Thursday, July 05, 2007


This is dad’s quê hương, his village hometown. He has not seen this place in 54 years but we were able to make it. We found where his house use to stand; it is now a school for little children. The part where the pond use to be is now cemented over and a house is built on top of it.

The most amazing thing about this part of the trip is that one, we were able to find the location of the house period, and that some of the original structure is still standing. Again, one remembers his own home only by the steps he takes and how many landmarks pass by. My dad, after 54 years, remembered that we have to cross 6 bridges before we make a right onto a dirt road, then walk 2 blocks in, left at the alley that leads to the church his father built, and behind it to his home. Craziness. Bác Dung’s room is still there, but the rest is replaced by a new structure.

Two, grandfather Bai Lan (real name: Lê Xuân Khanh) had 4 brothers, and built 4 houses around each other. One of the houses is still in perfect condition and is owned by a man that went to school with my dad. The old man who bought the house actually recognized my dad’s face and even said that he remembered our family because my dad went to school with girls in first grade!!! How unbelievable is that?!
We also went searching for Ông Bai Lan’s grave and actually found it with the help of the man that lives in dad’s house now. The man purchased the house when the Communists left, filled the pond with cement and built his home over the pond. Today, his son takes care of his land for him but we did not have enough time to visit the inside of the home. He wanted us to stay so that we can exchange stories but we were pressed for time, and were forced to move on to Phát Diệm.

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