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Issue 16

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My Arrival in the United States

Mr. Huu
Photo: Andreas Bauer
The trees all grew along the road, and I had never seen this before, especially pine trees like columns of a house standing tall into the sky as colossal sentinels on their duty.

Mr. Huu from Vietnam

I left my native country on July 18, 1994. My son came to Los Angeles Airport to meet me and my family members at 10 a.m. How delighted I felt after that long separation from my young beloved son! He hugged everyone and was moved to tears by the happy meeting. He immediately took some pictures for later to remember this great moment.

On the way to my son's apartment, I saw many things that seemed strange to me. The trees all grew along the road, and I had never seen this before, especially pine trees like columns of a house standing tall into the sky as colossal sentinels on their duty.

Many flashy cars were driving by, forming a long queue of lanes on the large and smooth boulevards. Along the roads, there were great gas stations, imposing hotels and some small but pretty motels on the hilly slopes near the streets. All those landscapes showed me a large, rich and powerful country: the United States.

I came here to enjoy freedom, but may I do it completely? A brilliant future, a happy prospect at my hand appeared before me. I thought about how my children who just came, would graduate from different American universities, contributing something to the flourishing of the U.S.

At my son's apartment all the members of my family felt cheerful to be in this new country which leads the whole world. My son told us many stories about America, but when I went to bed the first night in America, I felt a little sad, longing for my small motherland that is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. What a suffering plight my close relatives and 70 million other Vietnamese citizens have been in!

As you know, the US government has embraced millions of refugees, immigrants with different cultures. They have made America a beautiful grass carpet with different colors. Unfortunately, many people take advantage of freedom and the Bill of Rights. Violence has happened everywhere. Of course, a good thing has its bad side. While trying to assimilate with American culture, we must know how to absorb what is better and discard the dross, separating sheep from goats.

I always advise my children and my close friends to live up to our reputation in this strange but generous country. Our Vietnamese community should not be racially discriminated against, but well treated away from our motherland. As for me, I wish I could return to my home village to let my white bones be buried there among my ancestors' ones.


Look Book This story was selected from Julia Karet's ESL writing project at Chaffey Community College: The Look Book Project


More stories about coming to America:
My First English Words | Trying to Immigrate | My Most Difficult Experience
Coming to America (1) | New Horizons | Coming to America (2)
Coming to Study in the U.S. | War in My Country | Unforgettable Early Days

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