PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Storytelling comes easy for Helen Hồng. So does baking beautiful cakes.
Hồng, who owns The Cake Batch, shares stories during special cake decorating classes she’s been curating in recent months.
“The first class was talking about family and how The Cake Batch came to be,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Second one was talking about women empowerment and women’s struggles. The third one is about wellness and mental health. When I was stuck in this relationship for 6 years, it wasn’t just physical abuse that I was going under. It was a lot of mental and emotional abuse.”
After that relationship, yoga and Pilates helped her heal. That is why her next event will include her friend and yoga instructor to lead a calming exercise.
The Cake Batch — Cake Painting at Cathedral Park, May 7
People in the class follow Hong’s lead and learn how to decorate a cake to take home. It’s also a chance to chat and connect.
“They’ve laughed, they’ve cried with me, they walk away feeling completely fulfilled, and moreso, I have,” she said. “I’ve gained a lot and, honestly, it’s been healing for me, too.”
It’s also a creative way to share stories that touch other people deeply.
One story Hồng shared is when her dad got out of prison after serving 10 years. It was an unforgettable moment that helped the Vietnamese American woman bond with him in a way that would touch her forever.
“The fact that I was an entrepreneur in a creative field and the fact that it was a possibility for me to be successful, he was so proud and he literally looked at me and was like ‘Bố hãnh diện con,'” she said.
“Hãnh diện is a word that I’ve never heard before. And I was like, ‘Dad, what does that mean?’ He was like, ‘What do you mean, have you never heard of that word?’ I was like, ‘It’s never left your tongue.’ He was like, ‘It means proud. I’m proud of you.”
Hồng got that phrase tattooed on her neck — in her dad’s handwriting. “He has beautiful calligraphy.”