Memories Of Cambodia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I still remember almost everything that happened when we lived in Cambodia. Back then we lived in a city called Phnom Penh. Even though I was young, I remember a lot. So now I muse and picture what it was like when we lived there.

One thing I remember clearly was one night of bombing. My family slept while bombs dropped. My dad woke me up, without scaring me. I knew why he was waking me. We ran out of the house to find a place to hide. He brought blankets to cover us. There was a place where nobody lived; it was deserted, with only large rocks and tall grass where few land mines were. While my parents tried to find a place to hide, I looked around and I saw many families already lying on the ground covering themselves with blankets. I held my mom's hands while we skulked barefoot through the deserted area. Most people were screaming every time bombs dropped. My parents didn't scream, but I knew they were scared to death. I acted calm, because I didn't want my parents to know that I was also scared. I described myself like the placid water of the lake. We did find a place to hide. We covered ourselves with blankets, and tried to bend down as low as possible.

The bombing lasted ten minutes; it was just to scare people. When it was over, there was a period of respite. People who were still alive walked back to their homes. On our way back, I looked around and saw people with missing arms and legs. I also saw a kid crying. I guess he was looking for his parents.

Living back then was like waiting to die. Most people starved to death, and some died of disease. My parents had little money for food. My dad was a cook. Every morning he went off to sell food. That's how we got our money. Every night my parents prayed and prayed. The one thing they wished for was to come to America.

A couple years later, my family and my relatives were exhilarated with good news. We would be able to come to America. Before we came, we stayed six months in Thailand. When we embarked on the long plane trip to America, I wanted to erase everything that was in my mind. But I can't. Every time I think about it, it brings back the past. It didn't matter anymore, because we were on our way to America. In the plane I sat by the window so I could see everything. I didn't know how long it would take to get there but I didn't care. A lady said something in English and I didn't understand. I looked out the window and saw lights everywhere. It was so bright, but of course it was night time. I thought to myself that this city (Philadelphia) was the land of paradise and the land of freedom. I was very happy when my family and relatives arrived in America. c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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JessicaMeow said...
Sept. 11, 2008 at 10:51 pm
I live in Phnom Penh... thank goodness that it's not like that anymore. There are no more bombings in the night. But that sounds scary.
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