Pearl Earrings

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

My grandmother and five of her children immigrated to the United States in 1980 to escape communism in Vietnam. My grandfather did not make the journey over until 1990, when he was released from prison for fighting in the military against communism. Their remaining two children stayed back in Vietnam with other relatives, unable to escape until many years later.  When I was little, my grandmother would tell me endless stories of her life back in Vietnam. Having seven children, my grandparents struggled financially to provide adequate food and shelter for all of their children. A number of my uncles and aunts were sent to live with other relatives, and a few of them spent very little of their childhood with my grandmother. Despite their hardships, they were able to find peace in their poor living conditions. This pair of pearl earrings is a gift my grandmother gave me ten years ago. It was one of the few and rare luxurious things that she owned when she lived in Vietnam. She also wore these during her journey to America. My grandparents wanted a better future for their children. They wanted to be able to live with their children all under one roof, have food on the table every night, and be able to feel safe enough to have a good night’s sleep. They worked hard and overcame the racial injustice they were met with when they came to this country, and now my grandparents and their children are living the American Dream that they so desperately longed for. 

Place(s): Vietnam

– TL

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant