I’ve been back to the Netherlands since Sunday afternoon. I’ve had such an emotional roller coaster ride during the past few weeks. We celebrated my mother’s birthday for the first time with all of us together in one room. My siblings took me out to dinner for my be-lated birthday celebration and bought me a chocolate ice cream cake. They later took me shopping for new clothes and new shoes so I can be back to school in style.

To top it off, the most wonderful event in my life occurred on late evening of September 30th. I got a call that night from a friend of the family asking for my youngest sister. She wanted to know my phone number. After a few minutes, she realized that she was talking to me. The nice lady handed the phone to a man, who was no other than my Papa. He was in town for a funeral and asked if I would meet him in person. I said yes to the invitation and went to meet a man I have often thought about all these years but never knew what he looks like or if he is still alive or not.

The meeting was emotional for both of us. I cried a little bit of course and Papa told me to be strong and not to cry. He gave me pictures of my younger siblings and told me a little bit about each of them. The departure was rather painful, mostly for Papa I think. We promised each other to keep in good contact and I told Papa I will pay everyone a visit in a couple of months.

After our meeting, I found out Papa’s birthday was only a few days away. What a great news it was for me, to know for the first time in my life when my father’s birthday is. I want him to live forever so I can celebrate his birthday and make up for the lost time.

I also found out about my Grand-Papa who was in the hospital back in Laos. I’ve met him during my years in elementary school and have spent a great deal of time with him. At the time I didn’t know he was my Grand-Papa. At 96 years old Grand-Papa was in the hospital because he couldn’t speak or eat. I knew the worse news will come sooner or later.

Then last Saturday (7th of October) I received a call from Papa with the sad news a couple of hours before I left for the airport. Grand-Papa has passed away on Friday night. I thought about how I woke up after 3 hours of sleep due to a nightmare that I couldn’t recall. My heart was pounding so fast and I thought about Grand-Papa as I sat up on my bed.

It was an emotional day for me. Papa was very sad because he wanted Grand-Papa to make it to his 97th birthday, which is today. I felt so bad for the entire family and for myself. I was just getting to know my Papa and wanted so much to see Grand-Papa in the near future. The only comfort I found was the thought of knowing that I have spent time with my Grand-Papa and have fond memories of him.

Grand-Papa’s funeral was on Sunday in a traditional Buddhist customs. Rest in Peace Grand-Papa. Thank you for letting me hang around the construction sites and for telling me that I could be anything I want in life, even though I am a girl.