In late 2001, Chung traveled to Denver to visit relatives.
On the second day, her mother called to say she'd come to visit as well.
Mother and daughter visited for the first time in 14 years.
There was no emotional outpouring, no apologies, Chung said. "It was like I had come back after a week," she said.
Her mother, a bartender and waitress, had married a man 10 years younger, and his family would be devastated to learn she had children, Chung said.
She last saw her mother two years ago in Orange County. "She doesn't like us to call her 'Mom,' " Chung said. "We have to call her by her American name."
Her father reentered her life two years after suffering two strokes and a broken hip, and resides in an Orange County nursing home.
Their relationship remains strained, and dealing with her father's maladies has drained her emotionally. "I can say I've never broken down, but this current situation is the first real time I almost lost it and felt helpless."
Then her optimism reasserts itself.
With graduation, she's waiting to hear about a few public policy fellowships. She is talking of pursuing graduate school and hopes to eventually start her own nonprofit agency to help people in need.
"I've got a lot of people who believe in me and are rooting for me and know there are a lot of possibilities for me," she said.