East & Northampton

Experience at  bus stop

August 2 was the first day when I took the bus to school in America on my own.

I biked to the bus stop located in downtown Easthampton, which is about 2 miles away from my host family.

When I got there, I saw a bus going by, but I didn’t know how to stop it so that I could get on it.

I was so nervous about missing the first class at the International Language Institue of Massachusetts.

Thinking for a while, I decided to call the school and tell them that I might come late because I missed the bus.

It was 8:15 a.m. I was also not confident enough to bike to school on the highway that was full of cars.

I asked some passers-by whether they knew when the next bus would come.

A person said that I was standing in the wrong place and that the bus stop was over there, next to the Big E supermarket.

On the way walking with my bike to the bus stop, I saw a couple and asked if they knew the bus schedule.

They said they did not know and suggested giving me a ride to school.

For being afraid of coming late to class, I nodded my head without any hestitation, and got into the woman’s car while my bike was put into her husband’s.

Thanks to the help of a nice couple, I came to ILI ten minutes before the class began.

Telling my experience to Janice, my host, and my class, every body said that I should not take any similar risk in the future because I am a woman and am in a foreign country.

Everything went smoothly on the second day. I have learned how to pay the fare, put the bike on the bike rack in front of the bus and knew what the pass meant.

Feeling like home

 

Before my arrival to the U.S, I was so afraid that I would indulge in serious homesickness because this is the very first time in my life I set foot out of Vietnam and has lived so far away from my beloved people.

How can I bear the feeling of missing them, my home and my favorite Vietnamese foods? This question lingered in my mind during my last days in Vietnam.

I was quite startled when some one asked me whether I had felt homesick since I was in this beautiful Western region of Massachusetts.

To be honest, I have not had any nostalgia at all. Why? Am I cold hearted or too busy to think of my dear relatives and friends at home?

Not at all. My people in Vietnam are always in my heart and my mind. And I don’t feel blue whenever thinking of them thanks to my being hosted by Janice.

Never had I imaged that when I was in America, I would live in the house, which had so many, thins in common with my home in Vietnam.

Like my home in Can Tho, Janice’s also features a golden fishpond and a gazebo in the lush yard.

The back yard is home to many kinds of familiar vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and my favorite flower – hydrangea (hoa cẩm tú cầu).

 One of my beloved hobbies at Janice’s house is to live on the couch in the gazebo and indulge in my favorite self-help books.

Who Am I?

 

Since I came to the U.S, the question “Who am I?” has lingered in my mind. Why do I ask myself this question over and over?

I feel so sad and hurt when people I met at school, on the bus, in the street tell me that I look more like Japanese or Chinese.

How can I look like Japanese Chinese people while the way I dress, the way I communicate and the way I look are completely different.

I wish some one would be able to recognize me as Vietnamese before I tell him or her that I am from the country sharing borders with China, Laos and Cambodia.

Although Chinese and Japanese women look more gorgeous than our Vietnamese ones, I do not want to be thought of as their fellows.

I just want to be seen as Vietnamese because I am proud of my home country and my origin though my nation’s developments pale in comparison with theirs.

I am aware that recently in Vietnam, a significant number of young people have imitated almost all kinds of life styles of South Koreans because they think doing otherwises, they will look unfashionable and outdated.

To me, that practice is a deep shame to our national pride and I never support that shameful lifestyle.

When I am in Easthampton, I feel very delighted when teaching people Vietnamese language and seeing my host and her friends enjoy Vietnamese foods I made.

I am also proud when I tell them about my country, my city of Can Tho and my life in Vietnam.

In my mind, one cannot be seen as a good person if he or she gets rid of their national origin.

2 thoughts on “East & Northampton

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