A Winter Escape

On January 6, I embarked on a Norwegian cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida with my family for a week vacation. Our journey stopped at the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, U.S.Virgin Islands, Tortola, a British Virgin Island, and Stir Up Cay Island before returning back. The Norwegian Escape is one of the largest ship in the Norwegian cruise line, accommodating 3,500 passengers on board with numerous excellent restaurants, and shops, swimming pools, bars, live music concerts, and plays, and many other entertainment activities. It was a relaxing trip and we enjoyed the warm weather while watching the news that in Massachusetts, everyone was bracing for multiple snow storms.

          Photos of me Soben with my daughter Sophia, and my husband Dr. Boravann Ung at Tortola, British Virgin Islands

In Tortola, a British Virgin Island, we got off the ship and went to one of the local shop to enjoy the beautiful view of the stunning blue, turquoise ocean water with a mountain backdrop. We sat under a coconut tree and had a drink.

Coconut tree always bring special connection to my memories. I remember the time of my childhood when I grew up in a hut that was surrounded by coconut trees. I didn’t know that there was an outside world. I was born with blond hair so my father believed we were destined for the West. He set sailing from the communist regime of Vietnam in which he made 28 attempts in late 1980s to finally made it to Malaysia in 1989.

My Birthday dinner on the Norwegian cruise with my husband Dr. Boravann Ung and our daughter Sophia

He brought me to the US in 2000 when I was a teenager. 24 years went by in a blink of eyes. Today I’m sailing on a luxury cruise with my own family but I think about my father when he was 34 years old, making that daring escape in a small boat across the South China Sea, his engine broke down and he floated for 10 days without food and water, he lost all hopes to live. Fortunately, he was rescued and brought to a Malaysian refugee camp. Today I’m grateful for my courageous father, Malaysia and America for forever changing our destiny.