Marital Status: Married, No Children
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Profession: Writer and Entrepreneur
Trying to Conceive: Two months
Anh-Chi is trying to conceive her first child with her husband. He is in the U.S. Air Force and their family is scheduled to move out of state at the end of this year for 10 years. She had her IUD removed in December 2008, and the doctors have given her two months before she will be fertile. Anh-Chi wants to have her baby while she is still in Sacramento, close to her family and friends, but she is very afraid that it won't happen as planned. She wants their family and friends to be a part of their child's life, if only at the very beginning. The timing of her pregnancy is very important to her.
Anh-Chi: Hi there!!! To supplement my video biography, I'd like to share with all of you my background in greater depth. Also, if there were some details mentioned briefly in the video, I can elaborate here.
I am of Vietnamese heritage, and not until I met my husband Huy (who's also Vietnamese) have I really started to appreciate my culture. Growing up with my mother in Santa Barbara, where the population is only 5% Vietnamese, I never truly experienced my native language, food, and people. When I got married, though, I opened up to a whole new life, and learned so much from my husband's family, especially my mother-in-law. She stayed with us for several months shortly after I moved in with Huy, and several months after our wedding. She cooked the most wonderful, authentic food everyday, told stories about her life, and taught me different lessons she's learned along the way. I also went to various ceremonies throughout these years to honor my husband's elders. I've practiced those traditions in my own household, but never to the extent that my husband does. It's wonderful, because not only am I broadening my horizons, but I'm sharing with my husband an extremely deep connection that's so rewarding. I look forward to passing on those customs to our future children, teaching them Vietnamese (and other languages, of course), and most importantly, instilling in them respect and love for family (especially elders).
Speaking of elders, I would like to talk about my great-grandmother, since she's one of the most beloved people in my life. Unfortunately she passed away recently, in 2007, on the exact day of my birthday. Coincidentally, my husband also proposed to me that very day. But I do believe in fate, and that everything happens for a reason. When one door shuts down, another opens. So when my great-grandmother left, there was a new beginning -- the beautiful life that was in store for me and my husband. Needless to say, the experience was still very difficult, since we had planned our engagement party so that my great-grandmother could be a part of it. We even set the location at her house, and already invited all our loved ones. I was so devastated she wasn't there to see us engaged, married, and now possibly, having kids. But I know with all my heart she is with us in spirit, and at this point, that's all that really matters. She was so caring, sweet, and uplifting ... she was the foundation and glue of our family. Her love, energy, and optimism will always remain with me, and I hope to become the amazing individual she was.
I've mentioned growing up with my mom during most of my childhood, but I want to honor my stepdad as well. We started off on a rough path, as I was a teenager when my mom first knew him. I wasn't very accepting, but as time progressed, I grew to love him more and more. Honestly, I wouldn't be where I am today without his guidance and support. He's changed my life in tremendous ways, and given me perspectives that are both enlightening and profound. With his encouragement, I went from associating with the wrong crowd in high school to maintaining a 4.0 in my senior year. Several years later, I ended up at my dream school -- UCLA.
Ahh ... UCLA. My college years were some of the best years of my life. It was where I encountered the most challenging yet rewarding experiences. For the first time in my life, I was forced to re-evaluate everything I've been accustomed to, and find a compromise. I was always comfortable following the path my family expected of me, which was to study hard and pursue medical school. And after several years of painstaking attempts, I called it quits and continued my education rigorously. Although my relatives still remind me I could've become a successful doctor, I know in my heart I wasn't meant for that career. I am fully happy with my decision and do not have any regrets. And on a larger scale, that's the main attribute I've developed throughout the years. I can still be my own person, yet love and respect my family at the same time. With that mentality, I was set free from a lifetime of guilt and unnecessary apologies. I began to live for myself, and enjoy my surroundings more fully.
I will never forget the memories made at UCLA ... my wonderful roommates whom I've become best friends with, fellow peers in Bruin Belles Service Association, and dedicated professors. They have all inspired me to be a better person, and to utilize my abilities and passions for the benefit of others. I volunteered at underprivileged schools, and helped grade school children enjoy learning through technology, language arts, and fine arts, handed out prepared lunches to the homeless, and helped coordinate annual Women's Leadership conferences. I also taught piano lessons to beginner and intermediate students for several years, which was so rewarding. The students were like sponges, soaking up so much information and giving back even more. One of them, with whom I'm still in contact to this day, is an accomplished pianist and teacher herself. She's performed in various recitals, competitions, and even the prestigious Young Soloists Showcase -- a live concert with an orchestral accompaniment. She's now attending UCLA as well, and I hope she's enjoying college just as much as I did!
Upon graduation, I moved back to Santa Barbara, and lived with my parents and niece, Camille. Camille's mother lived with my mom and me for several years (during my first several years of college). She had just moved from Vietnam to be with her husband, who's my second cousin. She only planned on staying in Santa Barbara for several years to make a good enough income and jump-start her new life. But life is unexpected, and she gave birth to a beautiful girl along the way. She had another daughter several years later, and couldn't handle the challenge of raising two kids. So she asked my parents to take care of Camille, whom they accepted with open arms. And I was thrilled, of course, since I've always loved having my niece around. Camille blossomed into a wonderful child, and I spent every minute I could with her -- from taking her to school, reading bedtime stories, going to the beach, watching Disney movies, and just playing make-believe. I loved being a kid again and having old-fashioned fun! Camille has helped me grow up so much ... Not only was I a bigger sister to her, but I also played the role of a mother figure at times. I took care of her when she was sick, woke up in the middle of the night to calm her from crying, fed her, bathed her ... all since she was a day old. That's probably why I have such a strong instinct to become a mother, and give another human being my all. I can still remember vividly the day Camille learned to walk, ride a bike, and so much more. I can't WAIT to experience those pure joys again with my own babies someday!!!
Shortly after I moved back home, my mom introduced me to Huy, and now I'm married to the man of my dreams! My mom had reunited with her long-lost friend from Vietnam, who happens to be Huy's aunt. They both thought Huy and I would be perfect for each other, and continually encouraged us to date. After several months, Huy and I finally gave in and started talking. Little did I know he'd become the love of my life. After a summer of talking, we met each other in San Jose and spent a week together in Sacramento. Unfortunately, he was deployed for four months that fall, which really tested our love. I was unsure we could even last, but he always reassured me things would be okay. In retrospect, those four months were some of the most fruitful times of our relationship. We exchanged e-mails and phone calls everyday, getting to know each other on a very deep and meaningful level. And although I didn't realize it at the time, the sheer amount of effort my husband took to call me was a sure sign he cared. After a hard day's work, standing out in the cold to wait for the phone, and talking to me for only several minutes, he still displayed love and affection. And he did this everyday (well, almost) for four months ... that's dedication!
After Huy came back from deployment, he visited me in Santa Barbara for several weeks. My stepdad met him for the first time (which was also the first time I've introduced my stepdad to anyone, for that matter). So my stepdad was naturally honored to finally get to know his future son-in-law. They instantly "hit it off," so to speak, and loved talking about everything -- from politics and the military to traveling and sports. I was ecstatic to see them get along so well. I've never met anyone who blended seamlessly with my family, and I knew from that moment Huy and I were truly destined to be together. Of course, my mom already loved him as her own son at that point, and to be honest I think she even loves him more than me. Just kidding ... but really, she adores him!
Huy and I maintained a long-distance relationship for almost a year, and then decided to live together. I packed my belongings from my Santa Barbara abode, and moved to West Sacramento, where I am now. For the next year, I kept myself busy with my new job at a health marketing firm and wedding planning. I especially enjoyed our time together, since Huy didn't go on any missions or deployments for eight months. I loved waking up to my best friend every day, cooking for him, and taking care of our pups, Daisy and Bambi.
I also manage our family business, which will become a full-time endeavor once I become a stay-at-home mom. My mother started her own heirloom children's clothing line, Fantaisie Kids, 13 years ago. Fantaisie Kids is now available at fine department stores and better boutiques across the United States. I'm so proud my mother's built a business from humble beginnings, and now it's becoming more successful than ever. We specialize in hand-smocked and embroidered gowns and dresses for christenings, baptisms, first communions, and other special occasions. The line has evolved into a full-scale production, and now we codesign flower girl dresses, take-me-home gowns, and upscale casual wear. I've created an online boutique that offers other designer brands as well, to offer customers a wide variety of products. Eventually, though, I'd love to create a line of nursery décor including crib bedding, blankets, curtains -- the whole gamut. Our goal is to establish a household name in the children's market and distinguish ourselves as a leader in beautiful, timeless products for children that are made with the finest workmanship. I have my sights set for maternity wear as well, so the sky's the limit at this point!
It's only natural that I would become more inclined toward motherhood. After watching the latest celebrity moms and their babies, I now have a major case of baby fever! I've also developed great rapport with my customers, and can relate to their needs and interests as a mother, since my maternal instincts are kicking in. Being surrounded by passionate mothers, I can't help but become inspired and motivated to have children of my own.
I've finally reached a point in my life where everything's falling into place. I absolutely love my husband, family, and friends ... I look forward to each and every day, with the hope of learning or experiencing something new. My loved ones keep me grounded and centered, and remind me everyday the power of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Ultimately I'd love to travel as much as possible. I've visited Canada, Cabo (Mexico), and China, and now my dream destinations are Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Thailand, India, and Vietnam. So if we're lucky, my husband and I can travel the world with our kids in the not-too-distant future ... I don't think life can get any better!
Til next time ...
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