Vietnamese immigrants make up about 10 percent of the one million people who live in San Jose. The latest census results show that as a city, San Jose is home to the second largest concentration of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. The annual Tet festival, Little Saigon, banh mi shops, and the pho restaurants which dot the city are all symbols of a community thriving in the Bay Area. It's a community filled with stories like my own.
After the fall of Saigon on April 30th, 1975, people fled Vietnam and its communist government in search of freedom. Among them were my family in 1979. My parents, two uncles, great aunt and I arrived in America in March, 1980, first touching down at San Francisco International airport. After a bus ride across the Golden Gate bridge to Travis Air Force Base, my parents experienced their first meal in America: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn bread.
“Everybody liked it,” my dad Huy Nguyen, said with a laugh. “It was different. Some people went back for a second serving.”
After that meal, everyone was given a thick jacket, and we took flight to Eugene, Oregon the next morning to start life in the United States.
This is part two of a three-part series on Vicky’s journey from Saigon to San Jose. It aired May 27 2015th. Part three will air in the 6PM news on May 28th. Follow Vicky on Twitter @vickydnguyen or Facebook for updates.