Life has changed so much since I first heard this song.
Life has changed so much since I first heard this song.
^the vibe my parents are giving me before i leave for michigan for 2 months.
I’M SO FREAKIN EXCITED AND NERVOUS AND SCARED I DIDN’T PACK ENOUGH. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH
One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting people. I can think of many occasions where I’ve met some really nice people who sat next to me on the plane or shared some kind of experience with me (getting lost in New York City last year, for example). I sometimes think back on those times and wonder if those people also look back and remember me, but as the years go by and I slowly begin to forget those memories, I’m sure that they are as well.
So I guess that’s why this article seemed really cool to me. I’d like to think that everyone we meet in our lives, no matter what kind of experience we have of them, impacts us in some kind of way. Because of this, I want to take on this new challenge and better remember those moments in my life when I briefly meet someone who I will probably never see again.
If you have less than 5 minutes of your day to spare, I invite you to read this article and add some new things to your life’s bucket list with me.
Special thanks to my friend Yen for sharing this with me.
Very, very late post, but I still wanted to document this.
This past Wednesday was April 30, a day where Vietnamese Americans mourn the fall of Saigon and those who fought and died trying to preserve the democracy of South Vietnam. Over tens of thousands of people left their home country on that day in 1975. I remember asking my dad about his journey from Vietnam when I was in 9th grade, but I don’t think I fully understood the significance behind it. So now, 5 years later, I asked him to retell me his story.
Since my dad was part of the South Vietnamese Army, he said they were one of the first groups to leave by boat on April 30. 7 days later, they arrived in a U.S. government base in Guam, where my dad and his group stayed for about a week. They arrived by plane to Fort Chaffee in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, which was one of the four refugee centers in the United States where they potentially could have been. My dad and his group stayed at Fort Chaffee for about 3 months.
A retired Army General named Clyde J. Watts and his son, Charles, were lawyers in Oklahoma who were determined to help these Vietnamese refugees begin a new life in America. The Watts planned on sponsoring 25 Vietnamese men from the Vietnamese airborne division of the Army, which is the division my dad served under. They partnered with a furniture businessman named Jim Bruno, who General Watts sent to Fort Chaffee to bring these men to Oklahoma. These generous and dedicated sponsors ended up transporting 180 Vietnamese men from Fort Chaffee to Oklahoma City by way of bus in a matter of a day.
After my dad was bussed to Oklahoma City in August of 1975, his new life began. He lived in a small apartment with a dozen other Vietnamese men. Each of them received $300 from sponsors to help them get their new life started. Out of his group, he was the only one who knew how to drive, so they pooled in some of their money to buy a used car so my dad could drive himself and his friends to work. The first job my dad had in America was at a car dealership. He quit after 2 days because the manager wouldn’t let him fix any of the cars—they just let him start the ignition. With his vast knowledge of cars, he wanted to apply what he knew and do hands-on jobs. He wanted to be a mechanic, but he didn’t have the necessary equipment. To make ends meet, my dad worked at an old (and now shut down) Holiday Inn. He worked in housekeeping and would change out the bed sheets, towels etc. He worked there for a couple of months, then he found a new job at Seiberling Latex Product Company. After two years of working there, he found a job at Western Electric. My dad worked there for a total of 24 years.
My mom came over to America in 1979 with her parents and 5 siblings. They first arrived in North Dakota, and they couldn’t quite get used to the cold weather. Her childhood friend, Ngoc, was living in Oklahoma after fleeing Vietnam, and contacted my mom to reconnect with her after all these years. My mom and her family ended up moving to Oklahoma and kept close to Ngoc. They both wanted to go to temple together, but since neither of them could drive, Ngoc’s friend kindly offered to drive them every Sunday. That friend was none other than my dad, the only one who knew how to drive within his division. After a few years of getting to know each other, my dad asked my grandma for permission to marry my mom, and my grandma just told him, “it’s her decision.” My mom said yes, and in 1982 on Christmas Day, my parents had an outdoor wedding and got married during snowfall. She also worked at Western Electric for about 20 years with my father.
If you’re a Vietnamese American, you can’t really understand who you are or where you’re from until you know the story of how your parents (or grandparents) came to America after the war. It puts everything into perspective and it gives everything you do in life more meaning. I’ll forever be thankful for those generous sponsors who believed that these Vietnamese refugees deserved a second chance at life. I knew my parents were hard workers, but this just proves how hard they worked for the life that they have now. April 30th is a day where Vietnamese Americans mourn the fall of Saigon, but it’s also a day where they celebrate the beginning of their new lives in America.
at that point in college where I’m starting to question everything I’m doing.
I haven’t been on tumblr for months but this is so worth reblogging
"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself." - Charlie Chaplain
Olan Rogers, you are my hero.
Sean O’Connell, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (via indestructible-manifestations)