I didn't know any English when I arrived in California. My only learning was at the tiny schoolhouse near our village. At 12 years old, I should have been in the sixth grade. But I was put back into the fourth grade. The American kids made fun of me and the way I spoke. I was already quiet and shy. So I didn't say anything. Americans didn't want Vietnamese refugees back then and were very cruel to us. My mother was pregnant and didn't bother much with me. But she still doted on my little sister. So I had to be strong and take care of myself on my own.