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Where Are We Now

Luu Ky An
(12/25/04 4:56 pm)

1979 TO PRESENT

I left in 1979 and arrived in the United States (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) February 1980 just 2 days before Tet. It was snowing when my family and I watched through the window on New Year’s Eve.

I went to a vocational school to study computer programming for 10 months. I couldn’t get a job after I completed the course, so I decided to go back to school and got my BS degree in Computer Science and Math, I then landed my first job when I graduated April 1984, I worked as a computer programmer.

After 7 years living the very cold winter season I moved to southern California in 1987, continued to work as a programmer from company to company, I studied part time at a local college while working day time and received my MS degree in Computer Science in 1991. I now have 20 years in computer programming. It’s still quite some years to go before I can retire, I would stay in southern California as long as I can.

Added 12/31/04

Curious mind wants to know...

Yes I stay single and maybe for life. Both my parents have passed away, my brothers and sisters all live around southern California with their families, I visit them quite often. How do I spend my spare time? I paint. See my art work.

Nhung Thuy Hoang
(12/25/04 5:44 pm)

1980 TO PRESENT

I left Danang, Vietnam in July 1980 in a small boat with 41 people and a dog. Earlier, I taught English as a second language in an isolated mountain village in a school where my students had to work half a day and study the other half. Most of them came from coastal towns or villages.

We successfully got to Hong Kong in July 1980 after 5 days in a small boat where we encountered two typhoons. During the second typhoon I thought we would die on the high seas. When we arrived in Hong Kong, we were escorted by the Hong Kong Royal Marine Police to a big dock where we stayed for a week in quarantine, seeing Hong Kong glittering on the shore. Afterward, we were landed and were in a prison for a week while Hong Kong Immigration officers and UNHCR did some paper work. Then we were released to an open camp where we could work outside of the camp waiting for resettlement. I worked as an interpreter for the Red Cross clinic in the camp.

I stayed in Hong Kong for 6 months and came to Ottawa with my brother in January 1981, sponsored by the government of Canada. I saw snow for the first time and experienced how cold it was in Canada despite the sun which shone so brightly. Life was not easy. I could not find work as an English as a second language teacher and had to work as an electronics assembler for a year after a short four months training at Algonquin College. Luckily, when I was in Hong Kong, I worked with a Canadian doctor who then asked Pamela Sheehan, a nurse who worked with him in a refugee camp in Thailand to come to see me after I arrived in Ottawa. Pam and her husband Harold helped me to find a place to live, introduced me to their friends and family and did what they could to help me settle in Canada. Pam also offered me friendship which I really needed at the time, being alone, lonely and totally new in the country. We have been friends since then and I feel very grateful for that…

There were no Vietnamese restaurants in Ottawa and only one Vietnamese store. The Vietnamese community was very small, and I did not know many people. The letters from home did not help either. My mother wrote that she was worried that she might die without seeing us. I used to live in guilt and could not eat well. I thought that, if my people were hungry in Vietnam, I had no right to enjoy good food in Canada. So I ate just to live.

Now almost twenty-five years have gone by. My parents were reunited with us in 1989 in Canada after Vietnam opened their doors to the West and changed their state-controlled economy to a more free-market economy.

In Canada, to use the title of an exhibition at Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa few years ago, we are “Vietnamese Boat People: No Longer”. Many of us became engineers, computer programmers, medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, professors, teachers, and business people. I, myself, became a lawyer in March 1990 and opened my law practice in the same year. In July 1991, I went on a fact-finding trip in Southeast Asia refugee camps including Hong Kong for a month. This time I was there as a lawyer and not as a refugee.

In 1993, I married a Jewish-Canadian who can now speak Vietnamese quite fluently. (He learned Vietnamese when we started dating in September 1991). Our 10-year-old son celebrates Tet (the Vietnamese New Year), Passover and Christmas. My in-laws always ask for Vietnamese spring rolls for their Hanukkah party.

I went back to Vietnam in January 1997 for six weeks with my husband, my son, who was two years old at the time, and my mother. I went to my hometown and to the mountain where I used to teach. My students and my colleagues greeted me warmly. Many of them asked for a day off to see me. I saw my childhood friends in Danang, my high school teachers and my relatives. I was happy to see them. Their life was a little bit better but still not very satisfactory. According to the Canadian standard of living, many of them still live below the poverty line. I found out that Danang was too crowded for me because Vietnam’s population has doubled since I left. Vietnam has changed. I have changed too. When I came back from the trip, I knew my home is Canada, which I had not realized as clearly before.

Edited by LKA 01/09/05

Tuyet Nga
(01/02/05 2:12 pm)

Kim Phung
(01/28/05 10:03 pm)

Hello and thanks to LT

Hong men,

H. cam phien mail dum den cac ban. P lam bieng danh cac mail addresses cua ban dai qua. Bua nao P nho anh P chi dum cho mau. Cam on H nhieu.

Cac ban men,

P muon im hoi lang tieng ma cac ban lam P phai len tieng. P rat mung la may ban van khoe va van tre trung nhu ngay nao. P nho mai nhung nu cuoi va "mau teu" cua 2 lop Su Pham. Bay gio P cung con nghe "may, tao" chung to cac ban rat than thien. That su co 1 so ten email P khong nho la ai lam. Va P cung khong nho la P noi voi N la P se di tu nua. Cac ban thay tri nho P "te" ghe chua.

TN hoi P co du an gi trong dau! P vua moi dat duoc y nguyen cua P thang 9 nay. P ve VN xuat gia o tinh Long Thanh. Bay gio P la "ni co" roi day. P khong duoc xung "may tao" nhu cac ban vi phai giu oai nghi cua nguoi tu.

Truoc khi ve VN nguoi dau tien P muon di tham la Kim Nga. P lien lac mail voi T ma mail cu bi tra lai va o duoi co 1 dong "message" bang tieng Duc P khong hieu gi ca. Roi P mail cho LT cung khong thay tra loi nen P give up. O VN 3 thang ma khong gap lai ban be rat am uc. Ve lai My vai tuan thi nhan duoc mail cua T. P co mail cho LT ma khong thay tra loi. P nghi chac LT khong them choi voi P nua vi minh la ni co roi. Co phai khong LT? P van thac mac tai sao T biet email nay cua P vi luc truoc lien lac voi T bang email o so lam. Bay gio P khong con di lam va dung email nay. Cac ban cho T 1 trang phao tay nhe.

Cac ban biet khong P cung van con "nhut nhat,rut re" nhu luc nao. Hom nay rang lam P moi "express myself" vi tam long cua cac ban doi voi P. Chuc cac ban 1 nam moi day an vui va luc nao cung tuoi tre nhe.

men

Pham Ngoc Thanh
(04/19/05 10:40 pm)

Dear Hong and cac ban

Still don't know how to express what kind of my feeling was...as finding out you to be HONG! Gosh,... so happy, so excited... to hear from you the list of our beloved friends - Tho, Thuy, Ly Thanh+Ngoc Lan, Nga+Nga, Hao, Phung, Phuc+Cuc, Thuy Nhung, Phuong Tring, Ky An and more. I missed you all dears like I never ever missed and can't wait seeing you in our Class Reunion 7/31/05. "To know you is to love you" and I do.

Thanks so much, HONG. You found me at last. Your mission is well accomplished.Thanks a lot, Ky An. You have made this warm land for our reunion. Write to me when you have a chance. Take care, cac ban.

Best Regards.

New Jersey, U.S.A.


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