The Missing Piece
Living abroad has always been a popular desire for anyone wishing to learn many new cultures. It took me almost two years as an international student to experience foreign culture, people, and the food. Among multiple cultures and languages in the United States, it is such a big deal for immigrants to adopt easily. However, many families who have immigrated to America still continue some of the basic tradition in their home country. Living and experiencing life in a different country now are not really matter anymore but always reminds me a life back in Vietnam. Specifically, two of the most important customs that my family usually does are saying of “thank you” before having a breakfast in the morning and the breaking bread during Christmas.
Unlike the United States, at seven am on the cold morning in Saigon, it’s not hard to find one of the greatest breakfasts in the world. In Vietnam, people start a day with a steaming bowl of Pho, a noodle soup, and before eating, we say thank you to each other which is a cheesy thing that I used to not like it at all when I was seventeen. However, I recognized that it is a unique and awesome tradition to show gratitude for still alive. Feelings of happiness in the morning help people become more enthusiastic through the rest of a day. In the U.S, however, breakfast is totally different from any country in the world. The menu for breakfast usually has a different types of food such as potatoes pancake with syrup, fried eggs, bacon, sliced bread or toast with butter. Also, The U.S has a brunch which is like a late breakfast between twelve or one pm. One time, I saw a couple of elderly people eating a big burger for breakfast and that impressed me. It likes the feeling you have when you see someone wears Halloween costume on Christmas. In addition, the way people have a breakfast kind of rushing. people don’t really enjoy the moment. Somebody just has a tiny sandwich and eats it quickly on the train or on the road while walking to work even in the car. Apparently, people don’t love breakfast as much as I do nor do they care how or what they are going to eat in the morning. In Vietnam, people believe that if you have a good healthy breakfast, you will save a lot of energy for a day.
Christmas is the king of all the holidays in Vietnam. One of my greatest joys is seeing my father breaks bread during Christmas Eve meal. As usual, the eldest in the family takes a big loaf of bread and breaks it into a pieces then he hands down to each of his children. The event usually happens in the devout family. Since this little event occurred, all of members in my family have been more excited before the holiday coming. The breaking bread process was always fun. Simply and classically. I couldn’t imagine some day if I lost those memories, I might be left out and lose one of the most important connection with my family. I was invited to a real American Christmas meal last year by my first American friend. The dinner amazed me honestly. The moment when I stepped into my friend’s house through the front door was like when the kid first sees Disneyland. The decoration was a little bit different but the food was insanely strange for me. In front of my plate was a big roast turkey with mashed potato and hams on the side. I loved it and felt like I was a part of the family. Excepting in my mind suddenly had a flash which was making my eyes saw a missing spot in my brain. I am still absolutely sure that spot was the picture of my classic Christmas with my family.
Obviously, living abroad is an adventure, but it has been more challenging myself than I expected. The possibility of missing my family and my usual habit happens over and over again even though it has almost been two years. I just wish I could say thank you before having breakfast with my American friends and actually I have started doing it. Even though I had to explain why I said it to my friends every time and it made me feel silly and yet homesick. And somehow, I feel like I have to find the final missing piece to win the puzzle game. I haven’t found it yet or even I could find it, I want to keep it for myself. I don’t want to win the game because for me the puzzle game is like the picture of an American Christmas and the breakfast at eleven am. The missing piece belongs to my soul. If I lost it, I would lose myself for good.