I was born and raised in Vietnam, and I now immigrate to America. I lived in two different places, but this country changed my personality as much as I could feel.
I am the last child in my family, so I’ve received most of love from them. When I lived in Vietnam, I didn’t have to do anything in my house, my mom and sisters did all. Everything which I wanted to do; I had to ask my mom even if I was over eighteen. At that time, I didn’t know I had to be independent by myself as American teenager. In America, when people turn into eighteen, they can decide what they want, what they do.
In 2011, I came to USA, and my difficult life began. I was in Minnesota for five months and then move to Seattle. It was in winter, so it was very cold like I was in the freezer when I went outside. In Minnesota, snow fell such much that I couldn’t see the scene there. Everywhere was covered in white. The view made me think how hard, how sad my life would be.
The first two months, my sister guided me acquainted with new language, new custom, and new life. It was hard time that I could admit. Next months, my brother-in-law
tried to teach me driving when he had free time, but it was just twice a month. I still felt okay because my sister and her husband could help me and explain my questions about foreign life. They were along my side. Before I left their house to move to Seattle, they gave me advice. They said, “If you want to do something or discover something, you just do it. Don’t be afraid. Because you are an independent, confident girl, you should face with challenges in your life. That will make you more successful in the future.” In fact, something changed when I moved to Seattle.
I have lived with my parents in Seattle. My mom can’t speak English and drive. My dad can, and I hope he can help me to be familiar with this new place, but he doesn’t. The first place where I arrived in the first day was driver licensing office to take a written exam. Who drove me to there was me. My dad sat beside me and told the direction. When he recognize that my driving skill wasn’t good as he expected. He said he thought I could drive everywhere, but he didn’t know that I just drove several times. It wasn’t enough experience to drive. I thought that was fine, just focus on driving and ignore him. I would be safe. At the front counter, I asked my dad to translate for me because my speaking and listening were very bad, but he told me that I had to try to understand what an assistant said and followed her guide, and he went away. My fear appeared, so I ran toward him, and we had a tensional conversation.
“How can I talk to her, dad? I can’t talk in English.”
“You learn those skills in Vietnam, now you say you can’t.”
“Yeah, I have learned English, but it just focuses on reading, writing, and grammar. Speaking and listening don’t focus much. You should know that teaching English method in Vietnam is totally different with other countries.”
“I don’t need to know that.”
“So, you don’t help me to translate, right?” “Okay, I’ll do by myself.”
I came back alone and looked around, but nobody was Vietnamese. Nobody could translate for me, and I wanted to cry. Suddenly, I recalled my sister advice, and I was calm down. In my soul, I thought that I could do it; I could do it. A person in front of me was done and my turn came. I tried to not cry and extremely focus on listening what an assistant talked to me. My answers were “excuse me”. It repeated again and again. Fortunately, she recognized that I didn’t understand whatever she said, so she used body sign and helped me to fill out form quickly. Well, everything was completely done. After that day, I thought why I had to frighten. When something happened, I just needed to be calm and everything would be fine. Day by day I did everything by myself from taking my mom going to work, finding school, looking for a job, cooking sometimes. Each day I learned a little thing which would accumulate experience for my life. I was a person who was covered by family, but now I really feel confident and independent about myself.
Life always has challenges for each of us. If we think we can do, we can do it and will do it. Nothing can obstruct us if we are confident to face and overcome it. Just keep it in mind, you will do it.
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