I chose to put up a photo of my favorite dishwashing liquid, Palmolive — Original, to mark the 26th anniversary of my being American.
It’s the first scent that I vividly remember the first few days after arriving in Minnesota from the refugee camp. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment, on the second floor, of a four-unit building on 4th street crossing 32nd. A family of eight, plus Dad’s male cousin who came to Minnesota a few years prior. He just moved in with us because he was single at the time, and it seemed ideal to have him be to leading guide when Dad and Mom had no idea how to navigate the new world.
In that apartment, I washed a lot of dishes by hands because for nine people, three meals a day…dishes and utensils accumulated quickly. And I still remember standing in that small kitchen, with a gas stove, and running water coming out from a faucet — the thought that I did not have to fetch pails of water from a nearby community water fountain (the way in the refugee camp), or from a water well (the way it was in my neighborhood in Vietnam) gave me a fancy of living in luxury. And it was a luxury, more or less, to have all of these amenities and conveniences coming from a third world country.
I guess other than white snow (it was so brutally cold), grey-casted tree branches, and the aging beige-painted wall in that small apartment, what I remember the most was the scent of green Palmolive dishwashing liquid, and how new life began then.
And I have been using this brand since then, out of habit, of course, but it also gives me a sense of comfort.
P.S. Palmolive paid no sponsorship for this post. 😀
P.S.S. This morning while standing in the kitchen washing the dishes, I also put on some Vietnamese romantic music from my phone, listening to Vũ Khanh singing a familiar song (Mùa Đông Của Anh — My Winter) that Dad used to sing for us. I told Mr. O that I miss Dad, I miss how he strummed his thin and callused fingers on the guitar strings, singing in his coarse voice and alcohol-filled breath, and I kept watching his adam-apple kept moving up and down this neck.
Little moments like that…get me every time!