My Journey to the Other Side

April 16, 2018
By , Miramar, FL

Today is my last day of first grade before I have leave. I am leaving school 2 weeks early because my family is planning on going on vacation. My parents decided that it would be a good idea to take the family to Vietnam, their homeland. Considering I have lived in the U.S my entire life, I do not know what to expect. I have never been anywhere near Vietnam and the closest thing I have probably seen was home videos and the movies my parents watched filmed in Vietnam. That night before I left on my trip, my cousins, aunts, and uncles all came to my house to say goodbye. They gave us items and presents that they wanted to be sent to their love ones in Vietnam. Inside the enormous blue bin, I could see toothpaste, gum, and ramen filled all the way to the top. I could not understand why all these items were inside. However, I figured that maybe it was because we were going to be there for a long time or that we would have not have enough room in our suitcase.


The next morning my sister woke me up early to get ready. Outside of the room, my parents were running around the whole house with bags and bins. I was surprised to see my aunt up this early at my house. She was wearing baggy gray sweatpants and an oversized white shirt. She looked gloomy and sat on the couch just watching us. My aunt told us that she could not sleep and she had to come over. It was weird. I had this feeling that she was sad because she could not come with us or that she felt like something bad was going to happen to us over there. Whatever it was, it made me a little worried. At the airport, my sister and I met a group of girls. They were all friends and traveling with each other to New York. They reminded me of the group of friends I always saw in the movies that were always hanging out together and laughing. They made it seem that travel was fun and it was. Walking around the airport and exploring new places was exciting. It kind of felt like I was at the mall with different types of stores surrounding me.


On the plane, my family’s seats were split up into different areas. This caused my mom to take the 3 of us along wit her. Busy dealing with my baby brother, my mom told us to sit anywhere closer to her. Suddenly, an old lady came and said that I was sitting in her seat. She even brought the pilot to come check that it was her seat. The pilot demanded to see my ticket and asked if was suppose to be here. I was scared. No I was terrified. I thought at that moment they were going to kick me off the plane and separate me from my family. Staring at my mom, she did not do anything because she did not understand english. Unsure of what to do, I stayed silent. Finally, when the pilot understood that I was with my sister, he was conflicted on what to do.  He could not figure out a way to find me a seat without separating me from my sister. Thankfully, a man dressed in a cotton white dress shirt and long black pants offered his seat next to an empty one. This allowed my sister and I to be able to sit next to each other. I felt so grateful that he would do such a thing. It made me feel that no matter wherever you go around the world, there was always nice people around.


Finally sitting into my seat, I sat next to the window. I loved sitting next to the window because of the view. I could see the fluffy cotton clouds and itty bitty houses. It made feel like I had super powers to fly and travel around in the sky. Arriving in Vietnam, the streets were pitch black with no street lights. Walking toward my grandmother’s house, I could not see anything. I was afraid I was going to fall in a puddle of an unidentified liquid and get stuck there. It felt as if I walking in a dark path with no end and no direction. At last, when we reached my grandmother’s house, I could barely see where it was. The house only had small little lanterns and flashlights on and I couldn’t identify where it started or ended. “This must be your children,” said my grandmother. “You guys are all so grown up. I used to babysit you when you were little”, said my grandmother to my sister.  “I do not remember you”, whispered my sister. Looking around the living room was very small. It had one of those old box-like  t.v. and a dark brown mat instead of a sofa. Realizing that we were tired, my grandmother showed us to our room where the whole family will be sleeping. The room has light mint green walls with glassy gray stone tiles on the floor. The room contain a wooden bed that seemed to be made out of sturdy bamboo. The next morning a rooster yelled “cock-a-doodle-doo” at 6 am in the morning. When I woke up, my parents and my sister were already up and had gone outside. Getting up I was surprised to see that they did not have a proper bathroom. To brush my teeth and my face, I had to use a bucket of water and stand outside near the bushes. Looking around the house, it did not even have a proper plumbing system like the ones back home. Instead, they had well that pumped up water from the ground to filled the bucket. My grandmother’s house did not even have a electric stove. She cooked off a portable gas stove on the floor outside. The tiny brown house also had no air conditioning. They had to have all the doors and windows open with 2 electric fans on. However, the morning air felt nice and cool. I liked the feeling of the fresh breeze and watching the sun rise while looking around the house.






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