This I Believe

Teresa - Palos Verdes Estates, California
Entered on October 17, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: immigrant

I believe in the miracle in life and of life. I was born in Vietnam, a cauldron of civil and international political chess game. When I was little, I always dreamt of leaving the country to live abroad, probably in France, in snow country; a place that was romanticized in foreign films for me. After the fall of Saigon in April 30th, 1975 to Communism, my father was imprisoned in “Re-education camp”, my mother struggled to raise a family of ten children, and to support her own mother while trying to outwit the communist government with their brutal policies of destroying the intellectuals class and ones with private properties. In 1978, after two failed attemps at leaving the country illegally, each time with family split up in different group for better results, our family was sucessful in our departure from Vietnam with the whole family intact through the government program of expulsion of the Chinese merchant class. The trip was extremely unsafe, since the number of occupants on the boat exceeded its designed capacity, since the government wanted to maximize their revenue collection from the passenger fees, in return for not chasing after the boat while it was trying to take off to international water with their guns firing at us. Hence, through the fate of history and international politics, through all of our nation and family’s ordeals, my lifelong dream came true. I received the miracle of living my life abroad in the United States, in a Western country, in a land of free speech, free thoughts and the freedom to be true to oneself.