Ten Minutes at Miami Beach

I flew into Miami for 1.5 days to help one of my best friends get settled in her her new home. Which meant 13 hours of manual labor, 10 of which was spent painting. We managed to take two meal breaks outside of her new house and a ten minute visit to Miami Beach on our way to the airport. I told her why Miami Beach in particular made me think of my dad. My dad has hardly had any days off of work in at least 17 years. He doesn’t even take the weekends or holidays off. He’s taken a total of 6 days off in this time, all day trips for high school and college graduations for my brother and me and a couple of day visits to Austin and San Antonio. (My brother lives in San Antonio.)

I’ve been negligent in my goal of transcribing my dad’s journal depicting his life in Vietnam, his years spent in a reeducation camp, and the beginning of his escape from Vietnam post war. In one of the few passages I transcribed, he wrote about his dreams of coming to Miami Beach.

People stayed quiet and looked out the ocean. They seemed to be in some kind of meditation. Besides worrying about the safety of the trip, the sea worthiness of the boat, and the danger of encountering the Thai pirates, did we really leave Vietnam behind? Would we ever see Vietnam again? What about the loved ones that we left behind? What will be waiting for us when we come to our destination? I dreamed of being on Miami Beach, laying on the sand, doing nothing for at least a month, of going back to college, studying more, rebuilding my life!

Here I was, stopping by Miami Beach, doing something my dad had yearned to do but has never done. It chokes me up sometimes when I think about my many adventures in comparison to his very few. Especially since my adventurous spirit comes from him. And not only is it a trait I inherited from him, but my parents have sacrificed so much so that I can go on these adventures. Instead of buying a nice house, they stuck my brother and me into private schooling. He sent me back to Vietnam without him twice, while he has yet to go back since escaping. He made sure I was able to go on the European class trip in high school when it was difficult financially.

He emboldened me to seek out travel. All the while never leaving his post at his store.

This blog post was intended to be a light recap about a weekend in Miami I spent painting. I just didn’t expect the guilt and hurt that a mere ten minutes at a beautiful beach evoked.

You can read more of this particular passage from my dad’s journal here.

  • Wendy

    This brought a tear to my eye. So sweet.

  • :-) It still amazes me how much the generation before us went through. Makes me feel so selfish sometimes. :/

  • Geeky Hooker

    Beautiful story. I can tell you’ve picked up your storytelling skills from your dad too. :)

    • What a compliment! Also, my love for noodles.

  • Ashley J

    Oh my gosh! Why you gotta get so sentimental on me on a tuesday morning?!? haha. This is beautiful. You and your dad need to take a trip together.

    • That’s the dream! I’m ready whenever he’s ready.

  • Don’t feel guilty. Just enjoy the s**t out of Miami Beach and your travels. Also, plan to kidnap your mom and dad and take them to Miami Beach.

    • Also, my family loves it when I send them post cards so they can bring to visitors that “yeah I saw this and this.” lolol

      • lol aww. I used to send them postcards that they had under a glass covering of their work desk at the store. Now all of that is gone and they have ONE photo of Bob under there. I’ve been trumped.

    • woah.

  • This post should have a tearjerker warning because I’m at work and choking up. This is beautiful, Linda. What amazing parents you have and I hope that you and your dad can one day take a trip together.

    And what a passage from your dad’s journal. Wow. I could FEEL everything in that.

    • I hope we can take a trip together too, Stephany! I’m ready whenever he’s ready.

      I should really get off my butt and start working on his journal.

  • lisasyarns

    Aw, this post also made me tear up. Wow. I am just blown away by your dad’s work ethic and the sacrifices that him and your mom have made along the way so that you can have the kind of life that he wanted you to have. I hope that many more days off are in your dad & mom’s future because clearly they have earned them.

    I love it when you share passages from your dad’s journal. His story is amazing and very humbling.

  • Dmbosstone

    My parents also had a perilous journey escaping the camps in Vietnam, I know where you are coming from on this one.

    • I guess that you would, Patrick.

  • Jessilyn

    Our parents live vicariously through us, and our happiness and fun becomes their own. Even if he wasn’t there with you, he still enjoyed your experience.

    You can take them here as a gift one day :)

    • Ah I can’t wait for that day, Jessilyn!

  • What weight out parents’ stories have, huh? I had a similar sensation once when I was in France. My grandpa fought there in WWII and there was this bridge he loved. Standing there where he wanted to be, but without him, is a feeling I won’t forget.

    So glad you got to be part of your friend’s new chapter!

  • Your Dad, I imagine, is so proud of your adventurous spirit & happy that you got to see the beach!

  • Chef Veggie

    I hope you and your dad get to travel to Vietnam together one day. Its such a blessing to have awesome parents!

  • Brent

    That was really nice of you to fly to Miami to help out a friend! You really need to go back and try to spend more than 10 minutes at the beach! It’s beautiful there… I want to go back again soon.

    • Brent,
      I agree! I should make some time and allot some PTO to come back. Hopefully by then her home repair needs would be diminished! ;)
      Thank you for coming by.