"'You are not an American. You are a Vietnamese American.' My father tells me this from time to time, and recently he has been trying to make sure I understand his message. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Việt Nam and learn more about my roots. My parents took me to their home town of Bạc Liêu which had grown from a small village to a bustling town with a population comparable to my own Kirkland, Washington. I visited a town where all the buildings had been demolished into rubble except for the lone clock tower. I climbed up to a Buddhist temple on a mountainside (where I subsequently threw up due to food poisoning). I also stayed in Sài Gòn where all the brand new skyscrapers pierced the horizon line of the sky. And I know I said Sài Gòn, because my parents left from Sài Gòn, not Ho Chi Minh City. To me, it's important to know the difference between Sài Gòn and Ho Chi Minh City. It may be the same location, but it's not the same place. The only way for me to truly visit Sài Gòn, is through my parents' experiences. I will have only physically been in Ho Chi Minh City, but their memories showed me what Sài Gòn was really like. Those memories are what Việt Nam is to them, and what being Vietnamese means to them. As for me, being Vietnamese is something in between. Because I'm not just Vietnamese, I'm Vietnamese American. To me, the words ‘I Am Vietnamese’ means that I remember the cultures and values of Saigon, but look and see the present Ho Chi Minh City."