Silver Watch

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Before trying to escape from Vietnam in 1988, my mother received this silver watch from her best friend. They met each other in primary school, and fifteen years later, they had to go their own separate ways. In fact, more than 130,000 people fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. My mother was one of the “boat people” who risked their lives on rickety fishing boats in order to escape political and economic hardships. She boarded a small boat that occupied approximately 375 people. She couldn’t bring much of her possessions due to the limited space, but she managed to safely bring this watch overseas. Along this harsh journey, there were low supplies and my mother had no choice but to drink only a cap full of water each day to avoid dehydration – she did not know whether she was going to survive. Six days and five nights passed, and my mother finally saw birds flying in the sky. She arrived to Malaysia, where she waited in a refugee camp to be permanently accepted by a third country. After a long and complicated process, she was allowed to come to America. Fortunately, my mother’s best friend was also able to escape to the U.S. and they have remained to be very close friends. Even my family and my mother’s friend’s family occasionally have gatherings during holidays. Although this silver watch has stopped ticking, it persists as a reminder that their friendship transcends all barriers. When my mother left Vietnam, she didn't know what her future will hold, but time will tell.

Place(s): Vietnam
Year: 1988

– Kathy Tran

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