Junior Uyen Huynh emigrates from Vietnam to the United States

Junior Uyen Huynh (left) spends the evening in Washington D.C. with her friends.

I immigrated to the United States with my parents in 2008.
I was born in Vietnam and lived there for about five years before we moved here.
One of the reasons why my parents decided to immigrate was to be closer to family.
My grandparents and uncles on my mom’s side had immigrated to the U.S. right after the Vietnam War.
However, my mom couldn’t immigrate with them due to document issues, so she stayed in Vietnam by herself.
After she married my dad and had me, she wanted to move to Virginia so that she could see her parents and brothers more often.
Even though I got to come live near my mom’s side of the family, it meant that I had to leave my dad’s side of the family behind since they were still in Vietnam.
I was devastated because I knew I wouldn’t be able to see them every day like I used to do.
I still remember he details of the day I left Vietnam very clearly.
My grandparents and aunts on my dad’s side came with us to the airport to see us off.
I remember seeing my grandma being very sad as she said her good-byes to me.
At that time, I didn’t get why she was sad since I was too little to understand that we would be permanently leaving Vietnam.
I thought we were just taking a trip to visit other family.
When I got off the plane in the U.S., I remember being super happy to see my other grandma.
I was also excited because I was witnessing a new country for the first time.
We immigrated during winter, so the day we arrived I was able to see snow for the first time.
I started school soon after we arrived.
I didn’t know a single word of English, so navigating through preschool was a little tough.
However, since I was still very young, I was able to pick up the language super quickly.
I also struggled with getting use to the new foods and lifestyle in America.
I was so used to eating Vietnamese foods that I didn’t want any American food.
My first year in America wasn’t the greatest because I got very homesick and missed my old life.
In Vietnam, people are very social and would leave their homes to walk to the markets or to the parks every day, and since I couldn’t do that here, I felt very confined.
The challenges of adjusting also made me want to go back to Vietnam even more.
However, after the first year, I got a little more used to things so the feelings of wanting to go home went away.
Since then, I have fully adapted to life here in the U.S. and I love it.
I now love the food and it feels like home.
I have made many new friends who I enjoy hanging out with.
At school, I participate in many extracurricular activities, such as Green Atoms, Just World, National Honor Society, and more.
Even though I’m not begging my parents to move back to Vietnam anymore, I still do get homesick from time to time.
Ever since I immigrated, I haven’t been back to visit once, which is really sad.
I plan on taking a trip there the summer after I graduate to visit family again.