lingering sentiment

Refugee, exile, immigrant — whatever species of displaced human we were, we did not simply live in two cultures, as celebrants of the great American melting pot imagined. Displaced people also lived in two time zones, the here and the there, the present and the past, being as we were reluctant time travelers.

I think for the first ten years or so of our lives in America, we constantly vested ourselves with a similar sentiment to this quote. Now that it’s been 26 years, almost 27, I have unloaded the baggages of what life could have been in that same parallel universe of the past. It’s not a shame to say that America has become my home, because Vietnam is just too far away, and I don’t mean in physical term, but that emotional attachment has eventually unhinged itself from that time zone, and from that past.

I am of a generation that is half-mất gốc, losing half of my roots, because that half have been digging into the American soil for survival, and hence growing new shoots to embrace new identity.

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9 thoughts on “lingering sentiment

  1. I don’t know if you have this feeling, but I feel like a noncitizen. I don’t feel particularly strongly american, and I don’t feel particularly strongly vietnamese. Even English still feel like a foreign tongue to me, and vietnamese sometimes even more so.

    1. i think for our half-mất gốc generation we could never be the “full participant” of either culture. I have the same feeling as you are, but in recent years my affinity for Vietnam has been lessen tremendously. Like…I don’t really care much about what’s going on over there, as I do here in America. That’s why I feel like Vietnamese is a virtual culture for me, because I don’t live in it, but it’s only in my head.

      English still does not come easy for me either, and my shitty Vietnamese is a struggle every day. I think my Vietnamese in writing is better than my spoken one.

      I think your English is far superb than mine. Your thoughts are really “English” English, where as mine is half translated from Vietnamese. Your Vietnamese is too, I think you benefit from reading Chinese novels, in both Chinese and translated versions.

      1. i’m not saying that my command in either language is subpar, far from it, I know I can use them well, but i still feel estranged from them both, if that makes any sense to you.

      2. Yup, something like that. It’s been too long I don’t remember all those terms. Mà hồi đó sung sức cứ đi bàn luận với đám mỹ, like they really care, haha.

    1. I wouldn’t buy it. It isn’t my cup of tea. The plot is packed with political ideology that I skipped too many pages. There are some unnecessary parts that could have been shortened. The first half is ok but the second half is less captivating, at least how it was for me. I could not finish it and decided to let it go.

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