The winter in the United States is so cold. At this time, the trees are living without any beautiful leaves. They only have tiny, long and bare branches standing still in tough weather. One day when I was sitting in my chair, looking at the trees, all of a sudden, snow from the sky fell down on the trees and stuck there. The trees with bare branches suddenly became pretty and gorgeous. The grey garden of leafless trees turned into a shiny field of white snow. Looking at this view, feelings of TET without me at home came to my mind. In order to overcome my homesickness, I should express my heartfelt thanks to my loved ones – my parents, siblings, relatives, friends and my Dominican Sisters – and give beautiful wishes to them on this occasion of TET.
I know that during these days my loved ones in Vietnam are so excited to prepare special things for TET, such as shopping for new clothes, buying peach trees, kumquat, and flowers to decorate their home. My loved ones want to do the best that they can to make their home beautiful for the first days of TET. More beautifully, I know my Dominican Sisters are going to visit the elderly people who are living alone and to visit the families who are facing the challenges in tough circumstances. On the first days of TET, my Dominican Sisters are also going to have special liturgies to commemorate the Sisters who had gone before us. The first days of the Lunar New Year are also the occasion of thanksgiving for Vietnamese people. These days, people give thanks to their families, relatives, teachers and friends through exchanging gifts, paying each other their visits and sharing their meals together.
On this special occasion of TET, I would like to express my thanks to all of you who have sacrificed many things, your time and even your health, to help me to grow in my religious vocation journey and academic path. You have done so much work such as cooking, working in the rice field, taking care of the retired Sisters, building the community, etc. I am supposed to do such work also, but now you have helped me with these things so that I can focus on my study. I am deeply thankful to you for all these things. The best way that I can do to repay you is to live and do my mission well.
Also, I would like to send you my best wishes. May you be healthy, happy, joyful, and peaceful in God’s love. Far from home, I am not able to talk directly to you, to smile with you, and to shake your hand but I will hold you in my heart with these grateful wishes. I also send my love to you in my prayer because I do know this way is the best to keep you and me to stay healthy in a tight bond of holiness. For now, although I do not have a chance to celebrate TET with you under the same roof of our community in person. But I do remember what we did together for several years on TET days, gathering together, praying together, and sharing a big feast with laughter, love and joy. Nevertheless, I will hold these days in my prayer far from home and wish all of you a New Year filled with peace and happiness.
While I am writing this to you, a tear is rolling down on my cheeks. My heart is pounding because of missing you. However, I do know that outside is the chilly winter in the U.S with snow dropping down on the branches of the trees as if it is embracing the sprouts hiding branches and waiting for the Spring. The trees are just like me, welcoming TET without you to celebrate but filled with joy and happiness. Remembering TET at home will bring the Spring in my soul here in the U.S.
Once again, wishing you a New Year filled with God’s blessings and looking forward to celebrating TET with you one day soon!!!