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The House on Newland Street


The House On Newland Street I didn’t always live on Newland Street. Before that we lived in Vietnam. Before Vietnam was some street my parents moved in before I was born. What I remember was that I moved to Newland Street when I was 10 years old, with my little brother, Tin, who was 2 years old and also with my mom and dad. The house on Newland Street wasn’t ours, it belongs to our uncle. We had to share backyard, garage, and be careful not

make lousy noise. It was not a house we’d thought we get, but after my family fixed things up, it was nice living in it. We didn’t have to leave the house back in Vietnam. We had almost everything, stairs, supplies, no rents; it was just me and my family. We were glad to own this house. The moment we were informed that we got sponsor to America, we had to leave everything behind and get ready to start a new life. For me and my brother’s future, that was the only reason why they agreed to move into Newland Street, far away from our hometown. They also told us that one day they would move back to their own home, after we are successful. They also told us that they will buy us a house, with real stairs, washroom, and a hallway. We would also have basement stored with all the materials we need, and a big yard with cars owned by me with a garden behind my house. This was the house that we were told when we’re on the plane. But the house on Newland Street is not the way told it at all. It’s small and dirty; with the garage connect to it on the side of the house. The house had broken windows and cricket doors. It was so small with tall grass blades outside you’d think that they were taking a bath. Woods make noise whenever you step on it, and the carpet with nails everywhere, you had dodge every step you take. There were no front yard, only grass growing so tall; I had to jump just to touch it. We didn’t own any garage then, but just a small storage in our room to store a portion or our clothes. Everyone had to share a room, me and my brother, my mother and my father. My family was unable to set up the installation because the room was too small, so we have to sleep either with an air conditioner or a heater. The electricity was very bad. When we about to use microwave given by our uncle, we had to think about other usage because


it will shut down all source in my house and my uncle’s house. It was like it drinks its own entire power source. Our neighborhood was so peaceful; we had to toss a feather down, just to hear a sound. My friend once passes my house to drop me off. The laundry room was inside, rumbling, telling me that the clothes are done. Where do I drop you off? he asked. Right here, I pointed while on the car. Really? Here? Yes. Here. I looked where she pointed—the house in the inside, paint peeling, wooden walls Dad had overlap the cracked door so that it wouldn’t be cold inside. Here. I lived here. I nodded. I knew then I had to get a house, a real house. One I can call my own. But this isn’t it. The house on Newland Street isn’t it. For until you grow up, Mother says. It will be just for a while, says Father.

My Name In English my name means a type of metal, In Vietnamese it means trustworthy. It means credit, it means trust. It is like number 8. A cheerful color. It is the word I see every day when my parents turn on the new. My name is very unique in the Vietnamese culture, named by my grandfather. It gives me the potential and luck to do whatever I interest in. I was born in the year of the Buffalo, which means strength and determination on the Chinese calendar. I think this is true because, Chinese like Vietnamese are precise and accurate at whatever they do. My grandfather. I like him very much. He was a very discipline, yet funny man. He was so disciple, he had to wait until he followed his rule and became a very good husband


when he got married and was respected by everyone. Everyone in the neighborhood knew him and honors him like a hero. Just like that, he was like a golden sword that was placed where everyone can see. And the story still continues when he died. Everyone sits around and pray that he’ll have a good after life. I wondered if he finished doing the things he wanted to do in his life. I inherited his will. Potential. I have inherited the best trait I see from him, but I don’t want to inherit his actions, I want to make something out of my life that I am interested in. At school they say my name as if it was a joke to make fun of an element on the periodic table and ticket the side of my nose. But my Vietnamese name is made of a tougher something, like gold or stone, same thing for my brother, who got the same name is me – Tin. He can at least come home and become Trong. But I am always Tin. I am happy under my original name, a that represent the real me, the one that hides his face in front of everyone. Tin as the original, and just Tin.

Our Good Day If you join us, we make the Avid commercial together, we can get an A and have fun. That’s what they tell me. An A is good since I like to have good grades and my groups usually don’t do anything, it was always only me doing the work. Join us, join us. They are trying to get somebody who they can count on to get them an A, who they can work with and have fun at the same time. They already have 3 people in it, all they need is 1 more. Just join us, they say. Let just make a group and stay in our own group, don’t be with them, says Phuc. Can’t you see they think like a cow.


But I like them, their personality is nice and cool. They are wearing the new Avid Clothes we all ordered, just with their sleeves rolled up. It makes their muscles bigger and buffer, but I like them. Especially the tall one who always makes everyone laughs with his sense of humor. The rest is just social and kind. Join us, they say, just join. Phuc is pulling on my shirt and I know whatever I do next will make him disappoint a lot. Wait a minute, I say, and run to the teacher’s table to sign our names in. I asked the teacher if we can have a group of 5. She said no. I came back to talk to him. When I get back, Phuc was gone like I knew he would be, but I don’t care. I have 3 friends and an awesome group. My name is Manny, the cool one says. This is Nicholas and Ted, my friends. Wassup Tin. How’s it going? I introduced to them my name—we discussed the ideas from each of us and started on the project. Your part today, mine, Nick, and then Ted’s turn. Why are we splitting it up Because it is more fun that way and then we can connect the video with each other afterwards, says Manny who think this is the perfect idea. I don’t tell them the requirements for the project yet, because I just got back with my old friends and I don’t want to make it more complicated than it already is. Because we took pictures that involve other people, we had to take turn taking pictures. Our cooperating ideas worked as we plan. We continued to record more and more, first Nick’s room, then his bathroom, which was funny the way we put it together, and then his front yard where the video ends.

There was an ice cream truck outside. Almost all of us tripped while rushing towards it. Laughing while eating it.


Laughters Tin and I don’t look like brothers … not at all. Not the way you can tell between 2 normal brothers. Tin is the opposite of me, weird, active, childish, the way a regular kid is compared to a teenager. Our laughter for example. Not the chime bells’ giggle or burst of excitement. Our laugh is different. His laugh is like a dishes break, but it last for a long time, and other things I can’t explain. One day we’re going to my friend’s house to do a project. I had never seen a garden where there are leaves growing above the ceiling. This looked exactly like a place we used to go to take pictures in Vietnam. This house was unique. It reminded me of the memories I used to have with my friends back then. I told them the story, they looked at me funny. Tin says: I know what you mean! Now I remember, it was the place where I was thinking, but I forgot the name.


A House Of My Own Not a small room in across the amusement park. Not a basement under an apartment. Not a friend’s. A house all mine. With my pool and my couch, my own collection of cars. My computer and stereo. My fridge waiting next my bed. Nobody makes fun of it. Nobody’s room to clean after. Only a house big as the world, items for myself to choose, neat as words after the novel.

The House on Newland Street  

Created by using Sandra Cisneros style and Tin Le's information.