Overseas Wish for "New Year, Old Normal"

After two years of the pandemic, many overseas Vietnamese hope the new year will return to "the old normal" so they can visit their homeland and stabilize their business.
January 04, 2022 | 08:57
Overseas Wish for
Health workers in San Jose, California test for Covid-19 in November 2020. (Photo: San Francisco Chronicle)

"I just hope the world will return to the pre-pandemic normal state in 2022. Then, I can leave for Vietnam after nearly 13 years living in a foreign country," said Bach Tuyet, a 69-year-old overseas Vietnamese in New Jersey, USA, about her New Year's dream.

Tuyet, who used to live in California, gathered with her friends, who are alumni of the University of Sciences every holiday. Tuyet moved to New Jersey to live with her niece's family in July 2021, so she had to spend the New Year with no one but her family because she had not yet met many people in the neighborhood.

"I mostly stay at home, I do not have many friends here like I did in California. In the age of technology, we can keep in touch easily, but it is sad that I could not meet them during holidays," she said.

The Asian community in New Jersey is rather small. Tuyet said she came across a Chinese in the neighborhood a few weeks ago and the two quickly became close. The Chinese woman is Tuyet's "first friend in New Jersey," who brightened up her last days of 2021. It felt good to have someone of the same age and to chat with, Tuyet said.

Tuyet visited her relatives in Dong Thap in early 2020. However, she was not able to come to Vietnam since then due to the pandemic. She hopes that travel between the US and Vietnam will return to normal in 2022 and flight tickets would be sold at a more reasonable price so that she could meet her relatives.

Overseas Wish for
Passengers from Ho Chi Minh City arriving at Noi Bai airport on October 11. (Photo: VN Express)

Minh Khang, 30 years old, overseas Vietnamese in San Jose, California, USA, wishes that his family's life and business in the new year would be stable after many disturbances due to lockdown and restriction regulations.

Khang has settled in San Jose for the past five years. Khang, who used to work in the field of medical equipment in Vietnam, had to switch to selling groceries when moved to the USA. However, his business struggled last year due to the pandemic. Khang himself experienced a terrifying gunfight near his store.

"The shooting took place almost a month before Christmas. Hearing gunfire and shouting in the street, I immediately locked the shop," said Khang, who claimed this was the first time he felt such imminent danger.

Khang said that Americans welcome 2022 in a more bustling atmosphere than last year, as the government has promoted a large-scale vaccination campaign. However, he was afraid that the new Omicron variant would complicate the situation.

The California government is keeping economic activities running, but still urges people to take precautions such as wearing masks, testing, and stepping up vaccinations.

Vu Thi Hoa, Vietnamese in Bangalore, India, expressed her wish that Vietnam and India would soon recognize each other's vaccine passports so that she could visit home more easily in the new year. Hoa came to India to work in February 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic spread globally, disrupting international transportation. Over the past two years, she has witnessed a catastrophic outbreak of Covid-19 in India, with the number of infections as of 2022 reaching 34.88 million.

Hoa's mother came to India at the end of October 2021, however, she still wishes to visit Vietnam. "In the new year, I will visit my family as soon as I have the opportunity," she confided. "Although I am used to living here, I, as well as many other Vietnamese people, look forward to being home for Tet."

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