Vietnamese Interpreter, Food Demonstrator, Rock Climber

My Journey to America – Land Ho

Simple Living

My dad and cousins would go into the woods every morning to chop woods for firewood. Our house was barely minimal. It had a large bed which was built by my dad and cousins. We had palm leaves as our sheets and pillows. Initially, all 10 of us slept on the bed together. Our little kitchen and shower were all in the back of the house.
The men dug wells to use for spring water. They dug and built outhouses for bathrooms. The bathrooms were a shared community. There was nowhere such thing as toilet paper. I never used toilet paper until we came to America. “What an absurd concept,” I thought to myself, “cleaning with paper is not as sanitary as cleaning with water.” We used water to clean ourselves.

I don’t recall having any plumbing or electricity. We had to boil our water for a warm shower. There was nowhere tub. We cleaned ourselves by lathering up with a bar of soap and splashed water to clean out the suds. It was hot all year round so a warm bath was not necessary. The concept of shampoo, hair conditioner, and lotion was non-existence. It didn’t matter because the simple life was all I knew while growing up in Vietnam. I did not know what I missed so life was good.

We met some Chinese neighbors and learned how to sing in Chinese. They also taught us how to make cookies. We made the cookies and they were almost as hard as rocks. I think my siblings enjoyed them because nowhere one complained.

Hanh and I also learned and weaved several hammocks. Our cousins used the hammocks as their beds. We live a very simple life with nowhere electricity. We wake up when the sunrise and go to bed when the sunset.

We lived in Vietnam all of our young lives and never had the opportunity to visit the beaches or even learned how to swim. Vietnam is bordered by beautiful beaches not too far to travel to by automobile. However, the extra-curriculum was not something that the Vietnamese solely focus on in Vietnam. The primary focus was education, getting a great job, and then enjoying leisure later. Most people do not have cars so getting to the beach was virtually impossible unless you are living by the beach and within walking or biking distance. Others are struggling just to get a decent meal on the table for their family so extra-curriculum such as swimming, dancing, etc were not high on their priority list.

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