My mother escaped war twice—once from the Vietnam War with her immediate family, and once more from her ex-husband with my brother and I. When peers ask me why I “would ever move from California to a place like New Jersey,” it sometimes is difficult to explain to them that it was to seek safety and refuge. Likewise, it is quite difficult to respond to “where is your home?” with an authentic response according to the commonly limited transparency of social conventions.
Nonetheless, to have an opportunity to travel for school (let alone be able to attend school and have at least one parent’s financial support) is an extreme privilege in itself. My mother essentially sacrificed everything for my brother and I to have the childhood, education, and opportunities that she couldn’t have.
The least I can do now in return is to thrive as wholly as I can from the seeds and nutrients that she has nurtured me to grow.