Yen is getting married in a couple of weeks. Although she is my niece, Yen is a month older than me. Because we were at the same age and lived next door to each other, we did many things together. I had a few great memories of our childhood. One time, when we were four or five, we walked a couple of miles to the playground. As we enjoyed our time sliding and swinging at the playground, her mom came and freaked out. I could still recall the shock as well as the relief on her face when she found us and we weren’t kidnapped.
In retrospect, I was a free spirit. I didn’t get to see my dad often. He was always away for work and only coming home a couple of times a month. My mom was also busy making ends meet; therefore, she just let me roamed free around the neighborhood. There were days I was locked out of the house for many hours and had to get food from my neighbors. Some of them were very generous in feeding me. I could never forget.
In kindergarten, Yen and I were in the same class. The day her family left Vietnam to settle in the U.S., I cried when she was not there. I still remember her empty chair. The teacher kicked me out of the class and made me stood in the school ground. I climbed over the fence and left the school. I found my way home and my mom freaked out. I can’t recall what the consequence was when I left the school.
Six years later, our family migrated to the States. I was excited to see Yen again, but time had changed. She spoke mostly in English and I didn’t know much. The language barrier kept us apart. Later when we moved closer to her family, we reconnected. Sometimes, we hung out after school, ate pizza, and watched TV. In the summertime, we hung around her mom’s Chinese restaurant, rode bikes, and just stayed cool.
When it came to college, we went to different universities, but majored in similar field. She studied graphic design and I studied web design. We were the only two in the family that were not studied computer science or business. Even though Yen had a strong sense of design, she ended up becoming a fashion buyer. She is still doing that now. I went on to do what I studied to do. Then I returned to school, something I thought I would never do, to get a master in graphic design.
Now almost into our 40s, Yen is still young and beautiful. She lived an easy-going lifestyle and took her time to settle down. In contrast, I have become old and bald. I am not complaining though. I have a wonderful family. With two boys and another one on the way, life is not easy, but fulfilling. Just want to congratulate my niece and friend. I am very happy for her and her future.