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Photocredit: D.Quach

Dan Lu

Vietnamese American from Boston, MA  

“My mom is a SuperMom. She’s amazing. We’re not like best friends because I don’t call her like ‘hey, what’s up?’ everyday but I do love her a lot. As I got older and became more observant, I notice that my dad was very violent and that my mom was in an abusive relationship with my father. 

Dan’s interview was meaningful in so many ways. He reached out to me to share a very personal story about his mother, her struggle with domestic violence, and her SuperMom super powers. Also during this interview, we discussed an exciting major life change –  moving to the Bay Area and doing a cross country road trip with his mother.  Thank you for sharing your SuperMom’s story and you need to update us on how the road trip went! 

“My mom is a super mom. She’s amazing. We’re not like best friends because I don’t call her like ‘hey, what’s up?’ everyday but I do love her a lot. She faced a lot of hardship in Vietnam. Her Dad passed away when she was a teenager. She was the youngest and has three brothers. She was particularly close to her oldest brother who  fought in the Navy during the war. When the war ended, he moved to the USA and brought the entire family over. Later, he died in a drunk driving accident and my mom was devastated.”

“My mom met my dad in the refugee camp in Thailand. By the time she arrived in America, they were together. She had me in her late 20s and then my sister came along. As I got older and became more observant, I notice that my dad was very violent and that my mom was in an abusive relationship with my father. It’s like a cultural thing. I know a lot of other Vietnamese families where this type of behavior seemed normal. I mean, it’s gotten better now that they’re in America but you know it still happens.”

“There was this one major event that I believed changed my parents’ relationship. My parents were making a meat bun and I was being stupid and just wanted to eat the raw meat. They obviously told me that I couldn’t. I was crying about it and my parents fought over it.  One of my parents, I think my dad told me to eat it. But by then, I was super scared and I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t do anything.  That event sparked something and I saw my mom getting hit, she called the cops because she had enough, and a few years later they got divorced.”

Dan forgives his father but wishes to focus on his mom’s strength and her abilities to move forward. . . 

“I’m not really sure why my dad was so violent but I knew he had a really tough life too in Vietnam. When he relocated here to Massachusetts, he use to own a radio store in Dorchester.  The business was really successful until his dad, my grandfather died.  My dad was was really heartbroken from that and I don’t think he was ever the same since my grandfather’s passing. My dad then sold the radio store so our family could all go to the funeral in Vietnam, and after that my mom became the primary breadwinner because she was an engineer.

“My mom loved learning. When my mom arrived in Massachusetts, she immediately applied and got accepted to UMass Lowell on a full scholarship. Afterwards, she got a job at Nstar and has been working there ever since while supporting me, my sister, and my dad before they got divorced.”

“After the divorce, that’s when I noticed my mom’s super powers. She alone was paying for me and my sister to go to school. My mom would always wake up early to make food for us so that there would always be food when I came home from school. It was just simple dishes and we had to microwave it but it was ready for us to eat. She would also do all the dishes and when my friends come over she cooks for all my friends and have them eat until they explode. My mom also made the time to drive me to swim practices, exercise, do yoga, play soccer, all while taking care of my sister and me and she’s already 50 now.”

“My mom always had a great attitude no matter the situation.  I remember when I really wanted this big transformer toy and my mom got it for me as a gift. I brought it to the Y and showed it off to all my friends. It was the coolest thing! A few days later my mom told me that she had to return the gift. We were struggling for money and I had no idea. At first I was so mad that she took the toy away, but now that I remember the price of the toy, it was like $32-$35. We were struggling for $35 and I had no idea.”

 Dan shares his excitement to be traveling cross country with his mom for his big move to the Bay Area and furthering his passion on learning about the brain . . . 

“My mom doesn’t want me to drive alone and I’ve always wanted to do this cross country road trip. Since we’re both big travelers, I figured it’ll be fun to go together. Ever since high school, I knew that I’ve always wanted to live in the Bay Area. So after I graduated, I looked for a job in Northern California and finally found one! I’ll be working at this new bio tech company as a lab tech working with stem cells.

“I went to school for biology and a concentration in biological psychology which is basically neuroscience. I always wanted to be part of R&D research. When I was young, there were three things that I wanted to be – FBI agent, pilot, or a psychiatrist. As I got older, I found out that neuroscience is what I really love because I absolutely love the brain –  maybe because I’ve always wanted to know what was going on in my parents’ mind and understand their actions.”

“I was always fascinated by the brain. It’s like if you can understand the brain you can dissect everything off of it. Have you seen Big Bang Theory? There’s a physicist who studies the universe and his girlfriend is a neuroscientist who studies the brain. And the physicist  would argue that he can understand the universe and then his and his girlfriend would say, ‘well, I can dissect the reason why.’ And I guess for me,  I’ve always wanted to find the connection between how all these chemicals and molecules in our brain turns into conscious thought.”

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