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Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | The husband (183)

I was born 1971, Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. My family and I were a part of the first exodus of boat people after the Vietnam war. In March 1981, we settled in Sydney, Australia. I graduated with a bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. I have been translating Vietnamese literature for the past five years in my search to better understand my mother’s language and culture. My translations have been shared through blogging over the past year. I am still a registered pharmacist practicing in Western Sydney. I hope to continue translating, and continue to share Vietnamese art and literature, beyond borders on SONGNGUTAITRAM.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

“Honey, you look like an elf from Lord of the Rings!” my husband smiled as he threw a compliment at me this morning. Meant I am almost as handsome as my beautiful husband.

My husband at seven settled in Australia after his family’s escape from Vietnam on Trường Xuân cargo ship in 1975. A generation of bananas, yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

He took the role of a big brother only because his older sister died before she could walk. When they first settle in Australia his parent took up work where they could, washing dishes at the local Chinese restaurant, often home late. My husband became adept in the kitchen, took care of his four tiny siblings, but always never forgets to compliment my cooking “honey, you’re a better cook than me…”. Sometimes I’m a little suspicious of his intention because he wants to avoid the kitchen, still it is endlessly like poetry in my ears. What is more romantic than when he notices my grey roots “Don’t forget to bring home some hair dye honey, I can do it for you tomorrow…” truthfully, I’m teary each time he reminds me. (But hey, let’s keep this secret between us yeah**)

“Honey, you look like an elf, from Lord of the Rings!” ông xã cười cười khen tôi sáng nay. Coi như là tôi quá bảnh trai gần bằng ông chồng mình.

Chồng tôi vượt biên trên tàu Trường Xuân đến Úc cỡ sáu bảy tuổi, rất ít nói, tiếng Việt còn ít hơn, nhưng khá hơn bạn Huy một chút. Thế hệ quả chuối, trong trắng da vàng.

Là anh hai bất đắc dĩ vì chị cả mất trước khi biết đi. Bố mẹ khuya mới làm về với những việc rửa chén rửa bát ở những nhà hàng tàu, nên ảnh rất giỏi nấu cơm, lo cho mấy em lắt nhắt bốn đứa, nhưng luôn khen tôi “honey, em nấu cơm ngon hơn…”. Tôi không biết là khen thật hay nói vậy để khỏi vào bếp, nhưng với tôi là những lời của một bài thơ. Còn chi lãng mạn hơn là khi anh nhắc “Em đem thuốc nhuộm tóc về chưa, để sáng anh nhuộm…” thật, mỗi lần nhắc là một lần tôi rơi nước mắt. (Mà nè, đây là bí mật giữa tôi và bạn nhé **)

July 2020.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

4 replies on “Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | The husband (183)”

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