I cogitate real hard sometimes when I sit alone by myself for a long period of time. Still, I can’t remember when my personality changed and how much I have become a different man. One thing I assure of is I must change a lot because no one seems to recognize me anymore. Of course, besides the childhood friend whom I often see and still remain in touch.

I used to have only a few friends because I seldom talked on growing-up. I was definitely not a vivacious boy and hardly opened up to anyone. Therefore, I only knew a couple boys at my age in the neighborhood and the classmate who sat next to me in all 9 years at a catholic school.

I also don’t recall anything special about myself that might impress or make others remember me. Even in the LaSan school where I had attended for almost a decade, there was none I could think of. I might have an incident in the 6th grade when my first female teacher, cô Cảnh Tịnh, asked me to come to her house after class to redo exercises because I was really bad in Vietnamese language. But my classmates did not know because the teacher never did mention about this in her class. Of course, I didn’t like to write a letter. Neither did I prefer to visit anyone. Those didn’t help when I transferred to a public school after the 9th grade. I lost contact to all classmates at LaSan as a result.

I, however, remember opened up when I came to this country. I chose to live and work in a high Vietnamese-refugee populated area. I loved going to church and stayed over for fund-raising luncheon or any event, activity that they had after mass. And when internet became popular and easy to access at work in early 90’s, I was actively involved in 5 different Vietnamese-user groups. I read, learned to write in Vietnamese on computer, learned to communicate and did anything I could in hope of someday someone would recognize me. Someone finally did recognize me after about 15-years on web and, to my surprise, he recognized me through a nickname, Xì Dầu, that I hated most and avoided it back then. I really don’t recall how I got that. Neither do I know who came up with that nickname of mine. But it doesn’t matter. I now know how to get my friends to remember the most forgotten boy at that catholic school.

Folks, I and Nguyễn Ngọc Khánh had found each other through our School Website, LaSanBá How about you guys. Have you ever visited the website? They just posted the first Web-Magazine in 2008 and Xì Dầu even had a couple poems in there. Could you imagine that and would any of you want to know how Xì Dầu has become today???

HHC, 2/2008

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