First Day Back

After long flights with a few hours of delays and having read two books, I landed on Tân Sơn Nhất airport at 1 in the morning on Sunday. Took a cap to Viển Đông hotel to meet up with my cousin Minh. Although I was completely exhausted, I could not sleep. I read some more to dove off. At around 5 in the morning the roasters started to crow. That familiar sound instantly reminded me of my childhood.

At 6 AM, my cousin Minh and I had complementary breakfast at the hotel. 8 AM, my dad showed up. He is now older, weaker, and so much grumpier (more on this later). Before heading back to my hometown Mỹ Tho, I paid a brief visit to my mother-in-law’s oldest sister and my father-in-law’s oldest sister.

We stopped at my sister’s house (Trúc chị) in Mỹ Tho to rest bit and continued to to visit my mom’s relatives and my grandparents’ and great great grandparents’ graves. My dad took over my schedule and demanded that everyone must followed his order. He rushed me as I was chit chatting with my mom’s aunts and uncles. He yelled at my other sister (Trúc em), my brother-in-law, and my niece and nephews for not complying with his demands. Because of his grumpiness, my sister told me, he lives by himself in a little house, which is where I am staying. Since his brothers are out of town for their company’s summer trip to Vũng Tàu, I have yet to paid them a visit, but my sister has assured me that my dad’s place is quite modest compared to his brothers’ massive mansions. Other than mosquitoes, I
am fine with staying in a modest place. It’s my memory of my upbringing.

Uncle 6 is the other poor brother who lives next to my dad. Uncle 6 was a talented home builder just like his other brothers, unfortunately gambling addiction took every from him. Even his wife and son migrated to Australia. Now he spends most of his day watching TV inside a mosquito net.

We ended the night early because my dad was tired and I was exhausted. Our relationship so far so good even though we are in completely different world and we have different perspectives. I am glad to have the time to spend with him although I miss my wife and boys terribly.