as possible. Although I can’t speak the language, I hope to instill the same values my grandparents passed on to my parents and onto me..and so forth.


Food is a central part of my family’s life. If you don’t know me, I love to EAT! And..not gonna lie, I can EAT. We find excuses to throw parties not because of the event, but because of the food to serve people. Eating is also very reflective of my mood. I’ve learned that if I haven’t eaten, I get super grumpy! My friends know this about me too.

5. Miraculous Medal

Faith has always been a very important part of my life. I was born and raised Catholic and with every decision I make I try to make them reflective of the morals and guidelines my faith has been founded on. I know I don’t always succeed in this, as I’m very imperfect, but my goal is to continue to grow in this area as well as pass this on to my children.  My passion for teaching also sprouted through my personal mission to make a difference in people’s lives.

6. Dance

The first is an old video of a Filipino cultural dance called Singkil that I performed when I was in high school. I can’t believe I found this on YouTube! Dance pretty much took up the majority of my time in high school. I lived for it. It was my escape. It was also my most enjoyable form of exercise. Ha!

The second video is a performance I did with my Tahitian dance troupe back in 2008. Those were the days when I was in good shape! Ha!

Dance is definitely one of my passion in life that I cannot live without. I would say, it is definitely something that defines who I am because it’s an activity that I have been doing almost my entire life.

Well, there goes what’s in my cultural bag. Pray that I don’t mess up my presentation today in front of my fellow staff members!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post,