For the longest time I would commemorate my birthday by counting not my own chronological age butÂ the number ofÂ Â years we’ve been in America and, by the same token, the number of years we’ve been away from Vietnam. It’s one of many quirky symptomsÂ of being an immigrant; a by-product of the refugee mentality you might say.Â So this would mark the 34th year that we left Vietnam for a new life in the US.Â When the Viá»‡t Kiá»us (or overseas Vietnamese) talk aboutÂ NgÃ y 30 ThÃ¡ng 4 there’s a collective feeling of loss.Â For others around the world, April 30, 1975 was just the day Saigon fell. Perhaps one day I will blog about my impressions of this bittersweetÂ experience, when I’ve found the courage to do it justice.
Today, I’d rather reflect on the beauty I found in Vietnam on my recent trips back there.Â As with most things in life, it’s justÂ better toÂ find happiness in theÂ present than toÂ linger over sadness in nostalgia.Â Â Vietnam isÂ certainly no longer my home, but–as I suspect this to be true with many first-generation immigrants–something always feels amiss until I am there. And that’s the quirkiest symptom of all.