Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Little Lady From Vietnam Made Waiting In A Long Texas Line Less Annoying

Yesterday, while I was aggravated regarding the Third World backwardness of the Texas Driver's License Renewal process, I did what I usually do when I'm aggravated, as in do my best to turn the lemon into lemonade.

I was helped in the lemonade making process by the funny people I was in the Soviet-style line with.

I just ended a sentence with a preposition. I should have said funny people with whom I was in line.

Somewhere around the hour mark, in the slow moving line, the Little Lady behind me said something regarding when she moved to Texas from Oklahoma. This Little Lady had had me laughing for an hour at that point. And she laughed heartily at my attempts at being amusing. I always appreciate it when people laugh at my attempts at being amusing.

When the Little Lady said she'd moved from Oklahoma I wondered to myself if she was Native American. But, one does not directly ask such things. At least I don't.

Soon after the one hour mark a guy came up to the Little Lady and said something to her in a foreign language. She replied in a foreign language. I thought it might be Cherokee or Choctaw or Comanche.

So, I asked the Little Lady what that language was that she was speaking.

Vietnamese, she told me. Vietnamese? You're from Vietnam asked I?

Yes, she said, she got to America in 1975.

1975? She confirmed the year with a nod.

You escaped on a boat? Yes, she replied.

Did you already speak English when you were in Vietnam? No, she said she had to learn English fast once she got to America.

But, you speak perfect English, with no accent, said I. She thanked me for that remark and others around us then chimed in with their amazement at her perfect English.

She said when the war ended, with the north taking over, the people she was a nanny for quickly had to escape, taking her with them. She did not have time to tell her mom. She got to America and began writing letters to her mom. It took 9 years, in 1984, for the Little Lady from Vietnam to hear back from her mom, that her mom now knew she was safe, in America.

When the Little Lady from Vietnam arrived in America she was placed in holding camps at forts in Arkansas, and then Oklahoma, waiting for a sponsor. Eventually, in what year, I did not ask, a Texan in Arlington became her sponsor.

I think a lot of Texans in Arlington must have become sponsors, which is why Arlington has such a large Vietnamese community.

Six years ago, the Little Lady from Vietnam was able to return to Vietnam, to Danang, to see her mom for the first time in 31 years.

I asked if Vietnam had changed a lot from the way she remembered it.

She said she'd become so spoiled by life in America that Vietnam was a bit of a shock to her. No air-conditioning was one shock. The Little Lady from Vietnam said she did not like how unsanitary Vietnam was, and that she was shocked to see men urinating at the side of the road as she toured the country. The Texan in line behind the Little Lady from Vietnam chimed in with, oh, I see that here in Texas. I then said, I've done that myself in Texas.

The Little Lady from Vietnam  had a very hearty laugh, which erupted frequently. How do you get another language's humor and be funny yourself in that other language?

The rest of the time in the long line, waiting to get our ticket to get in the next line, moved real fast after all of us around the Little Lady found out she was a Boat Person from Vietnam.

After we got our tickets the Little Lady from Vietnam and I figured out how to answer the questions on the small print form we had to fill out. The first question was are you a United States Citizen. The Little Lady from Vietnam read that question and said I'm working on it.

I think the Little Lady from Vietnam should be granted citizen status with no further delay.

The United States took in around 823,000 Vietnamese after 1975.

Many of those Vietnamese have become very successful Americans.

I suspect all those successful Vietnamese Americans have probably paid more in taxes, in the years after 1975, than what the United States spent on the Vietnam War.

I have no idea what point I am trying to make.

No comments: