A trip back home


Thu Hoang Nguyen wrote about her trip for her online course ‘Reading and Writing for Academic Skills’. She’s enrolling in a nursing degree in 2021 and working hard at her English to gain entry. Thanks Thu!

It was my last meal in Vietnam a few months ago which I still remember all of!!!

I had a trip back home to see my family in Vietnam for two weeks in January this year. It was a brave statement that I announced firmly to my husband one morning when I woke up “I wanted to go home”’. By saying that, I also explained to him about our family circumstances to support my idea. First of all, I missed my family and I would love a visit to stay with mom and dad for a while. Next, both my spouse and the children weren’t available to join the trip as they had work and school to attend. Finally, it was money-wise matter. Where the total air flight fees for the four of us would cost a fortune, it wasn’t worth to travel just in a short time period.

Although I started the idea, I also had my doubts about it before purchasing the flight’s ticket. I felt the guilt of being selfish by leaving my loved ones at home in order to enjoy my own holiday which we would normally do as a whole. However, I also considered that the only opportunity in the entire of my life of coming home alone was really good to be with my immediate family. I was thinking of my parents, who are nearly in their eighties, that they are always so looking forward to seeing their daughter since she emigrated from Vietnam ten years ago. Additionally, I wasn’t sure what the situation would be later, what if I would not be available next year as I may have already joined the nursing course which will be really busy.  I had a lot of thinking “should or shouldn’t?” Fortunately, my husband was supportive and encouraged me to go ahead if it was what I wanted to do.  Besides, my mother in law was generous to agree to look after the kids while I was away. I arranged with the school about the new carer for the kids, so mom could be able to pick them up after school.  When all things considered had been sorted, there were no more excuses to delay. I was so delighted to inform my relatives about the surprise “I was coming home soon!”

We never know what our future will be.

We never know what our future will be. I was so excited to organise about the trip and counted down to the take-off date. Unfortunately, the unfriendly virus corona came along in Vietnam just a few days before I headed to Auckland airport. Despite my family’s desire to have me, nevertheless, they sent me loads of texts convincing me to cancel the trip because of the newly discovered creature which put me in a semi decision to make. Going or staying? Again I felt tortured as I was before booking the flights and I couldn’t get my head around. I had only two days to make a decision among all the factors. Firstly, I had already arranged things in New Zealand and had taken leave of work. Secondly, both my husband and I weren’t sure if the virus alerts were too dangerous to destroy my dream as they hadn’t attacked in New Zealand yet, therefore both of us just had few fears about this. We were brainstorming and thinking rationally, checking the updating from the news but it was nothing here. We didn’t ignore the family’s concerns, but we hope it might just be a scam and Vietnamese people probably overreacted. Finally, the air flight wouldn’t return my ticket’s money as it was a non-refundable one and also because the government didn’t have any declaration of not allowing me to fly overseas. It was my risks to take if I decided to go, otherwise, the tickets would be cancelled at my own costs. My husband suggested me to continue as planned. He was also advised me to take extra cautious during travel such as washing hands, avoiding contact with strangers, wearing masks. So, off I went.

Communications to both of the family in New Zealand and Vietnam were my priority at every step during flying as well as in transiting. Eventually, I arrived safely to Ho Chi Minh airport at midnight while mom and dad together with my siblings, friend were waiting to pick me up. In order to avoid the expose of virus from the crowd, we quickly drove off to our hometown which was about an hour drive up north. Even I felt exhausted from the pressures, it was special to sit next to my mom in the car. I noticed that she couldn’t stop cuddling me as if I am still a baby.
I had a fabulous time at my parents’ place and they spoilt me rotten unconditionally.

Although I don’t really know what are exact English words to describe my happiness and the way my family treated me so well during the visit time, I would say “That’s what the family is about”. However, it could be a downside about the trip as I didn’t feel to go outside as a tourist to explore the country. A simple reason for this, the virus precaution strategy was in place. Therefore, the public events were shutting down and Vietnam’s government encouraged people to stay home as New Zealander did during the lockdown level 3. However, it suited me as I didn’t intend to travel anyway. I stayed at home most of the time and managed to visit all the relatives and a few friends.

It had to come to an end. I returned to my little Kiwi family after a fortnight. Again, my parent’s sisters and peer dropped me off at the airport. They left immediately after managing to take a few photographs which left the two of us, my special local friend and I, killing time by enjoying our authentic soup noodle called “Pho”. We had good chats while eating. It was a good way to say goodbye. We avoided eye contacts as we couldn’t stop our tears running out intentionally. She has been my best friend for more than twenty years and always been available for me.

The natural disaster had been alerted in our country by the time I got back. I got through the customs without trouble after answering a few questions. Everyone seemed so pleased to the reunion, we drove straight to our home in Whangarei for three hours. It took me a month to settle back to the normal routine as the emotion wreck was the most difficult thing to deal with. It takes time…It has been a few months since my vacation, I do look back and feel that I am so lucky to have made the trip and returned to the country just before the pandemic’s arrival to New Zealand. I not only didn’t waste the money of the trip but also spent quality time with my people. “A bird two stone”.

It is also a joke that I talked to my parent “Fortunately, it wasn’t me who brought the virus from oversea to both Vietnam and New Zealand”.  What a relief.

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