I was 14 or 15 when I began to dream about a life in California. My longings and dreams for the far off country were certainly strongly dominated by the US-American film industry. A majority of popular films and series that adolescents and adults consume nowadays are being produced indisputably in the States.
I believe that everyone who watches every now and then a good movie is able to comprehend my thoughts or at least does not find them unfounded. Even if one has never been there throughout one’s life – or maybe particularly because of that – one can feel an almost tearing longing for the foreign. The “foreign” which though seems to be familiar because the media has left such a profound impression which is, despite certain condemnation (therewith I mean the mass mediatized prosperity and glamour from Hollywood), however rather characterized by admiration and urge for imitation. The desire for walking one time the streets of Hollywood and perhaps feeling deep inside a little bit more important just as the stars do, to enjoy the endless Californian sun and to merge the American lifestyle.
Nevertheless, dreams cease with age and are being replaced by new aspirations. At least this is my experience. My early eagerness to see California one time was not as strong as back in the days. Meanwhile, I had seen rather poorer parts of the world, whereby one learns to appreciate the simplicity of life, instead of being obsessed with materialistic things. To be true, I was even a little disgusted by all the superficial luxury and plastic of which, according to myself, California had a lot to offer. Germany is from a cultural point of view perhaps not too dissimilar to the States. Anyway, there is no lack of wealth in comparison to other countries, and likewise I did not expect a very great difference concerning customs and lifestyle habits. Indeed, childhood dreams never tend to vanish into nothingness. Much more, they defy not to be buried in oblivion and want to be lived out with a small piece of childlike curiosity.
My small childhood dream should come true by the end of June 2014. The occasion was that my father had organized with his old Vietnamese friends, whom he has not seen for almost 35 years since the Vietnam War a class reunion. Most of them fled after the end of the war into the States, only a few remained in old Saigon. In recent years he had, actually less hopefully, posted requests for his old friends on online platforms. Then, suddenly after a few months, one of his friends got in touch with him totally unexpected. After that it was not hard for him to contact his other mates.
Thereupon, the idea of a reunion in Californa orginiated as this was the most convenient meeting place. Sometimes life offers the most unforeseen surprises in the commonest everyday situations. So not only my childhood dream should come to fulfilment, but much more important the biggest wish of my father: to meet his old friends after so many years again – and I was allowed to take part in this unforgettable event.