Supermarket

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
1980 Supermarket

          My dad was born in Vietnam and lived there until he, his mother, sister, and brother migrated to America. Right after the Vietnam War, his family decided to leave Vietnam because their government changed into a communism. When they heard about a boat leaving Vietnam at midnight, they packed up and snuck out in the middle of the night for the boat. As soon as they paid for the boat, they got on and stayed on it for three weeks. It took them to Malaysia, where they stayed in a refugee camp until they were assigned to a sponsor family by an organization that helped refugees from Vietnam. After spending eighteen months in Malaysia, my dad and his family rode on a plane to America in February in 1980. When they arrived to America, they met their sponsor family, a Jewish family that took care of them until their life was settled. A few days after their first arrival in America, the sponsor family took them to go shopping at a supermarket (similar to the one in the photo). It was my dad’s very first trip to a supermarket. The smell of the supermarket left such a lasting impression that he still remembers the first time he smelled it. He specifically described to me that it was the smell of the supermarket air conditioner mixed in with the smell of cold cuts, ham, and cheese. This was something he never experienced in Vietnam because there were no supermarkets, only food stands and farms. The supermarket symbolizes the change in my dad’s life when he migrated to America.

Year: 1980

– Winnie To

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