I was around eight when I remembered the first few moments of my mom teaching my sister and I how to read a Vietnamese children’s storybook. With the colorful, thin book in her hand, my mom would call for us to sit on the pale, wrinkled couch that made us sink every time we sat down. It is hard for me to recall what exactly the story was about but I do remember it being quite difficult for me to comprehend because of all the words that appeared foreign to me; each page that was read had a new set of vocabulary that seemed to not want to register in my brain. Inevitably, my parents caught onto the fact that English was developing faster in us and therefore didn’t allow any English to be spoken in the house. We were only to listen, watch, and speak in anything relating to Vietnamiese. Now this may sound terrible, which looking back now I would agree as well, but it has helped me catch on to words and tie them to their meanings. My reading gradually improved on the long run and eventually the house rule of the ‘no English deal’ ceased since my sister and I proved ourselves to be able to handle being bilingual, which I came to appreciate later on in life.
September 16, 2019