I won the lottery when I was a kid. Not in the scratch-off ticket instant money kind-of-win. But in an instant life-changing win all the same.
When I was four years old, my family immigrated to the United States in 1998. My aunt was a refugee in the Vietnam War and moved to America many years before us. She slowly built a life for herself in a small town in Ohio. Through a tedious process and many years of trying, she eventually was able to sponsor my family for immigration. My parents in their late 30’s / early 40’s at this time, uprooted their entire life for the American dream. They left loved ones and everything they knew behind. With little formal education and no knowledge of English – their journey to America was filled with uncertainty and obstacles. Looking back now, I realized just how incredibly brave my mom and dad were. Their leap of faith would set the course for my life.
The summer of 2016 was the first time my family traveled back to Vietnam. Since this was 18 years later, I didn’t really know what to expect. My recollection of memories was vague and distant at this point. However, the trip turned out to be a colorful whirlwind adventure leaving me with vivid new memories. From sightseeing ancient temples to visiting the idyllic countryside village where my father grew up – I felt like a tourist because I was captivated by it all. Some of my favorite pictures I took are down below. 🙂 I also got to see my family members that I have not seen since I was a little baby. It was a rush of emotion, to say the least. I felt overwhelmed with love – because no matter the span of time and distance, your family is still your family after all. Seeing where I came from left a profound impact on me. It made me appreciate my parent’s selfless sacrifices so much more. This trip will always remain near and dear to my heart. ~b