Each time I come home, it usually takes me a week or two to get use to the local time. It’s a night and day difference from America. By the third week here, I go to bed like everyone here and wake up around 6-7 am. What got me mad before was as soon as I adapted to the local time, it was time to get back to the US for I only took one-month vacation. My last trip was 10 weeks and this time is 6 weeks. I love being self-employed for I am able to take as long time off from work as I want. It would be pretty cool when I figure out how to make money online, so one day I can work and play anywhere in the world as my heart desires. 🥰
Mom came out of her bedroom to greet me as I came home on the this Thursday afternoon. She smiled and hugged me. I then asked her if she knew who I was. She said “Phượng”, my Vietnamese name. Mom looks very frail now, and I am not used to see her this way. All her life, she was chubby. Her face was round just like mine now. Each time when I was here, I took her to a beauty salon to get her hair dyed black which made her look at least ten years younger, but my sister didn’t want me to do that for mom anymore. She wanted mom to look old naturally. I got that and respect it for I’m not the one who is here with mom all the time. As for me, as long as I’m alive and able to dye my hair, I will never allow my hair go completely grey. To me, grey hair is associated with oldness and not taking good care of your appearance.
As I was eating lunch alone late yesterday due to my 5-hour trip to the beauty salon, mom came out from her room to sit next to me. She smiled - the most beautiful and angelic smile I had ever seen. She slightly tilted her head to the side and spoke softly to me: “You look familiar, but I don’t know what your name is.” I was saddened to hear that! I asked mom if she was kidding, but she didn’t laugh...
It seems surreal that I’m here today! My first visit home in 1997 when it was the first time I made it home after 12 years of searching for freedom. After that, I was only able to visit home once every 5-7 years. There were times I missed home more than words could describe. In the last ten years, I was able to come home more often. I promised mom that I would do that yearly, but the pandemic stopped us from seeing each other for three years. This time I’m able to see her twice a year, much more than I’ve ever wished for. I’m truly thankful for this trip. I will capture more memories with mom for one day it will be our precious treasures.
I feel like a millionaire now for I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Having money alone does not make you feel rich. Being able to do what you love and having someone to love and be loved is the greatest satisfaction you would ever have. ♥️
On the Wee Hours, 14th Day of January, 2023
Crystal H Vo