Goodbye Billings

 

Today, April 30th 2013, I have to say goodbye Billings to return Missoula. 12 days have elapsed quickly. I had a very nice and meaning time. I have been working in an environment totally devoted to people with disabilities. At COR, I have been visiting several facilities, the workplace of people with disabilities, such as government buildings,… I also visited Billings Food Bank,… Unexpectedly, that was a first time I saw a Food Bank, I wondered why people get the word “Food Bank” to name their bank. I did not know that there is a Food Bank. People donate food and these foods are packaged into smaller packages by people with disabilities who are volunteers here. And then they will use these foods for distribution to the disadvantaged people such as homeless, low-income families,… I have accumulated a lot of experiences for my job at home. I have received enthusiastic guidance of Tony, Leigh and their colleagues. I had the opportunity to share my work and learn from COR.

A happy memory in the first day, when I came to COR, a guy with disability, he just looked at me and tried to talk to me. Before the good-bye, he gave me a wink as he wanted to say that: “I will see again and there will be many interesting things to say anymore”. The next days, when I went to COR, where he works, he often seeked to talk to me, but I just drop by there, I didn’t have much time there. Last time, when I prepared for leaving from there, he followed me and handed me a paper – the unpainted picture and he said that he only wanted to give me. I can only say thank you and goodbye.

I also visited the second hand shop, I met Cindy, Katie and everyone there. We had a fun conversation and promised to keep in touch. At COR, I also had the ideas for my activities in Vietnam. By the inspection and distribution of the donation items, I had a sense of this business model. I am sure that there will be a lot of differences between COR and our work in Vietnam, but I think I can apply this model.

And now, what I want to talk about, which are the memories of Gail’s house in Billings. In the first days here, I was very homesick, but I was lucky to have Gail’s attention. She looks like my mom. We had delightful meals. I tried to give Gail the traditional cuisine of my homeland so that Gail can learn more about the life and people of Vietnam. I cooked some dishes such as Pho, Vietnamese rice, spring rolls, .. Unfortunately I could not find fish sauce there, so I replaced with soy sauce. And we called Vietnamese Foods but American Style. We had a lot of fun from these meals. And I remember when I prepared breakfast with rice and pork. Gail said: “This is the first time, during the 75 years of my life, I have rice at breakfast but it is really good” …

In the future, I will remember for ever a short time which I can wander and enjoy the natural beauty of Yellowstone National Park. Tony spent his Saturday to take us to there. The beautiful and natural scenes with snow covered out made me forgot all the fatigue after the long journey and I silently thank to Tony for bringing me there. I knew that Tony was very tired for a long drive, but Tony also made me feel reassured by his smile. I wished that I can drive so that our long journey becomes shorter.

I don’t want to say goodbye but I have to do that. The people say that: “The life is a succession of days of reunion and separation”. In my life I have experienced many days of separation and reunion like that. And now, reunion and separation,…

Goodbye Billings! Goodbye my friends who helped me in the past time. It is difficult for me to return to Billings, but I am sure that you will stay in my heart forever and these are great moments in my life that I will remember forever. Finally, I would like to say thank you so much to Gail, Tony, Leigh and all friends at COR and I wish you a good health and success in your life. I wish to welcome you to visit Vietnam and Hue city – where I am living. I am sure that there will be a lot of fun that is waiting for you there.

Phuong
Vietnam

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