I've been alone most of my life. But that's okay. My father left before I could remember. My mother worked more jobs than I could count to support us.
My grandmother raise my cousins and I, I used to get beaten a lot back then. But that's okay.
My first real memory was when I was in the Philippines, I was two then. We had immigrated from Vietnam, for two years we stayed it little huts while we waited for asylum in the states.
I don't remember much from back then, but I can still recall the darkness vividly. On June 12 1991, my birthday, Mount Pinatubo erupted.
Ash blanketed the sky, I remembered my entire family huddled together, the adults sheltering the kids as our world shook and soot rained for days. We were scared, but that's okay.
On December 24 1993 we finally set foot in the land of the free. We were alone, it was just my mom, my aunt and I. Most of my family were left behind in the Philippines.
I took my first step on cold white soot as we climbed into a church van heading to our new home. We spent our first night in cold dark apartment in the south end of Hartford.
We didn't dare venture off alone, even to the bathroom. Armed with a candle we'd shuffle down the dark hall hand in hand.
Our first night was the longest, we took refuge in the bedroom waiting for the sun to rise. Lit by candlelight I can still recall the contents of the room.
There was two mattress spread across the floor and a couple boxes of donated clothes. There was a box of toys just for me though.
This was first memory of happiness, there wasn't much but it was enough for me. To this day the only thing I remember from the box was a pair of porcelain toy horses, a big one and a little one.
The big horse leg was broken, but that's okay, I loved it. This was only thing I owned on my first day in America.