Kim Huong Nguyen

I’m a foreigner. I’m Danish. I feel foreign in situations where norms, values and customs are different from the ones I’m used to, but it can also happen when I visit my brother, because socially and in terms of work we lead our own lives. They speak mostly Danish.

It saddens me that I can’t visit my old mother. For many years I missed Vietnam, but gradually the burden becomes less heavy to bear. To the communists I am a dangerous person, because I work with human rights. Denmark is just society, where people are treated fairly equally. Here I feel free as a bird, whereas those in Vietnam live like birds in cages. They are afraid of the authorities, all while the Danish authorities protect us. I feel very safe here.

When I arrived, I was a history and geography teacher, and I taught Vietnamese the first ten years in Denmark. I was a social educator, and got work at the SFO and at the youth club. My husband thought it better that I had a shop, so I tried that. Later I got an education as a masseuse so I could do something for my own health and that of my family. I have now had my own clinic for three years, and have regular tuitions in traditional Vietnamese medicine by master teachers. For me it is a meaningful contribution to the western perception of health.

For a while I was a member of the church council at my church. It was more the community than the religion that captured me. My husband is more religious than me, he seeks transcendence while my feet are more firmly planted on the ground with other people.

We have a large network, and every New Year we organize a revue where we make our own costumes and mix everything from dragon dance to Pippi Longstocking, Bamse & Kylling, Javanese dance and American pop.

Kim Huong Nguyen / 60 / married / children / teacher, social educator and masseuse / Tilst / from Vietnam / came to Denmark 1981 / residency permit same year