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"My home and native land'

I spent the first year of my life not really belonging to any land. My family was part of the mass migration of ethnic Chinese fleeing Vietnam after the war, we were the "Vietnamese Boat People". My family along with dozens of other families left behind everything they had know, took their feet off of solid land and drifted upon the sea hoping that it would carry us to something better. It was this wish for land, solid land that would embrace us and be the ground in which we would plant our hopes.

I was too young to recall but I know from the stories my family tells, often with tears in their eyes or emotion filled voices that this journey was difficult. We faced threats from pirates, difficulties in navigating the sea, and the lack of food and water. Unfortunately, some people died on the boat and the only thing we could do was throw them overboard, they would never again touch land. We were eventually rescued by the Malaysian coast guard and we spent another few months in refugee camps. Yet another land that only temporarily housed us. It was not until we landed in Canada, when our plane touched down in Vancouver that my family finally felt solid ground beneath them. A land where we could truly call home. Although Vietnam was my birthplace that land is foreign to me and when I think of where I belong, it this this land Canada that I call home.


Emily Garcia's picture

On solid ground

Thank you for sharing with us this deeply moving story of longing and belonging. With it you've portrayed land as an important place of protection, a place for growth and the planting of hopes. I often honor land for its beauty and wonder, but here you've reminded me how its more tangible, solid attributes offer life and freedom to so many. Thank you.

Kind regards,


Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Lead

JaniceW's picture

A foundation for life

How fortunate you were that your family made it to solid ground and could use that to build a foundation for your family. I cannot imagine what they went through except to compare it to the story of my ancestors who crossed land by foot to seek freedom. They had their own piece of land but were forced to leave it. Walking for weeks on end, the land beneath their feet did not change, but with each step, it took them closer and closer to a better life. Like you, that land is foreign to me but it is the land of my ancestor's souls and holds a piece of me whether I feel it or not.

jadefrank's picture

Incredible story

Your family's journey is incredible. I met a young American man whose Chinese parents endured a similar journey, being pushed from land in China to Vietnam to Malaysia to America. The strength of your family is so admirable and I thank you for sharing this story, YOUR story!


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