One day, uncle So took my mother and me to Hiep Xuong to visit uncle and aunt Le Hoai Nam. From Hung Nhon in Hoa Hao Village, we would have to cross a very long field to reach Hiep Xuong. My tiny sore feet failed me during the trip, so uncle So carried me on his back. The sun was so hot at noontime; everybody was covered with sweat. Finally, my mother said: “We should hire an ox-cart to make the fastest shortcut across the fields.”
So then I rode on the ox-cart. Because it had wooden wheels and ran over the newly ploughed soil, it was rocking and quaking terribly. My mother and I were bounced back and forth constantly. Uncle So and the driver were familiar with this kind of transportation and sat comfortably. The ox-cart took a long time to go over the fields, and we did not reach Hiep Xuong until late in the afternoon. My uncle and aunt’s cook prepared the snails carefully, marinated them with five spices, broiled them first, and then cooked them with salty fish. This special salty fish bowl is eaten with various fragrant herbs and vegetables and coconut meat. After a long journey, my mother, uncle So and I wholeheartedly enjoyed that delicious dinner. We were so hungry, and the meal was very special since the broiled snails had a great aroma. Everybody really took pleasure in the food, and we took time to consume it. Eventually, just after dinner, the sun set. Uncle Nam lit the oil lamp and then sat down to talk with my mother and aunt.
The boat of my uncle and aunt was elongated by a long head and a short cover; Uncle made a leaf-cover on the head and hung two bamboo fences over the sides. When it was hot, he held the sticks up to get some fresh air.
I was dozing off on my mother's lap. She continued to talk with Uncle and Aunt while caressing my back. The boat was moored in a small arroyo, surrounded by thick trees and grasses. The sounds of insects, frogs, and toads scared me, so I curled myself into a tiny ball near my mother. Her warmth comforted me, and I finally fell asleep.
The feeling of tranquility and peace during the sleep in my homeland sank deeply and forever into my mind.