Today marks the 17th year of my family’ s anniversary of coming to the U.S. Oh my, 17 years ago, I was fresh off the plane (yoh, I was a FOP) and not knowing what life had in store for me. Uncertainty was a great driving force because to make life more certain, I truly stayed focused and aimed high despite all the pressure and the bullies. Man, I hate those big bullies, they made my life a living hell back in middle school because I was an easy target with my starving and naive refugee look (I was one among a few minority kids at this school.) You know during those days, especially during gym classes, I wished to naturally have those martial-art skills like flying and having the chi power to punch with force (I watched quite a lot of Hong Kong kung fu movies, as you can tell) and embodied the talents to take my revenge on those bullies. It was an unattainable fantasy but real life situations demanded for one. So, without special talent in kung fu, I decided to study madly and surpass all of those bullies. I thought it would help to gain respect from them, but the more I achieved high grades, the more bully I got. Catch 22! But of course, I was there for only 2 years and then transitioned to a high school that had more diversity where most newly immigrants attended. It was an ethnic enclave for most Vietnamese immigrants at the time. That’s another story to be told for sure.
It’s quite interesting to see how life has progressed and the duration of 17 years has turned me into the person I am today.