"Brother, did you know that there is a Vietnamese astronaut in NASA?"
"Did you know that the first person to receive seven degrees from MIT was a Vietnamese boat person, and he did it in five years! "
"Remember him, sister, he's now a CEO for a multimillion dollar electronic firm in Silicon Valley."
It is difficult, besides, to keep grief and nostalgia in their prime as the years go by. The pangs of longing dulled by the necessities of living and the glory of the new found status and wealth. And the refugee turned immigrant (a psychological transition) turned naturalized U.S. citizen (more or less a transition of convenience) finds that the insistence of memories insists a little less as he zooms down the freeway toward a glorious cityscape of chimerical high-rises to work each morning.
I came here when I was 11. In my teen years I had stopped speaking Vietnamese altogether. Nor do I pray to the spirits of my ancestors any longer. As an adult and a writer, however, I have grown intrigued about my own inheritance, the old land-bound ethos, the archaic rituals, and my childhood vision in my mother's garden of long ago, that first sense of wonder and awe.