My Family’s Journey to America

Carolyn Nguyen, Honorable Mention
Grade 3

I am the second generation of a brave Vietnamese family. My mom had a lot of responsibilities and hardships while now I have many luxuries and petty issues. When my mom was my age, she had a lot of difficult responsibilities like going to the market by herself to buy the daily food. In contrast, I can’t go anywhere without an adult my parents trust.

My mom and her family’s journey to America was to seek a better life. The journey was filled with dangerous obstacles, uncertainty, a strange miracle. After the war between the South and the North of Vietnam, my grandpa had to go “re-education camp” to change his views. Meanwhile, my grandma, mom, and her two younger sisters, Uyen and Tam had to help out around the house more than usual since my grandpa was at “re-education camp”. When my grandpa came back, my grandma and grandpa felt like they needed to leave Vietnam and started a better life without military involvement issues.

My mom and her family boarded the tiny wooden boat, and it was crowded and cramped in the boat. When the boat left the dock, my mom and her family officially left their lives in Vietnam behind and headed toward their new lives. There were some conditions on the tiny boat though; they couldn’t bring their belongings and food because of the limited space they had. They were also being chased and fired by the communists. Luckily, their boat was fast enough, so they got away safely. After several days on the boat, they ran out of water, so everyone started praying for rain and just for a few minutes it rained. My grandpa found a piece of tarp and asked some people that were on the boat to help him catch the rainwater with just that. The rainwater that they got wasn’t much, but it was worth more than gold to them.

Two days after the miracle, they finally landed on one of the many islands of Indonesia. Luckily, they found a person who was native to the tunnels of the island and led them into a camp that accepted immigrants. My mom and her family stayed in Indonesia for two years. Finally, a relative from America sponsored them to America. Once they got to America, they had to start from scratch and worked very hard to strive through tough obstacles. Many years later after all their hard work, they have gained a better life here in America than in Vietnam.