Like a Film Roll

Pigeon Lane. Pigeon Lane was where I felt most at home, yet I’ve moved about eight times. Most kids don’t move that many times, some have been staying at the same house since birth, yet I’ve never felt more stable with the memories I’ve experienced. All my childhood highlights feel as if they’re neatly rowed and stacked into a shimmery film roll.

Being Four

There was a life before my sister was born. Exclusively for me, it seemed. This is in no way to say that I don’t enjoy her company now, but it’s hard to believe that I was ever an only child. The years before took place in gloomy and dreary San Jose. However, it only seemed gloomy when I was outside, and once I stepped in our house my memories of that place are filled with something else. Warm yellow bulb lights, fur carpets to cover the ice floors, abstract paintings, Barbie movies, and my parents. One of my many memories of the house is sitting in front of the TV watching movies with my mom. Me at four years old climbing out of my bed on a Saturday morning, to the scene of my mom sitting on the couch watching Alvin & the Chipmunks. My mom was a huge movies person. She’d let me watch Barbie, Disney, and even the Twilight Sagas. I think that’s something that really stuck with me during my childhood years. The “freedom” I had before my sister was born is something so surreal and colorful.


This story is mostly scenes and events from my life that don’t occur during the same time, however, they do provide enough to make up a story. The theme of “How Quickly Someone Moves On”, I have witnessed throughout my whole life, from various people, and even relationships. “Moving on” could be different for many people, whether that’s in relationships, a loss, or your own self. An occasion that I clearly remember, was when my grandpa passed away in 2019. I found that the way my mom dealt with the loss differed from her other family members. My mom’s way of grieving felt like it was her way of saying, “it was the end of the world.” On the other hand, her brother, who is my uncle, moved on very quickly and I never saw him cry, given the fact that he was closer to my grandpa than my mom was. Another event that I remember experiencing a loss, was when I had to return my rabbit after having it for only 3 days. It’s not literally a loss since the rabbit never died, but I do remember feeling more disappointed than anyone else in the family at the time. Now I wouldn’t say that comparing the loss of my alive bunny makes sense with the context of my mom’s loss. However, I believe that it proves how quickly people can move on from things, and the way people react differently to it.

My Collection of Red Envelopes

Vietnamese parties. It would be around 5 pm and my parents would tell me and my sister to climb into the car to go. I carried with me my iPad and snacks because I knew I would basically spend the whole night there. Parents loudly drunk, Vietnamese desserts, and scary teenagers in a corner clinging to their phones. I tried to occupy my time there running around with other kids my age, and when I got bored, I’d secretly go into the rooms of the house. Although I most likely just ended the night huddled with my iPad on some white couch, it’s something I miss that was a part of my childhood. Those days meant that I was still young, carefree, and didn’t have a choice to stay at home. 

Moving Trucks

It would only take a year, or even 9 months for my parents to start picking up their phones and calling moving trucks again. The rush of excitement runs through me as I push them with questions, “Where are we going? Is the house pretty? Can I bring…” Being at the age of 4 or 5 years old, I never realized the reality of why they’re moving. But it was a series of moving boxes after the other, until we finally settled in Southern California. For some kids, continuously moving might seem as tiring and unstable, but I never felt that way as a child. I loved the feeling of anticipation before moving and what our next space will be like. With this, I developed a sense of adaptability that I still carry into my teen years. I remember moving caused me to accept that circumstances won’t always be what I expect. I spent Thanksgiving waking up to a whole new house and moving boxes all around me, barely any space to walk, and yet it was one of the best Thanksgiving I had. 

Keeping My Gaze Forward

I often felt like I was out of place during lunch time in elementary school. This wasn’t because I didn’t have any friends or anything, and it’s not like anyone bullied me, but it was the type of stares people gave me. I carried with me homemade food that my mom either prepared the night before or in the early morning. Eating foods with soy sauce, fish sauce, or Vietnamese dishes caused my classmates to stare at me in an uncomfortable way. My entire elementary experience was sprinkled with numerous occasions of these happening. It’s always borderline rational though, and I technically couldn’t call anyone out or “tell” the teacher, because the truth was, no one was doing anything, right? Girls and boys were just laughing and whispering after looking at my lunch, they were just scooting away, just gently smiling, nothing was happening to me, right?

“Hey what’s that smell?”


“I’ve never seen it before, does your mom make this?”

“So do you eat this at home?”

“No, it’s okay I don’t want to try.”

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