Whenever somebody ask me: “What is the utmost valuable thing in your life?”. I reply immediately: “My family here (in America, and a few left behind in Vietnam) plus the ones I love in Italy”. Certainly, when it comes to these people, no matter how important and demanding is my career, my business, my personal passion, ambition…even country!. These people always come first on my list.
It has been years since the last time we were together. Just like many other families in the world, we are all scattered here and there and everywhere around the world. And even though each of the members of the family, has different character and personality…But as always, as soon we are together, everything immediately fall right back to the exact same place: love, sharing and forgiveness.
We have total six sisters in our family. But as the oldest sister who lives in California was not able to attend the reunion and another still in Vietnam, so only four of us this time and our children came together.
It is not easy to get everybody come at the same time, especially here in America. We all have works and children have schools. I remember when we were young (during the seventies and eighties after the war), there were many turmoil, tragedies, and disasters happened among us (which I will continue to write about my journey to America next week). Together as one strong family, we helped each other one by one escaped the country and reunited again here in the United State.
Then, as we arrived here in California, we had to start all over again to build new lives for our family. It was not easy at all. Each one of us had to go through very difficult time in the beginning as immigrants in a foreign country. I remember the day my mother and I came to Los Angeles Airport, I had only two dollars in my pocket. Enough to buy her a cup of hot tea as my mother was exhausted after a sixteen-hours long flight from Vietnam. My sisters who had came before me did help us during our first days in this new land. Even till today, I know that at any time if my children and I are in need of help, my family will always be there to back us up, and vice versa.
Nowadays, every time we get together, we always look back and talk about those dark days. Some memories made us sad and sentimental and yet there are many stories from those periods of our lives that made us laugh so hard till we are out of breath. Our children love to listen to our stories and ask questions about it. It is also time we teach them about life’ values and meaning too. Most of these kids were born here in America, some came to the States from a very young age. So they have no idea what is a hard life means and how to live through it. We want our children to remember their original ethnic and culture as well as the important of family connections. So, these are times we not only reunite for our family love and pleasures, but to pass on to our children the values that we treasure and honor.
It was so much fun and full of pleasures during the last three days. Yet, I have to admit that with over a dozen of guests in my home and with all that noises, and cooking, and cleanings…I am completely exhausted by the time everybody left. Today, alone and quiet again in my living room after all, I felt as if a tornado had just passed through my resident. I am happy to see my whole family came together strong and healthy and yes, today I am glad I am back to my normal life again. I think Ruggero is even more happy than me to see all the guests leaving and I understand why.
My sisters and I already planned for the next year reunion. One of my niece is planning to have her wedding next summer in New-york. Certainly, we all will be there again for her big day. So we are looking forward to that day.
Till then, I am getting ready to spend time with our friends and Ruggero’s family in Italy within weeks. The tickets are already booked and we both are counting each day passing by. Each morning I wake up with a whisper of joy in my heart: “Italy, I am coming home to you very soon!”.