My most valuable item.

I’m broke.

And in debt.

Just like most of my generation. Millennials.

So I wanted to write an article about economics and the value of items… but.. well- and- I just heard about a cool startup in Afghanistan from a CNN article (I basically read and study all day). And it kinda derailed my train of thought.

And “besides” (or “plus” depending on how you think about it; is the glass half full or half empty?) [author’s note: grammar level]… I don’t have time to invest in writing a book. I can’t do that in a day. [author’s note: leap in logic]

I just wanted to share what is my most valuable possession, as a young broke millennial. It’s my necklace. I’ll share a picture of it next time… hehe..

It’s the tooth of a wild pig, also known as a board, carved into the shape of a Buddha. The boar was captured from the forests of Vietnam, and it’s the actual sharp tooth that was used. The necklace has a ring around the top of the tooth made from 14K gold (gold from Vietnam, which still uses gold in business transactions). The chain is just a normal chain because I’m too broke to get a nice one, it’s like plastic or sterling silver or something.

But that’s not all. The necklace was bought by my mother as a gift to me. And she when she went to Vietnam, which is my homeland and place of birth, she took the necklace to a Buddhist temple. At the Buddhist temple, the monks blessed the necklace.

Note that this wasn’t at my great grandfather’s temple, it was at another temple (we have 3 monks in the family, and an uncle that managed a jewelry store).

So she brought the necklace back to America and gave it to me. When she gave it too me, my parents asked me “do you understand what this means?”. I had no idea. So they explained. They said, “In Vietnamese culture, the pig’s tooth is the symbol of strength and courage. Wearing a pig’s tooth in Vietnam is like saying you’re strong or you pray for strength.”

And then… I put on the necklace and some time later we all went to the temple in America. I went to the temple and then the monks gave me a blessing, while I wore the necklace. So the necklace was blessed twice by two different temples in Vietnam and America.

One time I wore the necklace while I was getting a tattoo done. The manager of the tattoo place, who was Vietnamese and had a tattoo on his arm that read “Made in Vietnam”, said “Hey if you ever want to sell that necklace. Let me know and I’ll buy it.”

It was a kind gesture. But I wouldn’t sell it of course. It’s not even worth much, but to me it is. Because my mom gave it to me. And I love my mommy.

Oh and one time, I dropped it and the tooth broke, but I my cousin had it repaired at a store in Vietnam.

Oh and you can see the plastic versions being sold in Chinatown and Little Saigon. It’s a cultural thing, but not many people know the meaning behind it.

And the necklace is my most valuable item.

Because I’m broke at the moment.

I do live well though.



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