Len Nguyen – A Citizen of Nowhere and Anywhere
Hop-skipping from the pavements of Ho Chi Minh to ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ and Shanghai…” as Len Nguyen struggles to explain where she is from.
“Where are you from?” is a question I frequently receive, but constantly struggle to find a proper answer. I’ve been moving from country to country, hop-skipping from the pavements of Ho Chi Minh to “The Pearl Of The Orient” that is Hong Kong, of course, with a 2 year layover at Shanghai.
So whenever I hear that dreaded question, my mind switches on its mini slideshow of my life, trying to formulate a response suitable enough to avoid confusing the enquirer , all while spending the rest of the day pondering where I think I’m actually from.
“I don’t try to identify myself based on where I’m from but rather where I am most attached to.”
Truth is, I don’t try to identify myself based on where I’m from but rather where I am most attached to. I’m a mixed kid, from Vietnam and Malaysia, but in my heart, I’m a Hongkonger. I have built a life here. I have unforgettable memories here and I have my soul here. I love seeing the world, and in Hong Kong, I have the luxury of experiencing the vast cultures of the world in this minuscule dot on the map. A metropolis so small in size but so big on personality.
I’m sure many “third culture” kids can relate to me on this. We all cannot decide on one place to call home or have a hard time deciding mainly because we have yet to unearth what “home” means to us. I, as an individual, love to travel. I want to explore and learn. Travelling lets me do all this without wasting away in a room with someone barking instructions at me. And that is why the world is my home . I am a citizen of nowhere and everywhere, not what is written on my passport.
“The further I go in life, the wider my “home” expands.”
I write to spiritually travel , and travel to physically write. A sense of belonging is human nature. We all want to be a part of something great. It is crucial for us because it keeps us feeling loved. I think it is essential for us to belong, and we all belong somewhere. I belong to my heritage which includes Vietnam, Malay and Hong Kong. It is not blood that measures who you are but your heart and where it lies. The further I go in life, the wider my “home” expands.
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