Next year (Jan 2019), my grandpa is turning 85, and we celebrate both my grandparents at the same time. Wow! I am always happy to see them live a healthy, happy life. To gain another year means more time to spend with family and friends.
For the present from the grandchildren, my cousin asked me to write a letter in Vietnamese, which I am illiterate, and also a photo of me and my grandparents.
I went to my parents’ the following weekend and searched through a few photo albums. Unfortunately, I dont get to see my grandparents often since they live halfway around the world, so there weren’t a lot to choose. Finally, I found one that summed up one of the best days of my life, my first encounter with them.
In the photo, my grandpa is holding my sister and my grandma is holding me. I don’t look happy to see them, but inside I was. I probably was dying from the delayed flight (36 hours) and the onboarding smokers (yes, in 1994 smoking was allowed on the plane).
My whole family came out to greet us, because it was the first time my mom visited since her escape from Vietnam. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when they immigrated to the U.S., so they had to save until they had enough for all three of us.
I still remember the day vividly. That is exactly what I mentioned in my letter to them. As I am writing in a first grade level, my dad was pronouncing it out so I can hear the accent on each letter. Yeah…nothing.
If you guys know anything about the Vietnamese language, it is a phonetic language. This means how you pronounce a word changes the meaning of the word. For example, in English, you can say toe-MAY-toe or toe-MAH-toe. Either way, you’re talking about the red fruit. In Vietnamese, that would mean two different things.
So I wrote my lines and my mom reviewed the letter. I think I got my point across. If anything, the photo will do a lot of the talking. Like the phrase goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”