Big Narrative

January 12, 2010
By Chris Nguyen BRONZE, Houston, Texas
Chris Nguyen BRONZE, Houston, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Are you ready and packed for the trip tomorrow,” asked my mom in a loud and stern voice. My mom had told me a few days before to get a head start on my packing. Our family was going to Vietnam. It was such a special privilege given to me by my parents to be able to go on such a wondrous trip. My mom and dad had to take their own money out to finance the vacation. I finally realized that not all children are as fortunate as I am.
“I’m just about done,” I exclaimed to my mom. My mom was downstairs, so I had to raise my voice so she could hear me. I tried to figure out a way to bring my things to my mom. My luggage was so heavy, so I just asked my older brother to bring it down for me. Realizing that everyone was busy, I just brought it down myself.

Early the next morning, a wailing sound went off next to my fragile ears. It was my brother yelling into my ears to wake up. My mom and dad told me that we would eat breakfast at the airport. I was irritated that we had to eat at the airport because the food at the airport was never any good. Arriving at the airport, swarms of cars and people were moving in every direction. We checked in our green luggage, specially indentified with a red ribbon.

Climbing into the white-colored Continental plane, I had these terrible visions in my head that the plane was going to crash. I was never a fan of plane trips. The grueling plane trip finally ended after 14 hours of pain and suffering. The weather was so hot when we came out of the plane.
A tiny blue bus came and picked up the passengers. We climbed into the steamy bus along with many other sweaty people. It was not pleasant. The bus stopped, and everybody poured out of the bus. It looked as though ants coming out of their homes. After picking up our luggages, my mom and dad called two large cabs to go back to the hotel. Now that I think back, I failed to even thank my parents for paying for my meal. They provide everything for me, but I don’t even realize it.

On the way to the hotel, broken down buildings and little children were walking around on the streets in rags. I sat in the cab helplessly looking at those other children. Some of the children were crippled. They were just lying on the streets with despairing expressions. People walked back and forth and ignored those children. I felt crestfallen because I had so many material things, but I wanted more. There was no end to my wants. Those children didn’t even have enough food to last them a day. Here I was bickering and grumbling about how boring the trip was. The children on the streets didn’t even have parents. It was sad to see.

The next morning, my family went to look for a place to eat. We stumbled upon a place called Pho 24. Pho is a special noodle soup made in Vietnamese restaurants. It is a main dish in Vietnamese culture. When we walked in, abundant aromas filled the air. As my parents started to order, a small child about the age of four or five walked in. She was a young little girl wearing a pair of battered slippers. Carrying a pack of bright colored gum, she approached my parents in a leisure manner. She asked if my mom and dad wanted to buy some gum from her. Instead of buying the gum from her, my parents gave her 18,000 VND, which could last her about 2 days on food alone. 18,000 VND is roughly the equivalence of 1 USD. Sipping the last of the pho, my family and I watched the little girl jet right out of the restaurant with bright expressions. I realized that my parents must have cared about the little girl to give her money. With a full stomach, my mom and dad took us to an orphanage in need of financial assistance. Crashing and booming sounds of thunder erupted as our driver drove us deeper into the city. Gusts of powerful wind brushed against the steel van. Slowly screeching to a stop, a foggy sight of the orphanage came into view. Children of all shapes and sizes came running out with umbrellas to see who the visitor was. Climbing out of steel van, I was expecting something really boring. I thought that the children there were just dirty. They were wearing these dirty and worn out rags. I couldn’t even think that they were going to be touching me. It turned out that I was completely wrong. Little boys and girls grabbed my brothers, cousins, and me by the arm and dragged us to go play with them. All sorts of games were played at the orphanage. I started to see how lucky and prosperous my family was. While we were happily prancing around with the other children, my parents had matters to attend to. I remember thinking how the children at the orphanage were so happy with just having the littlest things. My parents were discussing adult matters with the founder of the orphanage. Those children didn’t have much, but they were so happy to see new faces. My eyes were being opened by children much younger than I was. I shuffled my feet sadly out to the van because it was time to go. Hands waved at us as we departed back to the hotel to get ready to fly back to America.
As the trip to Vietnam slowly came to a close, I finally became aware of my spoiled and childish attitude toward my parents. The fault wasn’t my parents. They tried to show me the righteous path, but I couldn’t open my eyes to see that. I didn’t change the children’s lives, but they surely changed mine. It is thanks to those children and my parents that I am the person I am today. Before the trip to Vietnam, I was a wasteful little child that took everyday things for granted, but after the trip I was a changed person. I cherish the memories and thank the children for crafting me into the person I am today. I have now doubtlessly come of age.

The author's comments:
My big narrative was a little more successful because I got a hold of an idea of what the teacher was expecting. I felt a bit more comfortable the second time around because I had practice writing many mini narratives, which improved my big narrative. The weakness of my second paper was the length of the paper. Because there was a certain length that had to be achieved, I found myself repeating the same idea over and over again. I found that I ran out of things to say. The quotes in which I had to put into the paper were also a challenge for me. I feel that it was still better the second time.

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