Life in Melbourne - Mum Pham

by - April 15, 2019

Mum Pham's side of the Phamly are mostly in Melbourne. Whenever I'm back in town, I try to visit my Aunty in Sunshine because it's a trip we did every Sunday with Mum and Dad Pham. Two buses, the 402 from Kensington to Footscray, then the 220 or 410 to Sunshine. Now that I'm all grown up, live comfortably above the poverty line, and have more confidence on the road than I should, I roll up in a fully insured rental car.

Back in the day, my Auntie's house was full. Another aunty and uncle lived there with their family of three. My cousins were in their 20s then and setting up their lives. Then on Sundays Uncle 10 and his family of three, and another cousin with his family of four. The Phamly feasts we have now are nothing on the triple table spread Aunty had in her kitchen.

Us kids would play in the backyard - roller skating, hopscotch, ball games; help pluck herbs in the giant herb garden; pick fruit from the fruit trees, or play tag running circles inside the house. Then whenever our piano teaching cousin had free time, he'd give each of Phamlings a piano lesson.

I never asked Mum Pham if she enjoyed living in Melbourne, but I imagine she would have even though that was when our Phamly struggled to stay above the poverty line. Mum lived for Phamly, she moved away for her own Phamly but she would have thrived being so close to her sisters and brother.

These days, everyone is grown up and spread out. Some have passed away. The big feasts are a thing of the past. Now are visits are quiet, civilised chats over a meal or three. Aunty catches us up on the last year or years of life in Melbourne, and we catch her up on Queensland relatives. Aunty always makes my favourite che dau trang (a sweet rice, black eyed peas and coconut dessert), and regrets that I am vegetarian. "Such a waste." Little Sissy Pham gets a delicious beef noodle salad. There's no such thing as a Phamly catch up without food.


If you want to start from the beginning of Phamly history, read:
Part 1 - O Captain! My Captain! Dad Pham's navy days during the Vietnam War.
Part 2 - P.O.W. Viet Cong Re-education Camp Dad Pham's time as a prisoner of war.
Part 3 - Living with Viet Cong Mum Pham's experience with communism.
Part 4 - Boat People Dad Pham seeks refuge after the war.
Part 5 - Finding Faith Dad finds peace.
Part 6 - When Herr met Frau - Dad Pham meets Mum Pham.
Part 7 - Life in Germany: the early years - Dad Pham sets up life in Germany.
Part 8 - Life in Germany: the later years - Dad gets sick, Mum steps up.
Part 9 - Getting ready for Australia - Mum Pham is on a mission.
Part 10 - Coming to Australia - My first memories of Australia.
Part 11 - Live in Brisbane the first time - The story of why we left Brisbane.
Part 12 - Moving to Melbourne - First impressions.
Part 13 - Life in Melbourne - Dad Pham - The good old days.
Part 14 - The Other Phams - Our neighbours in Melbourne were Phams too.
Part 15 - Life in Melbourne - Mum Pham - Our Sunday Phamly traditions began in Melbourne.
Part 16 - Cats On A Train - Moving to Brisbane
Part 17 - Sleepwalking Scare - Moving to Brisbane continued
Part 18 - A House in Brisbane - Moving to Brisbane continued some more

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