|Not my family, but a cool photo by Jame and Jess|
My parents spoke often about their life in Vietnam. Yet they rarely talk about their journey to the United States. They arrived to the States separately. My mom with her large family and my dad, alone. My mom sometimes talked about being on a boat and living in refugee camps. When pressed for details, my mom is tight lipped. It's not for lack of trying. As children, my sister and I asked many questions. All we got were crumbs of information.
I guess I gave up as I grew older. I realized that perhaps they weren't ready to relive their journey to the refugee camps or living in tents and shacks as they waited for a sponsor family. Recently I read a novel that gave me an idea what it must have been like for my parents. I understand why they don't want to talk about it.
Now that Sophia is older, she wants to know how my parents came to America. I've taught her to be proud of her Vietnamese heritage. Understandably, she's curious about where our family comes from. When she asks me about my parents' immigration history, I don't have any answers.
Instead, I suggest that she asks her Ông ngoại and Bà Bà. I hope that my parents' memories are distant enough that they can share an important piece of family history with their grandchildren. In turn, I can learn as well.
It's too important to be forgotten.