This Conversation Is Too Pho Gone

, , , , , , | Related | February 3, 2019

(It’s past midnight and I am on the phone with my brother, who is visiting some of our relatives on the other side of the country. I’m about to end the call and go to sleep when my mum’s cousin, who I’ll just call Uncle H, enters my brother’s room and asks who he is speaking to, which inevitably leads to him asking how I am doing. My brother has his headphones on, so I can hear Uncle H somewhat, but he can’t hear me. My brother and I are speaking to each other in English, but Uncle H is Vietnamese, and my brother’s Vietnamese is a little rusty.)

Brother: “Yeah, she’s good. She’s happy. She’s living in America.”

Uncle H: “Oh, that’s nice. How long has she been in America for?”

Brother: *emphatically* “Oh, she’s been there for years.”

Me: “Erm, [Brother], it’s only been one year.”

Uncle H: “Wow! What does she like there?”

Brother: *to me* “What do you like most about living in America, [My Name]?”

Me: “Oh, geez. It’s too late at night for this; my brain is mush.”

Brother: “Come on! Something you like about America!”

Me: “Um… I like that you get free refills here. Like, when you go to a restaurant and you order a drink, pretty much every restaurant gives you free refills here. There. That’s something I like.”

Brother: *in Vietnamese* “So, [My Name] says that her favourite thing is—“

Me: *cracking up* “Hey, I never said it was my favourite thing!”

Brother: “—when you go to a restaurant, and you get something to drink, they give you… lots and lots of it. Lots of… liquid. To drink.”

Me: “Do you not know the word for ‘refill,’ [Brother]? Or even just the word ‘free’?”

Brother: *laughing as well* “So, she just drinks a lot when she’s there. And she really likes that.”

Me: “You moron.”

Brother: “Hey, I did ask you what you liked most!”

Me: “Ugh. I don’t know. The things I pay attention to are really random and weird! Okay, I’ll give you another example. Here’s something else I like: you know how, back home, when a police car or an ambulance comes through with the sirens blasting and everything, they have right of way, but they’re expected to just manoeuvre around everyone, and it can get really confusing? Well, in America, when an emergency vehicle has its sirens on, everyone just stops and waits and basically lets them pass, and they don’t move again until the police car or whatever it is has gone past.”

Brother: “Interesting.”

Me: “Yeah! I know it’s really random, but I think it’s neat and I like it. We should have that back home.”

Brother: “That’s cool. Okay, I’ll translate.” *in Vietnamese* “So, another thing [My Name] really really likes… is the food you can get in America.”

Me: “OH, MY GOD.”

Brother: *also laughing* “Yeah, so, in addition to having lots of stuff to drink… there’s also so much stuff you can eat there…”

Me: “You little s***.”

Brother: “…and that’s why [My Name] likes America so much.”

(Eventually, Uncle H leaves.)

Brother: “It’s fine. You’ll probably never even meet [Uncle H] in real life, anyway.”

Me: “He probably thinks I’m a total fat-a**!”

Brother: *laughing hysterically* “He totally does!”

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