Oh, hello : Biography

Me at the High Museum, 2016

Dining Hall: 8:26 PM

As I sat down with my tray of crunchy tater-tots and with my coffee milkshake in hand, I looked at my friend. I stared up at my 6-foot tall friend and at his tamed curly brown hair, tied in a bun behind his head. I’ve known Michael Buzzy since high school, but we only got close during our senior year. Now, whenever we saw each other at dining halls, we would end up sitting down at the same table for a meal.

“Hey Buzzy, I have a question.”

“Yeah, shoot.”

“What do you think of when you hear my name?”

His fork paused midway in the air as he turned his head to directly make eye contact with me.

“You mean, what do I think of you?”

I grinned and nodded, pleased that he had exactly understood the meaning to my question. Buzzy was one of those unique people that lived by instinct most of the time rather than through rationality — he had an incredible gut feeling that he trusted with his life, and he had a personality that was very honest. I knew asking him this question would give me an answer that was pure, untainted by the sugar-coat that most people laid on their true opinions.

“I’ll be completely honest then.

You’re… really nice. I know, that’s so descriptive. But because you’re so nice, sometimes I feel like you’re too non-confrontational. You could have told David to stop eating your jellies after he ate like 12 of them, but you didn’t.”

He paused to think for a moment before continuing.

“Don’t be offended, but I think you’re flavorful, but also flavorless. You have such a unique major, you’re so talented at drawing, you spit fire out of your fingers when you play piano, and you freaking speak three languages fluently. But see, if people meet you for the first time, they don’t get that impression, they don’t get that vibe at all. They just see a small and happy girl.

If you had a baseball card, your picture in the front would be kind of ordinary, just a regular girl. But if you flipped it to the back, you would see all these incredible stats that shoot through the roof and be like ‘WOAH’ ”

I laughed. Everything he said was brutally true. Meeting me for the first time, there isn’t anything that screams to be so unique or extraordinary. I’m just a small, 5-foot Asian girl who smiles and laughs a lot. Meeting me for the first time, you wouldn’t know that I can vote in the French elections as one of its citizens. You wouldn’t know that I speak Vietnamese to my mom, only to switch to French when my dad enters the room. You wouldn’t know about my adaption and assimilation into American culture at one of the nation’s best high schools.

There is so much more to me than what you see. I have so many stories to tell, embarrassing stories about my middle school years, funny stories where I mess up somewhere, and emotional stories about my family, like my parent’s incredible journeys across the world. If you have time to listen, I promise you it’s going to be so much more than what you expect.

As one of my favorite teachers, Ms. Buckelew, quoted in a recognition letter addressed to me:

“Big things come in small packages”

깎은 손톱 — atnoon books