Landing in America

Part 2 of Quynh Forss Epic Journey to America


Madison Forss, Staff Writer

Immigrating from another country and landing in America isn’t an easy task. This held to be true for my mom and her family. After spending months at a refugee camp in Hong Kong, where my family slept on the floor, dealt with a newborn baby, and tackling the anxiety of the whole journey, they eventually made it to the United States. Until my mom and her family could afford their one-room apartment in Denver, Colorado, they stayed with her grandparents. Through the years in America, my grandparents continued to have children, totaling two boys and three girls.

Growing up not knowing English nor having parents who could teach you English, my mom, and her siblings had to teach themselves the language of their fellow classmates.

“I didn’t speak English and remember practicing every day to sound like my classmates in elementary school. I repeated things I heard on TV and rehearsed words in the mirror.”

The language barrier wasn’t the biggest obstacle my mom and her siblings had to face. With growing up in a different climate, my grandparents were very strict. Believing “nothing good happened to teenagers after 9 pm”, there wasn’t much room for anything besides good grades and working in the Nguyen household. Getting good grades was their top concern and the academic focus benefitted my mom and her siblings, having 4/5 of them attend CU Boulder.

The school wasn’t the only focus for them, however. My grandparents started a gas station where my uncles worked all day every day. Having a business like a gas station was draining for my family but their perseverance and drive continued to shine through.