Vietnamese Interpreter, Food Demonstrator, Rock Climber

My Journey to America – Going Back to Vietnam

Planning a trip to Vietnam was exciting and scary at the same time. I did not know if I have enough money to travel back. I just got a job in Los Angeles in January and had not saved up much yet. I shared with Chris, my husband, my wish to visit my godmother after I graduate. The Vietnam trade embargo was just lifted in January 1994 and opened to tourists. We decided to randomly pick a date and started planning.

Committed Intentions Became Miracles

My biggest fear was to ask my boss for a month off to visit Vietnam. I had only worked for several months. On top of that, I also wanted to be transferred to a job with more responsibilities. I was ready to move forward to look for another job just in case I get fired.
The day of my appointment came. My hands were sweaty and I was pacing back and forth outside of his office waiting for my turn to speak to him. To my surprise, he agreed to my month off and a new position with a raise when I return. He said my timing couldn’t be any better. Wow! It was a miracle.

Then I booked my flight to Vietnam for October 1994. I had no idea where I was going to stay and what I was going to do in Vietnam. My only intention was to visit my godmother. I don’t even know where she lived. I shared my flight information with my family and it turned out that one of my cousins was getting married in Vietnam and she wanted to invite me to her wedding. She also invited me to stay with her family while I visited Vietnam. Everything fell into place perfectly.

Why am I sharing with you this? It is because it is a great example of setting intentions or goals and being committed to those goals without having to know how to make them happen. When I am committed to my cause or inspiration, miracles happen and things fall into place perfectly. It is the law of attraction. It works for everybody.

Việt Kiều Pricing

Finally, I was going back to Vietnam in mid-October 1994. It had been 16 years since I left. Lots of my memories of being there had been stowed away deep down. I had never been to the Saigon airport before so it was quite an experience. I was nervous and scare at the same time because I did not know how well I would be received by the people and the government.

There was a crowd of people waiting outside the airport. Only people with flight tickets were admitted into the airport. I was welcomed by my cousins but I was not quite welcomed by the government. The embargo was just lifted so there was some old resentment dangled in the air for the Vietnamese who left. The Vietnamese who left were called “Việt Kiều” and I was one of them. Chris stood out like a sore thumb with his blonde hair and blue eyes.

When we first arrived, we had to check in with the police department near where we stayed. We had to declare our visits and the length of our stay. There was special pricing (double to triple the normal price) for foreigners like Chris and me since I am now considered to be a foreigner. We had to stay at government-regulated hotels and ride in cars operated by the government agency.

My cousins hired a driver and a large van for our transportation. The driver was stopped occasionally by the police to check their insurance paperwork for carrying foreigners in the van. Of course, Chris’ blonde hair stood out each time for the police to spot. We decided to put a hat on Chris’ head. It helped.

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