Hai Cao tells his story of evacuating from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Hai was 19 years old and lived in Saigon with their parents and two sisters. When the withdrawal of Army Republic of Vietnam began, they quickly packed their belongings and loaded onto an overcrowded ship and made it to Subic Naval Base in the Philippines.
The family eventually resettled in Seattle, where their uncle was living. Hai worked as a janitor and went back to school, eventually becoming an engineer.
Hai outlines some of the common struggles that Vietnamese immigrants face in the US, including some major cultural differences. Vietnamese families usually have multiple generations living under the same roof. Grandparents are never questioned. But in the US, adults and parents must accept their children’s independence and expectations.