Back in Germany (Phamly Reunion)

October 12, 2017


Little Sissy Pham and I finally made it back to our birth town in Germany in August this year, and it was predictably the best time EVER. Our beautiful cousins on both sides of the Pham made time for our visit and shared so many stories and memories we didn't know we had. I'm going to capture these memories in a Phamly Reunion series beginning with this post.

I am so grateful that Mum Pham and Dad Pham raised us to speak Vietnamese. It wasn’t a conscious decision they made, more like it was too difficult for them to learn English after burning through brain cells to learn German, the strangest standalone language in the history of mankind, so their English remained broken and we had to keep speaking Vietnamese as kids in order to communicate with our parents. And gosh darn, it came in handy in Germany where Vietnamese was the common language we had between three generations of Phams.

It’s bizarre hearing our cousins speak fluent German. Most of our Vietnamese relatives back home in Australia speak broken English (if that) with really heavy accents. It's probably bizarre to them that we speak Vietnamese with a foreign accent. One cousin said we were like the Vietnamese-American beauty pageant contenders on Viet programs who answer questions with funny Vietnamese because when we don't know the words to say something in a straightforward way, we find a workaround to explain what we're trying to say.

Conversation was sometimes slow as a result because my Vietnamese isn't great, and my vocab is largely centred around food because Mum Pham loved the kitchen so much. But being able to connect with extended Phamly in our parents' native tongue was so wonderful. I’ll share stories from our Phamly Reunion over the next few months. So many stories!

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