Aunty 9’s kids (Phamly reunion)

by - October 20, 2017

Back in Germany in the '80s, every Saturday or Sunday The Phamly would walk a half hour to Aunty 9’s house. Well, it's a 20 minute walk as an adult for us when we went back to Germany for the first time in 29 years, but Dad & Mum Pham had to haul 3 young kids with them. Aside from the cousin who lived with us, we were probably closest to Aunty 9's kids.

We reunited with our cousins in Frankfurt on our Europe 2017 trip. Genetics is a funny thing - I recognised my cousin rounding a corner at the train station immediately because he looks EXACTLY like his mum. And he spotted me immediately because I look EXACTLY like Mum Pham (his Mum's sister).

It's been 29 years since we've seen each other. I was a pudgy 4 year old and Little Sissy Pham a scrawny 3 year old when we left Germany. In my memories, our cousins were so big and tall, and now I dwarf them. In fact, we dwarfed all of our German Phamly. Mum Pham used to say we grew enormous because we had cows' milk and potatoes as kids since we were born in Germany, then raised in Australia. Our cousins were born in Vietnam, and immigrated or migrated over.

Our Frankfurt-based cousins, Chi N (10 years older though looks 10 years younger than us now) and Anh T (3 years older), are in heaps of Phamly photos because we used to do all the fun things together. Parades and games and birthday and playground photos.

If we had stayed in Germany, I know I'd be really close to Chi N who's a graphic designer, artist, singer, and super-funny and sassy to boot. My kind of human and humour. Big Brother Pham and Anh T would have been the best of friends too. Anh T was his mum's shadow as a kid but when we went to their house, he and Big Brother Pham would go off playing adventure games together. He studied IT and is a software developer for Germany's Federal Intelligence Service. Big Brother Pham studied IT too but didn't finish his course due to some unfortunate turns of events in his life. Makes me wonder how differently all our lives would have turned out if we'd stayed in Germany. But we didn't, so no use dreaming of our fluent German, not knowing English and maybe having a smoother ride in life than we had - though with less fresh Vietnamese food because tropical-friendly food is not so common in freezing cold Germany. Life would definitely have been different for The Phamly.

Chi N shared stories of when we were little because she was old enough to remember. This one, made me laugh because it’s so typically me and Mum, and it involves something as mundane as a toilet door:

One day at Aunty 6's house when I was 3 years old, I locked myself in the toilet and didn't know how to unlock the door because: imbecile child. After a while people noticed I was missing. Soon they discovered the toilet door was locked and couldn’t think of who else would be in there so they called through the door to ask if I was OK. I was either too petrified or too dumb to reply so didn’t make a sound. As soon as Mum Pham realised I was locked inside and not responding she did what Mum Pham does best - she went into full-blown panic mode, and freaked everyone out pacing back and forth, screeching that the worst has happened because I could have had a seizure in there (I’d had one a year before), or tripped and hit my head, or fallen in the toilet and drowned. So one of our older cousins, who shares a name with Big Brother Pham so the Phamly refer to him as Big Big Brother, and my brother as Small Big Brother (cute!) - anyhoo, Big Big Brother Cousin busted the door open and they found me just sitting in there completely fine. To this day the toilet door doesn't shut properly because of young me. What a pest.


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