Life Written Through My Eyes

Loved Color But Didn’t

  • Hello kitty slip-on vans
  • Rainbow slip-on vans
  • Black and white checkered with cherries slip-on vans
  • Pink glittered light up sketchers
  • Purple glittered light up sketchers
  • Pink boots
  • Old school pink and gray nikes
  • Purple nikes
  • Pink high top vans
  • Teal, purple, and pink uggs

I loved all of these shoes as a kid.  They probably didn’t match any of my outfits in elementary school.  I never realized how colorful my shoes were until now.  As I started middle school then high school I stopped wanting to wear bright shoes and stuck with black and white.  Similar to how life transitioned.


A Long Friendship

An old picture of me selling girl scout cookies

There was a Girl Scout Troop at my elementary school.  Almost every year a new troop is formed.  My mom saw that there were sign-ups for the Girl Scout Troop for my Kindergarten year on the flyers I take home every week, so she signed me up.  I was shy compared to the other kids at school.  I think my mom knew this so she wanted me to be more social with my classmates.  I didn’t have many friends and usually played with my cousin during recess.  I slowly got used to the girls in my troop.  Through Girl Scouts I was given so many opportunities I learned about life skills, got to go on trips with my friends, and made a lot of friends throughout elementary school, Ava and Jayden are two of them.  It was always the three of us that went everywhere together.  We even hung out with each other outside of Girl Scouts.  Our brothers got to know each other and our moms.  We’d have so many get-togethers where our moms would make food and we’d play board games play outside or play on our iPads.  For a few summers, we’d go to Palm Springs for a week or so.  It was so hot but we’d be swimming in the pool all day eating and having a good time.  But eventually, this all stopped.  We slowly drifted as we started to have different interests, but when we do see each other it’s like nothing has changed.  I don’t think my mom or even myself would’ve thought I’d make lifelong friends by joining Girl Scouts.  From joining Girl Scouts I made long friendships that seemed so short.

Home is What You Make It

The biggest change in her life was moving from Vietnam to America.  From Ba Trina’s point of view moving from Vietnam to America at a young age greatly changed her life.  In Vietnam, she lived with her five sisters four brothers one sister in law mom, and dad.  Once the war started they instantly had to leave.  They borrowed a family member’s boat.  Everyone got on the boat except dad, he went to help a friend leaving his family behind.  The small boat was at sea for about a week or so. We were all seasick and threw up constantly.  I’d cry all day and night thinking it was the end.  Mom said that we were going to go to Australia but instead, we saw a much larger ship, it was there to save us. To get on the boat we had to hold onto the rope ladder on the side.  We all grabbed onto the tough rope ladder and Mom told us no matter what, do not let go.  Thankfully we all made it safely onto the boat and rested.  The boat took us to Guam where we could rest and there were tents and food for us.  The only thing I wanted to do was go home.  But she knew there was nowhere to go.  We stayed here for about a month but another boat took us to Camp Pendleton in Pittsburgh, California.  A family from the Catholic Church in Pittsburg sponsored us.  Dung met someone, Khanh, in Camp Pendleton and got married.  Dung and Van, the oldest siblings, found jobs as seamstresses in Orange County.  They found that Orange County had a lot more opportunities and Vietnamese communities.  I didn’t want to live here anymore but I just wanted to go home and be with dad.  I missed him more now that he was gone for so long.  But adjusting to this new place took a while to get used to.   My younger brothers, sisters, and I all had to go to school.  We didn’t speak or understand English so I’d spend hours trying to learn English.  It was hard for me to socialize with the other kids at school because I didn’t understand them and couldn’t talk to them.  Starting a new life in Orange County was difficult.  We had to make this new place home. 

Don’t Do It Again 

There’s so much that I learned after one trip.  For the longest time, he’d been here yet so far.  I’d never really got to see him or know him as much as I wanted to.  Since he’d been around for so long I never really thought about him being gone.  But I’d never get to have another conversation with him or eat at the same dinner table as him or even be in the same room with him.  Almost everyone knew him the way I didn’t.  All the stories everyone told about him showed that he was a loving person and truly cared about his family.  He loved every single one of us and made everyone feel like family.  And I wanted to be as close with him as everyone else was but it was out of my control and I should’ve been more appreciative of the small moments I did have with him and should’ve thought about him more.  But because of a small conflict that was way out of my control, I was kept distant from him.  Seeing him for the last time, lifeless, hurt more than anything.  Not being able to have any good memories with him or having a special memory with him made me want to be even closer with him.  The only thing I could remember him by was his stories and the one picture we have together.  The picture is so old that I don’t even remember it but all I could do now was just accept what happened and not do the same thing again.  

Loved By Everyone

After this, I learned something too.  She held everyone together and everyone was so close.  We’d spend time together almost every weekend or at least once a month.  She always celebrated everyone’s birthdays at her house.  It felt like a routine when it was someone’s birthday at her house.  Eat, swim, play, and cake.  All of the adults inside talking, the parents watching all the kids in the pool,  the kids swimming for hours all day, and she’d make sure everyone was happy and fed.  On Christmas, she planned a white elephant for everyone and bought everyone’s onesies.  It was hot and gross wearing the onesie but it was fun.  Everyone had a different onesie and enjoyed themself.  When someone in the family needed surgery she was always there.  She made sure everyone got the help they needed.  She was even there for me and gave me a white polar bear stuffed animal I could never get rid of.  When I was told that she’d gotten sick again and she couldn’t get treated I didn’t think that so much would change.  Seeing family from at least once a month changed to almost every other month or less.  She’d always plan everything to do and when she didn’t no one did anything.  It was only on holidays or when the family from other states we’d see each other more.  But everyone felt distant after she was gone.  Everyone grew away from each other slowly.  I’d hope that we could make more memories with everyone even if she’s gone. 

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