I'm putting this in quotes, but I did not record Mai when she told me her story, and also I have changed the order of how I got the information. So really it's my interpretation of what I heard so take everything I write with a grain of salt. I can always go back in and edit later.
"Growing up in Vietnam my older brothers did Judo and Aikido at this community center, and so I heard about Martial Arts... and then at one point my father became ill so he started doing Tai Chi in the morning and my mother decided to go with him, and I remember I wanted to go so badly too.
'No they don't teach children... it's not for you,' the y told me, and you know my older sister had won at ballet and so I was dragged along to that too, but I knew that I always really wanted to do Kung Fu.
When we first came here as refugees we lived in Chelsea, and that was when I was exposed to all those Kung Fu movies.... In Vietnam we only had a small TV that only played black and white movies from 7-10pm and usually they were old Russian movies that had been translated. So watching these movies with the swords and people going "HAAA!!!" May parents had said that I was a girl and that it wasn't for me but I had been playing with sticks and pretending to do Kung Fu... I was really Tom Boy-ish... so I begged them until finally they said okay. So we we went to Chinatown, Where else? and the first place we saw with a sign with Kung Fu was Wah Lum. I was Twelve years old. When I went up there I think I remember Sifu Bob was doing a form, and just the fact that he was doing a legit form... I knew that I wanted to do this. And so I was very active in performing Kung Fu from then on."