So much of who are is where we have been.
It’s been 15 years since I’ve been back to Vietnam and this time it was to say goodbye to my grandfather. I wish the nature of this trip wasn’t a sad one. I wish it didn’t take me so long to come back either. But it felt so good reconnecting and seeing my family again.
My dad & uncle took me for a walk along the beach of Quy Nhon. It was on that same beach that my dad decided he was going to flee Vietnam with one of his younger brothers. He left his parents along with 9 other siblings behind when he fled. Maybe it’s because I’m much older now. Maybe it’s because of America’s current political climate in regards to refugees seeking asylum or citizenship but this trip back hits differently.
I’m a lot older now and much more appreciative of this trip than when I went at 15. I spent a lot of time learning about my dad’s and uncle’s refugee story. I learned a lot about where they came from and how they grew up. Their sacrifices gave me the opportunities to have the life I have today. I can’t imagine how upset my grandpa was when he realized his sons ran away. It pains me to know I only ever got to meet him once.
We tried to make the best of it given the circumstances. It’s hard to enjoy a trip like this when we were called “home” because we had to lay my grandfather down to rest. This trip was really special for me because I spent majority of the time bonding with my dad and my uncle.
In Quy Nhon, my dad and uncle really loved this particular dish: Banh Canh. Apparently, if you don’t wake up early enough, the lady will sell out. Apparently, this lady is the same lady that sold it to them when they were kids so needless to say they were excited she was still there selling their favorite dish.
There’s not quite anything like 5am walks on the beach with my dad and uncle to watch the sunrise (and catch little crabs) then hanging out at their version of “outdoor coffee shop.”