Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chapter 8...Autobiographies of Hanoi

Chapter 8…Autobiographies of Hanoi

In America, after WW II was over, there was an explosion of births between 1945-1950; “The Baby Boomers,” of which me and my siblings are part of. In Vietnam, after that war ended in 1975, there was a similar birth boom for the next 10 years. 70% of the population of Vietnam are under 35. Whereas our baby boomers were born into a prospering economy, Vietnamese boomers were born into a country that was racked with devastation, hunger and want.

Most of my students, were born between 1975-85 and the first assignment I give them is to write a brief autobiography. It serves two purposes; to assess their level of writing and to help me get to know them as individuals. Almost all of them tell about how hard their parents struggled after the war, the war they call “The American War.”

Here, in their own words are their stories. I present them here, just as they wrote them. You will see various degrees of fluency…but more, you will see Vietnam in those early post-war years.

The first presented here was written by Huong, the girl who wrote the letter of encouragement mentioned in chapter 2. She was the first student I had who “graduated,” to our higher classes and was given the name Ruth by Morris after her choice.

Huong's Autobiography:

Sunday July 11, 2004

I’m sorry for not sending my auto. on time . this is it .
IT seems not much of an autobiography . It is merely what I want to say to you.
Well, I don’t know where I should start .
I was born on January, 30th , 1984 into a middle class family. Both of my parents are teachers in high schools. My hometown is a small city which is 90 kilometers away from Hanoi. It takes you 4 hours to travel around the city, I suppose. We left for Hanoi 16 years ago. Sometimes, we go back to see our relatives in Thai Nguyen ( my home town ) by bus, by train, or by motorbike. Normally, Hanoi - Thai Ngueyn is a 2 hour trip. You can't drive with breakneck speed because the police will stop you and ask for your driver's license.
I’m a young person . But I look older than my age. Although 20 years is not a long time , I've experienced the fruits of life. they are sometimes sweet, but sometimes bitter and sour.
My mother is a Hanoi Ian. She graduated form Hanoi National Univ. She was sent to a high school in Thai Nguyen to teach. MY father worked there before. They met each other and fell in love. They got married in 1982. That time ( from 1982 to 1995)was a difficult time for a young couple. There were many burdens because Vietnam was in the period of changes. Life is so hard. Earning meals and necessary demands became strains. For each child , we were rationed a bottle of milk and a kilo of sugar. I was too small to know how hard my parents worked. Grandma told me..... They had to do extra work. They brought garments and the cigarettes home , wrapped up until midnight- everyday. My mother also worked at a hairdresser's and sewed clothes . My father took photos. they had to worry about their new born child - my bother in 1987.
When they decided to move to Hanoi, looking for a better life , my mom and my brother went first. I continued living in a living quarter with my father. He went to school and cooked the meals. I started to learn how to wash dishes 'n clean the house when I was 5 .Time passed.... They were such happy days when my mom and my brother came to see us. in the beginning of 1990s my papa and I came to Hanoi to live with mom and my brother. 4 people lived in a 30 sq. meter house. And we faced with another difficult period. My parents continued with extra work they had done in Thai Nguyen: sewing clothes, taking photos and working at hairdresser's... When all the work could not satisfy the demands for life, we tried in other ways.... We bought second hand clothes from many foreign countries and sold them to people. in the afternoon I brought 2 reed mats to the sidewalks , put the clothes on them and classified them into types and prices...
There were many people who sold clothes like us on the street. The police didn’t want us to do so . They arranged troops of cars to collect clothes. When somebody saw the police , they would shout to everybody and we moved quickly with clothes and mats. I did it with my parents. After selling second hand clothes , we began a new job - selling sweetened porridge. My parents cooked and I helped them to sell on a small place on the sidewalks. Life is really hard.
But these petty things couldn’t defeat us. We kept our ambition...... and worked hard. .I learned to cook , to wash clothes for the whole family and do housework when I was 8 maybe younger. That's why we treasure our life. Like Hung ( a refugee` who is now an American citizen) said, Vietnamese people have a strong survival instinct . We work hard , we value food and drink, accommodations... and we find it easy to sympathize with poor people because we know how hard they have it.
NOW life is more and more comfortable and we are not poor( not rich), but we have had such a hard time to live.
Everybody has their own worries and I don’t want to bother them. I just want to share with you my childhood 'n my life… life is in our hands. The crucial thing is you yourself. Forgiveness , tolerance and ability to forget small unimportant things are your strength.
Your Student

Huong, who was a sophomore at Hanoi Univ. of Technology (HUT), majored in English. Her level of English, when she wrote this was between upper-intermediate and advanced. I divide my students into 5 skill levels: (1) beginner, (2) lower intermediate, (3) intermediate, (4) upper-intermediate, and (5) advanced. The next autobiography is by Mai, who was lower intermediate. You can understand what she means but much of her syntax and grammar are faulty. I am leaving it here just as she wrote it.

Mai’s Autobiography…

My name is Nguyen Thanh Mai. I was born on October, 30th 1979 in a poor officer family in Hanoi. My parent told that when I were born, my family is so poor that there were no rice, no milk, no food unless sweet potato in my home. But at that time, no one can helped my family because they were also poor, some of them were even poorer than my family. My parent have 2 children, my litter brother and I. My father is intelligent and strict while my mother is so gentle. They both love their children. When I was I litter girl my parent used to say to my brother and I that: �We are so poor that we can bring you neither delicious food nor nice clothes but we try our best to earn money for you to go to school. My children, please remember that there are no way to become rich unless learning�. Now, my family is not poor but my father often say that �my daughter, do not satisfy with what you have, keep working and learning if you don not want to let behind the development of society�.
I love my father, my mother and my litter brother very much. They are always present in time of my need. They are my first love. I love them so much that I can sacrifice everything I have for them.
My second love is a dog which I feed. I named him A Bear because he is black, very big and looks like a bear. Some of my friends saw him and thought that he was a real bear. However, he is very clever, friendly, harmless and as meek as a lamb. He loves me very much. I love him, too. I used to embrace him and said to him �my Bear, I wish you were a man�. My mother laughed at me and said how silly I were.
The third time I felt in love with a really man. He looks tall and handsome. I like him at the first time I saw him. I made friend with him and I found that we had same hobby and viewpoint. He is really intelligent, kind, humorous and manly. And above all, He loves dogs very much. I have felt in love with him just after several time talking with him. Happily, he loves me, too. One year after being lover, we got married. Now, I have my new family. We have not got any child yet and we are looking forward to have one soon. My husband and I try to work to make our life better. We love each other and love everything we have. We feel lucky and happy to be husband and wife. We also feel lucky to live in Vietnam, a friendly and peaceful country with many good traditions such as: patriotic, venerating teacher and crazy on learning.
In addition, Vietnamese people love peace and freedom and ready sacrifice their own lives to fight for it. I proud of being Vietnamese citizen.

It is not unusual for students to study 2 foreign languages at the same time. Here, Thu Huong explains why she must learn German and English. She attended the top high school in Hanoi, Amsterdam HS which requires an entrance exam and all the instruction is in English. Most of the students who graduate from Amsterdam are the cream of the Hanoi crop. Thu Huong tells a common tale; parents too busy to spend much time with their children so grandparents do most of the childcare and raising.

Autobiography of Thu Huong

My name is Bui Thu Huong. I was born in Hanoi in 1979. I live in Tran Quang Dieu street. I am the youngest member of the family. There were 5 people in my family: my grandmother, my mum and dad, and my brother, who is 2 years older than me.
When I was small, my parents were scientists at the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology. We lived in a flat in the collective quarter of the Academy in Hoang Quoc Viet Street. At that time, my brother and I were not healthy. We could easily fall ill, and had to take medicine all the time. So my parents didn’t let us go to the kintergarden like other kids in the collective quarter. Instead, my grandmother took care of us. And because my parents were always busy at their office, they didn’t have much time to stay home with us. My brother and I spent most of our time with my grandmother.
In 1985, when I was 6 years old, my parents bought a new house, and we moved out of the collective quarter. Then I went to the local primary school at the new place, not far from my house, just a 2 minute-walk . It was called the Thong Nhat Primary and Secondary School, a small school in Doi Can Street. I was so timid at that time because I had never gone to kindergarten. I was afraid of going to school, meeting many people or standing in front of the whole class. Gradually I got used to it and began to love my school. Finally I became the monitor (president) of the class. Again, my parents were too busy. Thus, my brother had to help me with my homework. I spent 9 years at the Thong Nhat Primary and Secondary School, until 1994, when I graduated. Also in this year, my mother died of cancer. That was really the worst thing ever happen in my life. There were only 4 persons left in my family.
My senior secondary school was Hanoi – Amsterdam High School which is located in Nam Cao street. It’s a specialized School in Hanoi. In 3 years from 1994 to 1997 I studied in the English specialized class. There was an international school next to my high school, so we often met and played with foreign students, which was very interesting and was good chances for us to practice English. I graduated from Hanoi – Amsterdam High School in 1997. During these three years, many great changes happened to my family. My brother went to study in Texas, USA in 1997. Later that year, my father remarried and moved out of the house. From this time on, I lived with my grandmother.
In 1998, I began my university study. I spent 5 years at Hanoi University of Foreign Trade, studying economics, foreign trade, and business English. Studying at the University was really hard. It was much more difficult than studying at the primary and secondary school. I had to change the way of learning, did more reading, more homework, and more research. My most difficult subject at university actually was gymnastics. However, I was finally able to graduate from the university in 2002.
From August 2002, I worked for the sales department of a joint stock company. Its name was The Investment and Construction Commerce Joint Stock Company. The company engaged in various fields including construction, real estate, and foreign trade. My department dealt with importing and selling chemical substances, laboratory materials and machines. The job was really complicated as it related greatly to chemistry and physics. In addition, you had to be patient and very careful because the goods ordered were precise to every milligram or millilitre, and even some chemical substances were very dangerous. Moreover, I also had to travel a lot due to the customs formalities and the delivery of goods. I was so busy at work that I didn’t have enough time to take care of my grandmother, who was really over 80.
In 2004, I decided to spend more time with my grandmother and to prepare for my postgraduate study. I quit my job and began studying German. It was for my master study in Germany, which requires certain level both in German and in English. Since I finished my German course early this year , I’ve been preparing to take the Toelf course.

In the last semester that I taught in Hanoi, before coming home to take care of my mother in Mar. 2007, I had an exceptional “C-level,” class which are students at upper-intermediate and advanced levels. In this class, the caliber of autobiographies was pretty high. Here is Huyen Tam’s autobiography.

Huyen Tam’s Autobiography…C-2007

Before starting doing this assignment - write my autobiography , I felt
slack in writing and thought that I couldn't do anything well without
inspiration ... Furthermore, I found out lots of reasons for delay the
assignment. But, by contrast, I find this very interesting, fascinating.
Although, I don't write either much or nicely, I feel very warm as
I sit back and have a better time in order to think of my family.

My family has 4 people, including my parents, my elder sister and me -
a typical example of a modern nuclear family. My father was brought up
in Nghe An central province. After he had graduated at a university, he
was sent Hon Gai town ( Ha Long city nowadays ) to work. Because at that
time, Vietnam and America were still at war. Vietnam's economy was
centrally planned. In that period, everybody was dispensed from a needle
to cloth or food, etc. That's why like other people , my father didn't have
the right to decide where to work or whom to work form. During his period
of working and living in Ha Long city, he casually met my mother.
There is an old saying that: " you can't tell a book by its cover".
As my father's telling, she didn't look beautiful by appearance . However,
she possesses good qualities and has a great inner
beauty. (^..^) But my father's from time to time kinda complainted about her
jealousness. They were in love with each other and married on January
1st in 1981. At the end of the year, my sister was born without my father's
care until 1985. Because he was away from home in order to take another
long-term course in Ha Noi at the time. Luckier than my sister, as my
father had finished his study and got back to Ha Long, I was
brought into the world in 1987, a year later " Doi moi " reform in
Vietnam. We don't have a lot in common, rather we are very different
to each other from appearance to interests, personalities. For instance,
I'm fond of swimming, dancing, jogging. She likes none of sport...pretty
lazy to excersice. She spends much time on reading Fashion magazine,
shopping, etc. On the contrary, I care far less for that than
learning new things. Black and white which are 2 contrary colors, still
are a good match. So, when we both are adults, we not only
understand deeper but also care a lot more for each other. Now she's 26
years old. She lives at home with my parents. She has a job with a stable
pay. As far as I know , she was in love with 3 men. There were
many reasons to break up. I consider that she did the right things
because I don’t want to have a brother-in-law like one of them. She's
currently single and getting old...that's why my parents are worried
about her. (^..^)

As I said above, I was born as my father was at home. I was the
smallest in my family so that I was a little more humoured than my sister
(^..^) and became quite stubborn. I was closer to my father when I
was a little girl until I started my live away from home . Therefore,
my father's characters, habits partly had an effect on me.
Unlike most of other kids, I began school a year sooner than them. When
I was in the fifth grade, I looked like a boy with very short hair.
By appearance, I seemed to be pretty reticent and quiet. But, on
my brain, I actually had a question which was how could my mother love
my father only and conversely ? Because I liked 3 cute boys in my class.
Yesterday, I like this one who was considered as the most handsome in
my class. The following days I didn't like him anymore and started much
more talking to another one who sat next to. In conclusion, my
' love affair ' lasted longest in less than a week. Also, all results of
my study were just so-so in primary school as the fact was that my parents
didn't care as much for my study as they should.
However, things were changed when I started junior high school. Fortunately,
I had a friend, ( Lien- my closefriend ), to compete with in study. After
the first year , we were in top 2 of class. My parents began
distinguishing my ability and paid much more attention to my study. Since
that time, I enjoyed studying maths and some subjects of natural
sciences. In the last year, I spent more time on studying and passed
the entrance exam of the only gifted high school in Ha Long.

Luckily, I'm rich in happy memories. However, it's hard to tell precisely
what the happiest one is . So, I'm going to tell you about a memory associated
with my closefriend , Loan. We were 2 first-year students in a room of 10
in hostel. We hadn't known each other previous to getting here, Ha Noi.
We became closer after a short time...before our final exam started few days ,
I'd had a fever. I still remember her care for my health. I would never forget
her worried face as she wanted to do something in order to help me get better...
but she lacked experience to look after the sick. she did spend a sleepless
night on watching my sleep ...I was really happy to be cared and be loved
by her.

Let me share with you though I do know that I'm digressing. I want to
touch on my views instead of my saddest memory. Many people
prefer taking or recieving something such as gifts...It sounds
uncommon to hear that I feel inversely. I feel happier to give. I like
bringing happiness to my parents, friends, teachers... or giving nice
surprises to them . In my opinions, once I help people and make them
happy without conditions, they would do good deeds for others .There is a
simple saying which I like very much :'let share to be shared '. The world
would be better if we didn't keep things to ourselves and were open with

The next autobiography was written by a gifted 16-year-old in the “C” class, Jade. After her junior year of high school, a year after Jade wrote this, she got a scholarship to come to America and finish her senior year at Kingsford High School in Tenn. She is currently in her freshman year at BYU in Provo, Utah.

My autobiography Jade
I’d like to start my autobiography with the self introduction : My name is Nguyen Ha My, people usually call me Jade, my English name. People describe me in many ways , each one has one side right , but I will give u here the avarage description of my appearance, a 1m62 girl with long black hair, just quite pretty face , and friendly. I hope u will find it the same when u see me and talk to me in person.

My childhood was cemented with many awesome memories along with my whole family including grandparents, uncles, my parents two more brothers , my brother and I. We used to live in a large house designed in a classical French architecture. While parents were busy with their work, all kids gathered to play hide and seek, rode bicycles on the streets. Every afternoon , we were obsessed with climbing up trees, picking fruits in sneak and eating them even still sticking upon the tree until we got full then came home and told lies to my parents that we had just played with flowers so the dust had clung on our faces and our hands. I still remember not only the taste of early morning air when we got up to do exercies but the pure feelings coming from breezes in the late evening when we rode our bicycles around on the pavement. On Tet holiday( a tradditional New Year occasion in Vietnam) the slightly cold weather with drizzle made me so excited and contented. We sat around to talk, to wait for the first Square cake to be cooked.I was always so excited that I couldn’t sleep , just thought of having a bath in the special weed with a nice smell.

At 12 years old, my big family got into trouble in finance, we couldn’t live on each other and stay there anylonger. All the family( the adults) decided to sell the old house with regret and each member had to find himself a new one. We left the house with all sadness and regret but as people say: “ come what it may” We finally moved to a new smaller one in the classical street in Hanoi. Having so upset because of having no friends while mom and dad were always away from home, I started to be absorbed in studying and found it so interesting. With the little knowledge I had acquired when teaching myself, I went to my secondary school and soon became confident and more interested in learning.

It was such a luck that my new house was near the lake so I used to walk alone or sometimes with my friends , which was the most enjoyable habbit making me relax and it is still being kept until now. Besides, I loved riding my bike around some streets near by which helps me feel less lonely and at least, I found this place quite interesting. Later then, I soon became an amateur “ explorer” an spent two hours a day finding new roads, letting myself lost and trying to come back the start until the cows come home. After one afternoon being expressed, I returned home and wrote all my description in a diary with the thought that It would be my will for my offsprings! One of my best friends for ever is my dad, he poured into me the love for this life and pepole around me with a warm heart. My father and I used to sit around to talk for hours, he told me about his bussiness trips , his deep knowledge and life experience expressed me much.
One event in my life that had changed me a lot and given me a great lesson was that:
Once in the winter afternoon, while walking around with my girlfriend in the Square 10/5 , we ran into a stranger , an old man with a skinny and moody appearance. He was sitting there with depressing eyes full of paint, looking through the air. “ so sad” I though and felt sorry for him, He looked so miserable, but he didn’t seem to be a beggar . No one told, I wanted to help him and came to talk to him. We kept talking and knew that he had been upset about his children, they competed and tried to take the lion’s share in his inheritance. After that, every afternoon , when finishing my school, I came there to talk to him. As a very small girl, I told him about evrything, even my little trouble in my daily routine, My quite , levelheaded and imperturbable friend always sat there , listened to me carefully with affectionate eyes. Time passed and the chances I got to visit him became so slight. I didn’t see him nearly for a month. One day, when nohing could delay from visiting him, I returned with an glinting thought that we would compensate for him. But It was too late, he had gone away without any clue, nowhere could we find our olf friend. We went to the stations, bus stops but all came into nothing. I stood there, felt like my heart falling down to my stomach and burst into tears. That was the moment I had to regret most for what I had done. Since then, I have had no chance to see my friend anylonger, the person who had ever said to us that “ I wish to have grandchildren like u. I would be so proud of !” .

At the age of 16, I attended foreign language specialing school, had new friends, new teachers which made me anxious. Finally, I got familiar with everything and became independent in my thoughts. One of my favourites is learning History, following historical events and analysing them attracted me a lot, I usually asked myself many questions such as “ If I were there at that time, what would I do” , “ How can I change the present now, It’s impossible” all of which helped me live in harmony with the present and love my life much more.
One day, I returned the square and the corner near the fountain, I realised that there were still a lot of things in my life I had to try harder to get and then when looking back, I would not regret . I told myself that I need to try my best to fulfill my dream not only for me, for my family but for one more person , my old friend, who is now somewhere in the world or maybe not will smile with me in satisfaction.

Mai Thuy was one of the most motivated students I had. She tried very hard in spite of not having a gift for language like other girls.

The autobiography of Mai Thuy…C-2007

I was born in peaceful and quiet village. At that time my family is very poor, I lived in my parents 's love and felt happy. I am a small girl of very few words and my parents called me Kitty that mean "small cat". I love this name.
Everything changed since my father got a sirious desease he became a hot_tempered person and was allways geting angry. At that time my mother had a baby boy. The baby is a pretty and lovely boy and intelligent and restless also. My mother wanted to spent time to look after my farther so my brother and I lived with my grandparents. In morning, I went to primary school in village and in the afternoon I went to a field to feed the water-buffalo.
On this field the kids and I used to fly kites in the wind summer afternoon . My childhood bound up with sweet memory.
When I went to secondary school my father recovered from illness, he had to go away to earn money. He wanted my family had a comfortable life. I went to Son Tay town to study and say goodbye with peaceful village. At school , I tried to learn well because I wanted my parents pride of me. My father rarely went home and I could meet him 4 or 5 times a year. My mother was always busy. Sometime I felt lonely but I knew all things they did because of their love they spent for my brother and I.
15 years old I failed the entrance examination to go to Hanoi National University.
I learnt in high school in town with wonderful class. I have sweet memory in here. I had my fist love when I was 18 years old. He is my classmate. He is very intelligent but very mischievous...I didn't know it is love or not. But I always missed him so much...I went to National Economic University with the memory of my fist love. It was a sad memory???
My grandfather passed away, I could'n meet him the last time before he died. His sudden death is emotional shock with me...I went to Hanoi after my grandfather's funeral. I need a friend besides me I wish I could cry on someone's shoulder...but nobody. Maybe someday I meet my true love.

This girl, Minh Trang, does a little apple polishing at the end of her autobiography…

Autobiography of Cat Minh Trang… “C-Class)

My name is Trang, and my family’s name is Cát. Many people say that :”I’ve never heard your surname before,it’s really strange” This made me proud and happy. According to my grandfather, he said that the origin of this surname is Mac.As a political reason,it was change into Cat. My full name is CAT MINH TRANG.
In autumn of October of 1984 , the weather was cool, my mother was cooking , suddenly, she feel in labour, she tried her best to call my father and imediately he came back home to take my mother to A maternity hospital.After time , she gave a birth in the evening. A litlle baby is me. I was the oldest of 2 children. My younger sister is 12 years younger than I. My mother was pregnant late from when I was born because my family is in difficult before ,so my parents didn’t want to have more kids. I still remember that day when I was reported by cousin that my mother was being pregnant . I was very surprised and happy and little afraid of that my parents wouldn’t love me as much as baby. And then I asked my mother that I would still be loved ? Many people joked me “They will not don’t care you and they want good things such as cakes, sweets belongs baby, not you” Sometimes I cried for things, but now it makes me smile and happy for those.
I’ve lived and smiled , enjoyed and come into life for 22 years. The life bring me many happiness and also many sadness . I am more determined to become meaning person when I see poor people or old beggars with hard faces . Easily smile at little things I meet, I see around in the morning . So my friends say that” you are romantic”. The romantic person may be easily disappointed with things not as she expects. May be…
In free time , I always listen to music especially when the lights go out , close my eyes to enjoy melodies. Sometimes , I read famous classical novels , or go around by bicycle alone .
I have black eyes , brown skin , wavy naturally hair .I’m a small girl , it’s disadvantage point to apply some jobs required height , especially banking. I’ve studied in academy of bank , at 4th year . It’s last year of student , pupil to come into adult next period. This university is not my choice when I went out high school . My first choice was medical university. My dream is that become a doctor . But , my will (may be is also ability) is not enough to turn my dream into reality , even may be unselfconfident . Although I won 1 sty prize in biology for pupil of all Ha no high schools , but I think it’s lucky not my ability because I didn’t spend much time studying for it . Sometimes when you understand your self too much is not good, you easily lose faith in you. It’s was very strange , I had never dreamed , thought that I would pass medical university , and it happened. I failed that exam and the third I took exam, the result is like the first time although with high marks ,because of too high standard mark of medical university. The second year , I registered 2 university, they were medical university and academy of bank . Ones is B group with 3 subjects: moths, chemistry, biology. Ones is A group with moths, physics , chemistry. Finally, I passed the second not dreamed ones with surprising mark . The third , although I was studding in second ones , I still tried to drill in subjects of B group. But , I still failed. Every time I remember these things , I feel pity for not trying my best to fulfill my dream. Or dream never comes true? It comes true when you aren’t non cease-afford. You muster up all your strength . Until now , I really don’t do meaning things that I am proud .I always think I’ll but my action is contradictory . My actions show me wreaked-will. When you lived with wreaked- will or without will , you are not to be.( base on “ to be or not to be”). In my heart has little fire but I can’t burn it up. Now , I am on the way to find myself and try to do my best to become active, dynamic citizen belong 1980s generation.

Dear teacher!!!
I have not ever heard name like you-Goss, but David is popular name that I ‘vet known in English books in Viet Nam . But the first lesson you taught , I don’t remember exactly your speaking but I understand that you always want us to keep our faith in our heart ,”smile on your face” “ never give up”. Although I see things too much ,when you talk those I realize I don’t really understand them before . You’re right , we and yourself is teacher of ours, you are like our parents and only push up us. I hope through your lesson I will be better and then best that I am able to become by my endeavors . The teacher not only gives our knowledge , but also teach us to become real person .
Wish you :good health , happy in life and teaching career and success in journalist, love teaching , keep smile on your face .It’s beautiful and nice. Your smile made us happy.!!!

Thu Hien, like so many of the young women in Hanoi, are not only focused on English but on finding love also…not just any love but “truth love”!

My AutoBiography…Thu Hien…C-2007

I was born in Ha Tay, at the end of spring when “Gao” flowers bloom blazing red.
My family has 5 people : my parents, my older sister, my older brother and me. My sister has married and had a daughter. She is 3 years old. They live near my house and at weekend they visit us. I am living with my parents and my brother’ s family. My brother has married, too. He has a 2 year-old son.
My sister is older than me 10 ages and my brother older than me 8 ages. That is the reason why I can’t confide to them, when I growth up, they have had their own family so they are very busy, they hardly have time for me. If we talk together, they only care about my study. About my parents, they are retired.They are really good parents, they sacrificed their life for us and I am really respectful what they do for us. But they are only parents, they can’t become friends with me. I can’t tell them about my thought or my problems. Sometimes I feel alone in my family. However, I have some friends who always listen to me and share me many problems. I love them very much.
When I was 3 years old, my family moved to Hanoi. At that moment , my house was small, it was 10 square metre but it was an interesting place. Neighbours were very kind and friendly. Especilly, there were many children in there and I spent a wonderful childhood with them. Every evening we gathered in the small yard in front of my house, we played many games. For example : hide and seek, police catch spies and so on. I remember that we liked to have take a bath in the rain very much, wore clothes to bath, both boys and girls, to play while bathing. Beside, we pretended to hold Miss World. I even was very sad and cried and cried because I was not became Miss World. What is a funny!
When it was occasion like mid-autumn or Tet, we holded parties, we sang and danced. What is an enjoyable! I will never forget that time.
When I was 11 years old, my family moved again to other place. It was a block. When I lived there, I was very boring. Every neighbour rarely opened their door. After school, I came back home and played alone. It was very sad at that time.
When I was 18 years old, I failed the exam entrance University. It was the sadest time for me. I had to stay at home for 1 year while my friends went to school. I was really sad because made my parent disappointed and worried about my future. I hardly want to meet my friends, I felt very shame. However, every things was ok when I passed the exam in next year. I became more happy and had some close friends. And I met a guy, he was leader of basketball, I like him but he didn’t pay attention to me, this made me sad for 1 week. What’s funny but it was the truth, After only 1 week, I hardly remember him. Perhap because it was not truth love.
Afterward, I met some guys and they loved me but I loved nobody. I don’t know why but I didn’t feel stirred. Then my friends have sweetheart, I was still lonely. Every Saturday night, they went with their partner and I stayed at home to watch T.V. It was very sad. I want to have boyfreind, too but it was difficult for me to love someone. Why is that? I don’t know. As a result I was lonely during 5 years in University.
But one day, love came to me. That day, I met him when I traveled with my sister’s company. He is my sister’s coworker. At beginning, I didn’t pay attention to him at all. But when came back, he sent me messages and we become friend. I feel very self-confident and comfortable when talk with him. Gradually I fall in love with him. Finally, he said that he love me. That is great , I waited this for a long time and I’m really happy. But my happy didn’t last long, he has to go abroad to work for 2 years. At that moment I am really disappointed. 2 years is too long to wait. There are many things will change for 2 years. But I decided that I will wait him. At first, I missed him so much. Althought we still chat together , it is very different. I have to go to parties alone. When I have a problem, he is not beside me. When I feel sad, he is not here. But I get used to his absence gradually. I took a part into alone club where everybody have not yet sweetheart or their sweetheart go to abroad like me. We often gather to play cards or go to cineme or go to karaoke at weeken. Thanks to them, I feel more happy.
Now I’m 24 years old, I’m preparing graduation, then I will find a job in a foreign company and wait him come back, marry and have 2 babies. This is a simple life but I wish,I will tried my best to my dream come truth. And I NEVER GIVE UP.

Hoa, in her autobiography claims she can remember being born. Perhaps what she means is she can remember previous TET (Lunar new year, usually called Chinese New Year in America).
I was born in Hanoi. I still remember the day when I was born: It was a speacial day that we call New Year Eve's Day. It was on February 11 th, 1983 which was on December 30, 1982 in lunar calendar. My mom went to Cay Da Nha Bo hospital few days ago, waiting for me, her new baby. My dad was at home, preparing for the Tet , and, ready for the baby. Everyone was hurry to finish their work and went home. Tet is an occasion for everyone coming back home and gathering their families' members. However, these days was not the days like ussual in my family. Mom was not at home cooking for the new year's Eve party. And dad didn't go to the market to buy firecrackers for the Tet. The only thing they did was just only preparing for the coming baby.
8 am, December 30, 1982 in Lunar calendar, Mom felt strange in her stomach. She kept rubbing her belly, talking with her baby in sweet words. Suddenly, she felt a pain in her stomach and couldn't stand it. Doctors came in and tried to help her to bear.
8.30 am, there was a phone call from the hospital saying that my mom was going to bear a baby. Dad came to the hospital as soon as possible to be with my mom. Everyone was ready for a new born baby. Mom had a very bad pain in her belly and she kept calling my dad's name. " anh An, anh đâu rồi?" ( Mr An, where are you?). Dad was beside my mom, holding her hands and said that he was here with her. Mom smiled. Doctors said fathers must go out in order to make the mother bear easily. Dad had to go out, still worried about my mom. Few minutes later, a loud crying baby's voice raised. Doctors came out and said with Dad that he had a new baby girl. He rushly came in and hugged mom and me – a new baby. Everyone said the baby was born in Tet and she'll be happy and funny like Tet always. It was a very happy time for mom and dad.


Heli gunner Tom said...

I spent 6 months in Germany while in the Army and 2 yeas on RVN- Vietnam, and tried hard to learn as much language as I could. Your Blog perked my interest because I entertained the thought of staying in Thailand to teach English back in 1970 instead of coming home to the USA... but I did come home to start my new life after terrible combat as I flew as a crew member in helicopters... hard to forget. I never "hated" anyone and as a crazy 19 year old- what did I I hope you will find time to email me and visit my own Christian based Journal.

Tom Schuckman

Ruoudantocxo said...

Love reading your blog about Hanoi. I am a Hanoian now living in Northen California, your beautiful stories touched me deeply. Your autobiographies of Hanoi made my heart jump up and down. Mis Hanoi than ever. Thank you. Thank you!