Chanh V

My So Called Life

Since the day I stepped off the Boeing 747 into the city of Seattle, I have been a new person. This new person has faith in life, dreams, achievement and ambition as well.

Prior to coming to the U. S. , I was in Vietnam, the country where I was born. It is also a place where freedom is limited. Its squeezing Communist policy has been plaguing the Vietnam War victims, like my father, into a frightful daily existence.

Since my father fought for the American side during the Vietnam War, he was sent to the re-education camp ( prison ) for more than six years. After he was released, my father was one of the typical examples who experienced the bitternesses and difficulties of life in Vietnam. I can never forget the time in which my family had to have a strong will in order to survive the struggle of life. Although that time has passed, I could not help thinking of it without getting emotional. It seems to me that everything happened yesterday...

My father was captured sometime in May of 1975 ( one month after Vietnam's liberation from the U.S. ). He had received a letter from the government which was asking him to go to the court for a few days. However, later on we found out that the letter was a lie. Instead of court, my father went to the re-education camp. From that day on, our lives were no longer the same. All the hardships landed on my mother's two little shoulders. During that period of time, my family suffered the hunger, the cold, and the diseases that spread throughout the country.

My father was in the re-education camp for the best years of his life and we always feared that the government would do injurious things to my father. When he came back and reunited with us, we could tell from his physical appearance that he remained with only a half-life left. From that day on, however our lives improved; but the harsh conditions of living still linger behind us. Although we applied to immigrate to the U.S., we still did not see any true promising future. The rationed salaries from my parents were not enough to support us while still living in Vietnam. This harsh condition had made me feel hopeless and insecure in life. I became a pessimistic person, viewing the world as a cruel place to live in. I also became insecure about my abilities.

At last, we were accepted to come to America through the H.O. program which stands for the Humanitarian Operation. This program served those who worked for the American military during the Vietnam War for a period of at least six years. Lucky enough, my father qualified members. So we could then have an opportunity to come here.

The day arrived and we boarded the airplane that floated into the air. I could not believe that the airplane also included my family in it. My heart was full of joy as I thought ahead of the new bright future that awaited me. I have long cherished the wish of going to college. But I did not have that chance in Vietnam for my father had been into the re-education camp. Now coming to America has meant that my wish can be fulfilled. This turning point in my life left me with the feeling of a resilience after suffering an incurable disease, and now I felt more secure to be living here because I knew I would be able to achieve any goal if I set my heart to it.