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Photo of Bà Ngoại

Photo of Bà Ngoại

Máy Bay

As Told By: Anonymous


  • My Name is Anonymous
  • I am based in Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • This story is about my family
  • Text 2

    Text 1

  • Childhood Address: Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Departure Location: Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Departure Year: 1975
  • Camp 1: Guam (United States)
  • Camp 2: Camp Pendleton, California (United States)
  • Text 1

  • Resettlement Location: Perris, CA, USA
  • Resettlement Year: 1975
  • My Story

    00:00 / 01:04

    "Bye, Bà Ngoại," I say, waving to my grandmother. 

    "See you soon!" "Máy bay, con," she responds, waving in turn. 

    My grandmother and mother left Vietnam in April 1975, not long before the Fall of Saigon. Aboard a military plane, they left Saigon, leaving behind their family, friends, house, and belongings. 

    What thoughts went through my grandmother's head, as the plane took off and the ground receded from view? She didn't know then whether she would ever be able to return to her beloved homeland. She couldn't know then that it would be last time that she would see her older brother, an ARVN colonel, who would be publicly executed for refusing to surrender at the end of the war. 

    That fateful departure has left its trace in my grandmother's language. When bidding farewell, she says "máy bay" instead of "goodbye," calling to mind that original departure of a refugee from her homeland. Each time we part--however quotidian or momentous--she bears witness to our family's refugee story.

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