[this is something I don't normally talk about, since it is kind of emotional, but I am leaving tomorrow back to the US and so am full of emotions right now -- 1:45AM]
I've been living away from home since I was 14, calling different places "home" and sometimes confusing myself. Some might pity me, thinking, man, she doesn't get to see her family in forever! Some compliment me, wow, you're so brave, I don't think I can ever do that. Both those reactions always left me thinking, why and how am I doing this?
You see, I'm no superwoman. I'm just a girl whose path happens to stray her away from where her family is. I've always asked myself this question: if I had decided to stay in Vietnam when I had the choice of going to Singapore, would my life be completely different now? Would it be accomplishing? Would it change who I am today? I will never know the answer, unfortunately. However, I know I would not have to be so far away from my family.
You might think that I'm weak by now! I am not afraid to admit that I am. I have weak moments when I realized I was not there to observe my little brother grow up; when I felt lonely every time my friends at UC go home during breaks; every time I was dealing with problems on my own because telling my parents would just worry them. I don't tell them this often, but I do miss my family everyday. Sometimes I act tough so that I can show them how strong I am and that I can take control of my life. Fact is, I'm still my parents' little girl who's still messy and unorganized #randomfact!
So why am I doing this?
A friend told me this today, "Be strong. You're coming back here to pursue your dream(s)." If you know me, you should know by now how ambitious and somewhat-unrealistic some of my goals are. Perhaps I'm just a dreamer, but I'm pushing myself harder everyday to come a step or two closer to what I set out for myself. I am not doing this just for myself, though. I'm doing this for my family who is trusting me and my decisions. If you think I'm trying too hard, that is because I want to (and have to). After all, I'm just a little girl trying to find herself in this big world. I have yet to find my place yet, but that is why I am doing what I am doing. I have certain dreams I am pursuing, and the sacrifices sure are huge. It pains me sometimes whenever my brother asks me over Skype when I'm coming home, but I know distance should not matter; one day we all will unite and everything will make sense then.
For now, Vietnam has been amazing! I had a few problems with my visa and family issues but things are getting better (they always do in the end). Vietnam is my home, and even though I do call Singapore and Cincinnati homes, Saigon, Vietnam has been, is and ALWAYS will be the one place where the most part of my heart belongs to. For the food, for the care, for the genuineness of the people, for the friends, for all the great adventures and for the family whom I love dearly. The country is amazing and you all should visit it someday.
2 more days to go, and then it will be another chapter of my life in Chicago :) Here's hoping that it will be as rewarding and life-changing as my first co-op in Hawaii with Tom Sewell (do check out my experience there by clicking the tab somewhere above!).
With love from Sài Gòn, Việt Nam
(Trần Lê Bảo Anh -- my real, full name)