Vietnam to America

My Journey to American


Journalism’s Birthplace


  • Transfering from Vietnam to America


  • July 28, 2011: At 11:30 p.m (local time), I took the flight run by Japan Airlines at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City where I was born. For some reasons, eventually only one person saw me  off. That person used to be one of the most important persons in my life and always supports my pursuit of journalism and my dream of studying in America. I tried my best to hold my tears at the start of my BIG  journey when saying goodbye to my ex-husband who now becomes my BEST friend. From that moment, I knew well that I had to learn to stand on my feet and be emotionally stronger. That was the very first time, I set foot out of Vietnam. That was also one of the saddest days in my life with so many unexpected incidents.


July 29, 2011: At 7:30 a.m (local time), I stopped at the Narita Airport (Japan), where I met a Fulbrighter, who is also a journalist and on the way to America, too. I was very happy to meet my Vietnamese friend there. During three hours of wandering around the grand airport, I noticed a foreign middle-aged woman who dressed up colorfully and looked noble like a queen. I also tried to call home but I could not.

July 29, 2011: At 10:30 (local time), I headed to America on a Japan Airlines flight. I was so surprised and little upset when a steward suggested me to sit near the exit to help evacuation in case of emergency. She said my English is quite good. Obsessed with so many plane crashes happening in the world in 2009, 2010 and 2011, I could not fall asleep though I was very exhausted. I was quite surprised to see the “colorful woman” again. She stood in front of me and did not look well at all. She put her hands on her temples and out of sudden, she collapsed. At the time, almost every one on the flight was sleeping. Without thinking at all, I quickly unfastened the belt and jumped to raise her up but she was so heavy. I looked through the curtain at the kitchen to find stewards but no body there.  I woke up two men sitting next to me and asked them for help. On assisting with raising the woman up, I shouted “please help help her” and immediately several stewards showed up from the back of the plane.

After about one hour, a chief steward approached me and said thank you to me for timely saving the woman who suffered a stroke. After her, two stewards also came to say thank you and offered me a gift for helping them to save that woman. My sleeplessness was at least useful and at that time, I felt for the first time that I am a useful person.

July 29, 2011:  At 10:00 a.m (American time), I set foot on the Chicago International Airport which is so large and modern. I almost missed the flight to Connecticut because the airlines changed the boarding gate at the last minutes. During three hours of stopover, I also walked a lot just to find a telephone booth to call home.

July 29, 2011: At 4:30 p.m (American time), I arrived at the Bradley International Airport. On the way to the ground, a man said hello to me and asked if I was a Fulbrighter. He is a Fulbrighter from Columbia. He aslo would study at the Massachusetts International Language Institute. Picking up him and me was a very nice woman from ILI. We waited over an hour to pick up another student from Middle East. On the way to Easthampton about 45 minutes of drive from the airport, I fell asleep several times. I was exhausted after a long trip. On the way, Amy showed me bus stops to go to school but I did not pay good attention because of my tiredness.


July 29, 2011: At 7:30 p.m (American time), the car of Amy, who picked me up at the airport, stopped at a very nice house. A very nice woman, who dressed very simply, showed up from the house and said hello to me. She looked very happy to see me. We have exchanged emails over a month before I moved to America. I must say thank you to Amy for connecting me to Janice, my dear host. Though being exhausted, I talked a lot to Janice like old close friends for nearly two hours. For the rest of my life, I cannot forget the happy time I spent at Janice’s home. She has treated me as part of her family. I am so lucky to be her friend.


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