The heart of this trip - to bring Aí Nhân (say eye nyun) to America for graduate studies. Today was the The Big Meeting - the one where I tell her parents that Cindy and I will take good care of their daughter while she in the United States. Parting is difficult - Aí Nhân’s father has suffered from multiple strokes and has been unable to speak for three years.
The Vietnamese are family people, so the house was crowded with sisters and brothers-in-laws and children. And of course, such a gathering requires food - lots of it.
Trust me folks - this is just the first food that was served. The bowl closest to the camera is a beef and veggies dish, in the middle are shrimp (huge, too) and in the back, pork. To the right is a small bowl of salt, pepper and lemon juice that the shrimp is dipped in - what Cindy calls Vietnamese ketchup. What you don’t see are the bowls of rice, the fish, the vegetable soup with shrimp and more dishes I can’t recall. Of course, the “dessert” is lotus seeds in a sweet syrup. The entire meal is delicious - just way too much. Aí Nhân is next to me and her mother next. The gentleman in the right of the photo is one of her brothers-in-law.
Aí Nhân is the baby of the family - the last of the unmarried children but the first to leave Việt Nam for education. There were lots of questions about her studies, how and where she would live - and most important to her parents, how Cindy and I would look after her. I had the feeling that they were very happy I had come to get her rather than just putting her on an airplane and hoping she would be okay.
As I write this, it is Monday - and her new life begins Sunday. I’m hoping that when we arrive home next Monday at 2:50 PM, there will be a nice group of well-wishers at the airport to welcome her to her new home.