I return to my countryside last August after 10 years, enough time to be homesick!
After almost 2 hours flight, my small brother and I arrived at Noi Bai Airport in Ha Noi. As soon as we got off the plane, we took a taxi for Thanh Hoa…

When we arrived near my village, I asked the driver to slow down. I was admiring the mountains, the river and the fields. I would like to observe the rice and to climb. My heart was filled with joy.

When the taxi took the road of the village, I was agitated. On the edge of the path, the small guardians of buffaloes were looking at me with big eyes. They didn’t know me and were noisily laughing while running after the taxi with curiosity. The elderly and the villagers were recognizing me but there were not sure until the taxi stopped in front of my house. When the taxi driver opened the door, they said: “Do you see? Lam, Son’son, is back…”

All the neighbors arrived. My brother greeted them before helping me to sit in my wheelchair. They kissed me, crying. I was touched…
The evening, all the villagers came to visit me. Nobody wanted to go home because there were so many things to say. I was so happy that I couldn’t sleep.

My mother was so happy to see me again after 10 years. I knew that she was hiding her sadness under her smile so I could feel happy. She knew all the dishes that I didn’t eat for a very long time. She said that every day she would cook my favorite plates. The shadows under her eyes, her salt and pepper hair and her calloused hands broke my heart.

My father was as thin as a skeleton, his forehead wrinkled. He didn’t stop working to take care of us. I felt guilty not being able to help them.

I offered them one of my collections of poetry and a CD on which I was reading my poems. Everybody listened and read attentively. Some cried.

I couldn’t meet all my friends and my teachers because they had moved. My village had changed so much in 10 years. Stored houses had been built, roads had been concreted. I was happy to see all these improvements.

When I left, my old sister was married and had a 2 years old son. Now she has three so cute children. At the beginning, they were too afraid to approach me. My smallest brother was only 8 when I left but now he is an 18 years old young adult. He was a little embarrassed with me. But thanks to the warm meals, the stories and the discussions, we finally got closer.

I couldn’t hold back my emotions about the feelings of my relatives. Every day they brought me fruits, chicken, pigeons, grapefruits… All this had warmed my heart.

Every evening, at sunset, I contemplated the green rice fields, the storks and the mountains near our house with my brother. We also visited our relatives, our neighbors. They all welcomed us warmly. We could discuss and I was very happy.

Fifteen days passed too quickly. I wanted to make up lost time but it was not possible. The days spent at my countryside remind me the importance of the family. I was waiting for that moment since so many years. Inevitably the date to return to Saigon arrived. I was very sad. The entire village gathered at my parents’ house to kiss me and give me advice for my health. They were saying “see you again”. I didn’t want to leave my homeland, my family, and my neighbors once again but I had to despite my sadness. It is life!

They were all waving their hands when I got in the car. In the crowd, I saw the tears on the face of my mother and sister. I promised myself to live well and come back again. Goodbye my lovely home … and see you soon!

Ngoc Lam