My mum is the most amazing woman I have ever met. I would say that because she is my mum. And because I am her daughter, I know her so well, all my life – that I qualify when I say that she is the most amazing woman I have ever met.
The Three Of Us – Saigon 1980
When I was little, I used to write to my father all the time. He left her when my brother was 5 and I was 7. We had only just been in the UK for 2 years, he put us into school and got us housing from the council, then disappeared.
As I learned how to write and speak in English, I used to scribble away with my bic pen, pushing hard onto the paper as I go, causing my middle right hand finger to enlarge. I used to write how much we all missed him, which made my mum sad and cry. She didn’t really know where to send it – so she just sent it to my Grandmother – in hope that soon enough she would pass it onto my father. She was confident that I will be a writer when I grew up.
My mum thought my writing was brilliant because it moved her – although, in all fairness, she was probably just moved by the subject. When my brother and I were on school holidays or at the weekends, we used to play my dad’s records. He had a large collection of LPs that he left behind– he was really into music and had a great late 70s and 80s collection of everything from The Bee Gees, Abba, Blondie to Richard Clayderman.
One of our favourites was The Carpenters – we used to mimick in between playing ‘post office’ with her hair comb, ‘why do birds, suddenly appear…every time, you are near?’ My mum would believe that we were good enough to become pop stars.
And so, she worked day and night, not only to feed us but to invest in our future: she bought us a brand new piano. She wanted my brother and I to be like The Carpenters. Unfortunately, she couldn’t keep up on piano lesson fees since we couldn’t even practice on it because the walls were too thin for the neighbours to bare –blah blah black sheep.
My mum bought us up believing in anything we did and supported it no matter how grand (or silly) the idea. From helping me open a boutique to looking after my dog whilst I traveled the world to taking my shoes to be repaired (as she knows how much I love shoes). Sometimes, she helps us at the supper club to make sure that we get all our Vietnamese dishes spot on, traditional and completely yummy.
I love my mum. She loves to cook. She loves to eat and I learn everything Vietnamese from her.