Tracy's Story

Tracy on a hike

My name is Tracy Nguyen. I was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. My parents came to the United States in the 1990s and lived in D.C. and Arlington for a few years before relocating to Falls Church to start their family of four with my older sister, Trisha, and me. Falls Church has a large Vietnamese population so that is why I think my parents decided to settle here. Life in Falls Church has been such a source of joy for me because I live in such close proximity to all my family (many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents live within a 2 mile radius of me) and have met so many ethnically diverse people in my community. These friends and neighbors have introduced me to various cultures and identities (not to mention all the diverse food) and because of them, I have learned so much about the big world in such a little city. I am so very fortunate to have grown up here and am proud to say that I am from Falls Church, Virginia.

Tracy with her sister at her sister's graduation
My sister, Trisha, and I at her graduation in which she is wearing an ao dai, a traditional Vietnamese dress that women and girls typically wear during special occasions. December 2021.

I’ve been back to visit Vietnam three times now, but only two of which I can remember. It may be a poor country, but it is a beautiful place full of very kind and generous people. When we came back to visit, my family stayed at my grandparents’ house (which is kept by my grandma’s sister when my grandparents go back to the states). Everyone in my grandparents' neighborhood knew each other. When people live in the same place their whole life, they become familiar with those they live around. It was very heartwarming!

Tracy on a moped with her dad
A photo of me on a moped with my dad in Vietnam. May 2022.
Tracy on a moped with her dad
Tay Ninh, Vietnam is the city where my parents are from. Photo was taken by me. May 2022.

One of the most popular Vietnamese cuisines is Pho. I hate to be biased but I do think my mom makes it the best. Nothing better to wake up to than the smell of the pho broth making its way up into my room. Although it may sound odd to have noodle soup as the first meal of the day, my family typically eats pho for brunch. That’s my favorite time to eat it because it pretty much fills me for the rest of the day! Whenever we go out for pho, our favorite pho restaurant is Pho75. It is located right outside the main center of Falls Church City on Graham Road.

Making pho is actually quite the process and takes time and patience, but the end result always makes it worth it! I, personally, have never made it from scratch like my mom, but I have watched her make it and have helped out and I can say that it is not ~terribly~ difficult… Here’s a recipe I found online that seems similar to how my mom makes it! Click here for Pho recipe!