1 May 2023

Conversations with My Immigrant Parents | Season 3 | Episode 5 [English Dub]: Crying From Up in the Sky

From Conversations with My Immigrant Parents, 6:00 am on 1 May 2023

Hương fell pregnant at 20, but she didn’t know it was twins until it was time to push. In this bilingual episode, she talks with her daughters Hà and Ly about dependence, marriage, and homecomings.

This episode is available both in the original Vietnamese and with an English dub.

Hương Nguyễn didn’t know she was having two babies when she was pregnant.

“I delivered Ly first. I had absolutely no idea about the twins. The doctor said I still needed to deliver one more baby.”

In this penultimate and special bilingual episode of Conversations with My Immigrant Parents, Hương sits down with her twin daughters Hà and Ly and talks about wishing she had more support with raising them, what going back home to Vietnam for the first time since she left as a young woman was like, and a closeness with her daughters that is like sisterhood.

The Nguyễn whānau arrived here as refugees from Vietnam, via Hong Kong, where Ly and Hà lived for the first two years of their lives. There was little food, baby clothes, or things to buy or share in the camp, and Hương tried hard to provide for her daughters. When cooking, she had to balance one on her front and the other on her back. Her descriptions paint a clear picture of how different life with two babies was instead of the one she had expected.

(L-R) Tane, Julie, and Hương in the kitchen

(L-R) Tane, Julie, and Hương in the kitchen Photo: Saraid de Silva & Julie Zhu

The pandemic started right when Hà’s long-term relationship ended and she moved back in with her mother in her 30s. In many ways, Hà and Hương believe this physical closeness has helped their relationship grow. As Hương describes it, “I know her more, can understand her more, and really empathise with each other's stories. It's quite pleasant, actually. Fun at times, too!”

Despite being raised in the same environment, Hà and Ly are very different from one another, and they say they have always been treated as such. Ha recalls being asked to be translator more often for their parents, and how much pressure she felt because of this, while Ly asks Hương if this is true. Both found navigating school life difficult, and Hương can empathise with why: “We didn’t know English, so you had to stand on your own.”

In relaying some of the current realities of her life bare in this episode, Hương admits her marriage isn’t what it used to be, or what she wishes it could be, as well as confessing she doesn’t exactly know what to do about this going forward.

This bilingual episode couldn’t have been made without the work of translators and interpreters Celine Đàm, Thu Dzung Nguyễn, and Polo Nguyễn.

[click here for more episodes]

Julie Zhu and Saraid de Silva

Julie Zhu and Saraid de Silva Photo: UHZ Ltd

Conversations with My Immigrant Parents is a podcast and video series hosted, produced, and directed by Saraid de Silva and Julie Zhu.

Saraid de Silva is a Sri Lankan/Pākehā actor and writer. Her work deals with contemporary feminism and the realities of being a first-generation South Asian New Zealander.

Born in China, Julie Zhu is a filmmaker, photographer, and storyteller focused on championing the stories and voices of marginalised identities.

| Twitter: @saraiddesilva@juliezhuu | Instagram: @convoswithmy | Facebook: whereareyoufromreally |

NZ On Air

NZ On Air Photo: NZOA