A life or death trip to America


From being a mom with just and only the bare necessities to help her family survive, to now a happy, healthy, and wealthy grandma to six.  No doubt, my grandma went through a lot, was it always the best, no, did she try to make the best out of everything in every situation, yes.  Nguyet Nguyen traveled all the way from Vietnam to America, by boat trying to keep all 3 of her kids alive alone.  Her husband was thrown in prison camp after the fall of 1975, and in order for her family to survive, they had to flee.  Through all the hardship and horrible conditions she went through for survival, she knew at the end of the day, it was all worth it.  So, she made the best out of everything, and learned new skills to aid her family like cooking with what she had (not the traditional Vietnamese food) and sewing.

The journey all began after the fall of 1975.  My grandpa (her husband) served in the army, and once the Communist took over in 1975, he was thrown in prison camp.  After 3 years in prison camp, he was freed, but was under prison camp probation for a year.  This meant he was sent to a variety of places to provide labor under the Communist instructions.  After his year was up, he was allowed to go home to his family.  Shortly after being home, he had the opportunity to escape Vietnam with my mom, but at last minute, my grandma decided to keep my mom with her, meaning my grandpa left on his own.

“After my husband left for America, I soon felt like my family wasn’t safe in America either,” Nguyet Nguyen said.  So, after much thought and hesitation, Nguyet Nguyen decided to bring her family over to America along with her husband.  “My kids were so devastated at having to leave home, but they knew it was for the best, so they didn’t complain much.  They kept reminding themselves about the good things that would come of moving to another country, like being able to see their dad again, and exploring somewhere new.”

One night after everyone was asleep, my grandma and her kids snuck out to a waiting home where they would sleep for the night before moving on.  The next night, they moved to the next house, and after about a week of this, they were finally able to get on a boat and leave.  Shortly after leaving, the sun rose and everybody on the boat with my grandma and her family were attacked by Thailand Pirates.  Everything they owned was stolen from them, leaving them nothing except the clothes on their back on this journey to America.  After about 3-4 days at sea, they arrived in a Thailand refugee camp where they stayed for a couple of months.  Once their airplane came, Nguyet Nguyen and her family were finally able to board and leave for America.  When in America, my grandma and her family finally got to see my grandpa after almost a year.  They then all went to a friend of my grandpa’s that was willing to let them stay with him until they could find their own place.

No doubt Nguyet Nguyen has gone through a challenging life, but that’s what makes her my unassuming hero.  She faced all the challenges head on just to keep her family safe.  She traveled across the world from Vietnam to America, encountered Thailand pirates, faced her husband being locked away for about 3 years, and only being able to see him for short periods of time in between, and constantly feeling endangered in her home land.  My grandma stayed strong no matter how many rocks were thrown at her in life.  She kept her family safe, when even she didn’t know if they would make it out alive.  My grandma truly is a hero, and whether she knew it or not, she is my unassuming hero.