The love that was once faded.

(Other perspectives) Almost gone.

I have been thinking a lot about how people in my home country sacrifice everything just to be able to live in the United States. Many Westerners whom my parents have met, they told me, love Asian cultures because of how people embrace each other, of how being collective is a norm, while in their home countries – the United States – children fly away from their birth places as soon as they are legally considered adults. 

For many generations in my family, people dream American dreams. But I would tell my parents, why would they want to come here when that means they will lose everything – their houses, wealthiness, as well as their connections with relatives and friends. That, I admit, is my selfishness. 

The more I encounter different cultures, the more I understand what are the true values. I’d love to wear my country’s traditional clothes – ao dai – just once more, despite the fact that I hated it for having to put it on every Monday morning back in high school. I’d love to eat all of my mom’s food, even though her cooking is not the best in the world to me. I’d love to speak my own language whenever I can, and to spend my one-hour salary to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. 

However, the truth is I don’t speak Vietnamese whenever I can. As an foreigner in the United States, many times I try to blend in, to work, to study, as though I am an American, just to close the gap between cultures. 

I feel sad about how much Vietnamese have endure to live a life of someone else. The norms at other countries are adapted into our norms, while ours have be ignored just purely because of our identity. 

My generation exposes to better chances to learn and to grow in-depth. We embrace cultures, and therefore we understand our own values. We will all replace our parents, grand-parents, and many generations before that. We will eventually realize how important it is to live the way we are supposed to. 

But our ancestors will not. They have been and are waiting for what we refuse to offer them. They have been waiting to bury our history. 

This is me – with a really typical Asian looking – wearing ao dai. I am delighted every time friends from other countries say, “Hey that’s traditional clothing!” 

Inferno

Extremely Intense. 

She is a nice girl – a nice co-worker. She was the very first person who would say “Hi” to me when I showed up at work every day. And she asked me how would it be like when living away from home. She is from Venezuela. 

“There is no food there. If you go to the groceries store, there would be nothing. People had to buy food at black market like they were doing something wrong. My family left as refugee, and this way we could find a better life.” 

When reading essays of people who are from Mexican or those that are immigrants, it was hard to understand, as well as hard to not feeling empathy for them. Many people have always thought that except in the US, most other places on Earth are poor and wars going on there every day. But when I think about my own home country, I realized that I have never suffered. The gap between poor and me is the time gap, which also means I would never reach it. My parents were born in poor family. They work on the farm in the evening after going to schools. They tried their best to go to universities, because back then this was the only way to escape poverty. I and many other people in Vietnam was born in wealth. We didn’t have to think much about tomorrow, for there is nothing to worry about. I know there are still places where people are suffering, but it was just impossible for me to understand. 

The point is, at the place where people think was buried in war and poverty in Vietnam, I didn’t feel any hardness. It is just hard for me to imagine other parts of the world are truly in need. 

Here, I want to affirm her because how great she is when she embraces other people into her life and how she encourages her classmates and co-workers. 

I want to pray for Venezuela and many other places, including my own country, that we would find a better way to face these adversities, and that we wouldn’t have to leave our own countries and cultures to find better lives in a strange place. A place where many people look down on us… A place where our beauties are disrespected and devalued. 

I pray that people would sit down and listen to our stories, just like how I sat down to listen to hers. That way, we learn. We learn great things.