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I and my homesickness on Tet Holiday

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I and my homesickness on Tet Holiday

That was my first Tet holiday in Japan, and also the first time I have understood how feeling homesick really is.

Tớ là Nhi

Tớ là Nhi

Published on 09 Feb, 12:00

If you are curious about my first days in Japan and thoughts of homesickness on Tet holiday, read the the first part here:

My homesickness and the warmth from my compatriots in Japan

My first New Year in Japan was celebrated in the dormitory while most of my Japanese friends came home with their families. The exciting atmosphere of their arranging luggage, buying gifts, calling their family to pick up at the train station, pulling suitcases and saying goodbye to each other made me want to come back home as fast as possible in order to decorate home with my parents.

My Tet party in dormitory
My Tet party in dormitory

Although there are many differences in traditions, foods and the ways of celebrating Tet between Japanese and Vietnamese people, their family connection and reunion on Tet are the things I felt most vivid. Then the image of me and my family bonding together during Tet days also crossed my mind. Thus, since New Year, I had been having a sense of sadness and thinking about Vietnamese Tet holiday.

Like Vietnam, Japan also sets off fireworks to welcome Tet
Like Vietnam, Japan also sets off fireworks to welcome Tet

Though Japan celebrates New Year based on the Solar calendar, a Japanese friend of mine was very observant and remembered that Vietnamese people, on the other hand, usually welcome Lunar New Year.

Hence, several days before Tet, she asked me whether Vietnamese Tet was coming and whether I was upset. When I nodded my head admitting that I was slightly missing home and Vietnamese food, she took out a bottle of fish sauce from her pocket to send me as a gift.

She said she did not have much understanding of Vietnamese cuisine, only knowing that fish sauce and "Pho" (rice noodles) of Vietnam were very famous. Therefore, she bought a bottle of fish sauce to give me so that I would not miss my homeland's food.

Such a tiny gift and little concern made me touched and speechless.

No matter how warmly my friends treated me, I was always feeling a bit empty, homesick and remembered the conversations in Vietnamese so much. A few days after Tet (because we still had to take exams on Tet holiday), the Vietnamese community at school gathered and organized a small event called "Tet Party". That was a really special day for me.

At first, I was excited to join the party only due to the thought that I would eat traditional dishes of Tet to soften my feelings of homesickness. However, it was because I was in the sound and light team of the event, I would certainly not be able to enjoy the party to the fullest.

To my surprise, what I received was the warmth, sincere love and mutual support among people.

Although the hall was dark with only some flickering spotlights, I could see my friends leaning on each other's shoulders crying silently in their nostalgia. In that dim light, I also saw one of my friends hugging his girlfriend to cry, though he was a very strong guy.

Perhaps at that moment, I realized that only by leaning on each other's shoulders, hugging them warmly whenever we were in trouble and whenever we missed home can we overcome all challenges during the time in a foreign country, despite the fact that we were just a small Vietnamese community. And I also found my shoulder being tapped warmly by a friend when I suddenly burst into tears.

And I felt that I was not alone, that each person faraway from home also had his own story, but the thing we had in common was our nostalgia and eternal love for our home.

A sister on the stage singing a song called "Tet Xa" (meaning: Tet far from home) passionately, with all of her love and grief, made the whole people in the hall cry quietly.

A friend sitting over there was extremely eager to see the braised pork, his favourite dish on Tet holiday, laid on the table. My team and I also forgot to control the lights and turn on the lamps after those deep moments, since we were busy wiping our tears.

Eventually, I have recognized that although everyone has his own feelings, all of the happy or sad memories, the warm meals cooked by our moms, and the strict lessons from our dads always stay with us however far we go.

Wherever I am, I always remember our Tet holidays when my dad wearing a suit stepped down from the upper floor to give us lucky money, and my mom was busy preparing rice in the kitchen to worship our ancestors. I also remember the sweet and crunchy taste of the spring rolls made by my grandfather, and the voice of my younger brother asking for lucky money stridently and insistently.

I have also realized that being faraway helps me understand how much I love such simple things. Going far is to know how much I love my family and hometown.

And going far turns out to be coming back home.

And going far turns out to be...coming back!
And going far turns out to be...coming back!

I hope that you will always treasure every moment together with your family, and always want to come back home wherever you are! See you in the next article!

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Tớ là Nhi

Tớ là Nhi

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