I- The Lone Star
Maybe you don’t know just yet, but “Lone Star” is Texas’s nickname. On May 16, I spent the last night with my Lone Star. I came to Texas 5 years ago, much more innocent and less cynical. There have been so many things happening here, things I would never forget as they already became a part of who I am.
But do I love Texas?
Funny how things are, you know. Some people you love by choice, because they’re cool, they’re beautiful or they get you. But some others, you only feel the connection after winding up being with them for a really long time. I have a long list of what I don’t like about Texas: its extremely hot and humid weather, its too plain prairies, its lack of artsy atmosphere, its being a Southern state… The list goes on and on. For a while at the beginning, I didn’t like Texas at all. I thought I only came here because it was more affordable. If my family were richer, I would make it to somewhere more fancy and exciting, like New York or Boston, to name just a few. But as time went by, I eventually fell under the Texas’ spell.
The stereotype about the Southern states is actually not true for Texas in my opinion. For five years living here, I haven’t seen a single Confederate flag except for that time I visited the Capitol in Austin. I’m not saying that there is no extreme racist Texan, but it is not as overwhelming as the rumor goes. And believe me, Florida is so much worse (my apology goes to my Floridian readers, but the opinion stays firm.)
Somehow Texas is like your country’s grumpy but so kind uncle. He might be quite conservative and narrow-minded, but his heart is good, and you know that. If you have a homosexual wedding, he wil not like it but attend it anyway, because you’re his little kiddo. He’s not sophisticated, especially in arts, and usually boring, yet you might be surprised one day when you gotta listen to him playing his guitar. Texas is conservative and thick-headed, but also simple and generous.
With that being said, maybe you don’t see Texas the way I see. After all, this is just my personal feeling and experience.
The last night I was there, while I bid adieu with my beloved Lone Star, I tried to recall every moments in Texas, starting on the day I touched down at the DFW airport. My first car, a black 2-door Honda Accord. That time I got addicted to McDonald’s chicken nugget and usually finished off an 18-piece box in one go. How Iris introduced Buffalo Wild Wings to me and I got my second addiction. That night we went to watch Avengers at The Parks AMC. Zi’s birthday when we celebrated in a school’s parking lot. I tried to remember all of them while I was still a Texan.
II- My Aunts
Ultimately, I tried so hard to engrave my aunts’ images in my heart. I haven’t been a good niece at all, the connection was very loose. Usually it was months between times I went to visit my aunts. I don’t know if it’s me or something runs in the family, but I didn’t have that much of a connection. My aunts live in another world which I’m not familiar with. I didn’t want to hear about how I should get a green card or some lucky girl who got married to a citizen. Plus my laziness and messed up studying schedule, I have missed most of the family gatherings. And I used to think it was totally okay.
Yet that night, I realized it wasn’t.
My aunts, even though we barely met, are indeed my second family here. They are my mother’s sisters. I don’t know how to explain but thinking about that fact amazed me. There is an undeniable link between them and me, which I only see when it’s already too late. And then came another realization that freaked me out: I might not see my aunts again in many years to come. I will go back to Vietnam and God knows how long til the next time I meet them.
I reallly want to tell my aunts how regretful I feel. I wish I had visited them more often. But it is too late now. It really is.
I want to tell them how much I appreciate what they gave me. Food, accommodation, money, but you know what, I even feel grateful for those times they told me I should marry a citizen. After all, it’s their way to care about their silly niece, who was too arrogant and stupid to put her ego away. After all, now that I think back, I did have a warm feeling whenever I came to their houses. Only because my ego was too big, it blinded me with my annoyance.
If I could turn back time and live my early 20s all over again, I would visit my aunts more frequently and listen to their stories. I would just let it go when they talk about the green card and focus on what’s more important – we’re a family.
Dì Giao, dì Ba, dì Tư, con nhớ mấy dì lắm. Cảm ơn mấy dì đã luôn quan tâm tới con. Con chúc mấy dì, mấy cậu với mấy em khoẻ mạnh, hạnh phúc nha.