I arrived in the United States at the end of May of 1985. I was twenty-two years old when I finally made it to freedom. It was a stressful and frightening journey that I had to experience at a young age.
I was born in South Vietnam and lived in the middle of a war. Prior to the Vietnam war, I remember living in poverty and struggling to satisfy daily needs. I needed to leave or else I would die there. I remember feeling a sense of relief, comfort and happiness when I arrived in the United States. I no longer had a target on my back for being half white and vietnamese. I no longer had my agency being challenged. I knew there would be much more opportunities to come in the United States than in Vietnam, one of them being to live more comfortably.
I was not able to finish school in Vietnam due to the fact that I was the only male in my family and needed to provide for them and myself. So when I came to the United States, I had to decide whether I would continue my education and learn English or start working. I decided that since I would be living in the United States, it would be easier for me in the long run to learn English as soon as I could. I realized it would be difficult for me to even get a job and work there if I did not know the language my bosses spoke.
* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.