[DAY 60] Life Formula

When Vietnamese airports received surge of international airplanes in March, people on the Internet criticized this decision of students and workers abroad to go home with their families. “You left and didn’t even care about this country, why taking refuge in us now?” Many friends of mine received these attacks with doubt, even thinking they are outcasts of this society and not worthy of their parents’ effort to give them a better education. Many friends, instead of feeling excited to see their mom and dad, felt scared to step on a land so hot that it could burn them to the very soul.

When Vietnam closed its border entirely and when I was/am on the verge of being out-of-status in America, I heard this silent voice in the back of my mind saying that all my choices, no matter how well considered of, were all wrong, and that if only I chose something differently, I would be so much better off. I lived in fear for weeks, “if only” spinning in my head days and nights and carried into dreams. I didn’t take anyone’s criticism, but I could still hear my mom talking to my friend, “I told her to go home but she decided not to.” It seemed that I wasn’t old enough to decide anything for myself.

Vietnam has shifted out of its virus-free time. For months, there wasn’t a single death, but last week 6 people died. Cases had gone up by 100, and that was the highest since March when Vietnam still received international flights. People are cautious and willing to collaborate – to wear masks and let the government track down their activities – and hopefully this will not lead to disaster. However, no matter how well Vietnam has handled this pandemic, there are still doubts. Many wonder if it is still the best choice to stay.

It’s the end of the summer, and the question raised by many families is, “should I send my kids back to school.” I was stunned to see many people shared about their decisions of booking a ticket for their daughter or son to go back to America, to England, to wherever the education was put on pause five months ago. I must admit that none of my brain cell can grasp the idea, and I haven’t stopped thinking why on Earth anyone would do that.

But the thing about a pandemic, and almost everything else, is that there is no formula. There isn’t any right or wrong answer, and either you do it or you don’t.

The usual “how to” questions for Google has never given us the desired answer, since Google hasn’t been through such a time, and none of us also hasn’t been through any like this. It’s not like “how to make pancake” or “how to choose a birthday gift for my boyfriend”, and even these don’t provide me/us the right answer at times. It’s a reality at times denied that we have to figure everything out by ourselves, and it’s a shame that social media and the society give so little space for errors. In making the majority choices, you need a lot of luck and very little skills, so I hope those who can choose go for what their heart dreams for, and those who are not in the matter please keep your nose out of other people’s business. Let them be.

Published by Thi Le


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