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A Peek at Cà Mau
April 17, 2016
The name “Gạch Nối” was meant to symbolize the bridging of generations. To help build this bridge, we can to listen to, learn from, and tell the stories of our families. What stories have you been told? What was life like for your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles before you were born? While you were too young to remember? Let’s have a conversation.
My parents were born in Cà Mau, what I like to call the San Diego of Vietnam. Their homes laid alongside a calm, clear river. At the front was the bustle of people selling, buying, going to and from school, etc. At the back was the river, where some sold produce from their canoes, and others swam. Still others like my mom, who wasn’t allowed to get too close to the water, watched (or collected seaweed with a stick only to push it back into the river). Of course as nice as that sounds, my parents couldn’t just be children; they had to work. Their families owned businesses. In fact, they were fairly well off, and fairly well respected.
My dad’s family sold candy and other snacks. He told me that when he was little, he would sneak downstairs to eat candy before going to sleep (it was common for people to live upstairs and run businesses downstairs). You can imagine the assortment of snacks he was able to choose from then. Even more, they were all homemade. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
My mom’s family owned two businesses: one that sold fabric, and another that sold incense, “ghost money”, etc. The first time I went to buy fabric with her, she told me how they used to measure and cut the fabric – apparently much more nicely and efficiently. I remember wishing they still sold fabric, because then I would have an array of sewing material at my disposal.
So that’s an introduction to my family. It may not be anything particularly interesting, but it’s an important part of my family history, and a significant part of my bridge. I’m curious about yours. Leave a quick comment or submit your own article. Let us know what you think: should we continue with stories like these? And if yes, will you help us gather them?
4th Year Undergraduate Student at University of California, San Diego
Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Major