ethnic final essay

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Words: 866
Pages: 4

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Duong Ha (ID# 9966)
Professor Nguyen­Wong
Ethnic Studies 40
July 21, 2014

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A Journey across the Sea
My aunt was the first one in my family came to the United during the second wave of escapees in 1987. Hearing her best friend’s family’s plan of crossing the ocean to America by boat, she immediately begged my grandmother to participate in the fateful and dangerous trip. Inspite of the danger waiting ahead, my grandmother approved her request and gathered every piece of gold we had to give it to her, which she hid inside the brim of her pants. My aunt’s friend’s family, on the other hand, poured their money in building a big ship that could carry over 200 escapees. In September 1987, the ship carried many poor people who fled Vietnam for better lives departed from Long Xuyen­Rach Gia, heading to “nowhere”. After floating on the ocean for six days straight, the crew finally arrived at a Cambodian island, where they were mistakened for foreigners
(instead of refugees) and chased away. They continued to sail to other islands; fortunately, they found a Thai refugee camp and they decided to take the boat people in. During one and a half year temporarily living in Thailand with her four other friends, my aunt volunteering to help out at a temple, where she recited Chú
Đại Bi and prayed to Quán Âm Bồ Tát every single night. On the day of the interview, the officer passed her after asking only two or three questions, since she had a sponsor and my grandfather used to work for Southern Vietnam

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Government. She got transferred to a refugee camp in Philippines, spending six months to learn English language and culture before officially entering the United
States.
During the first days coming to America, my aunt stayed with my young grandmother’s family in Santa Cruz, worked part­time as an assembly and went to college simultaneously. Back in the 1990’s, as the number of job openings were high, people often joked “Jobs are looking for workers”. Finishing college with an AA degree in two years, she got promoted to a full­time technician, which assured more stable income. At that time, she moved into a small mobile home that she bought with her own money. More importantly, she decided to bring our big family over and filed immigration applications for six single families as soon as she received the citizenship certificate in 1999.
Time flies like an arrow. Ten years passed by in a blink of an eye. My family of four people eventually moved to America, first resided in Santa Cruz then moved to San Jose in 2009. Since job opportunities were so rare these days, only my mom worked full­time as a baby­sitter, whereas my dad ran errands for my relatives for some extra money and did house chores in his free time. Unlike in Vietnam, my mom now became the main income earner of the household, while my dad turned into a “housewife”. My elder brother left Vietnam during his

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third year at Medical University, deciding to start his education all over again here. Due to the California resident policy, he worked as a airplane ticket seller while waiting to become…