My Life In A Strange Land
September 26, 2007, 10:13 am
Filed under: Travel Stories

My Life In A Strange Land

By Moeun, Sokhavuddh (Vina), Minnesota


Vina posed for a photograph with her brother, Uy Daravuth, on the bank of the Mekong River near Phnom Penh in the early 1990s (File photo)



ctober 23, 1996, I arrived in the United States and I came through Los Angeles. I did not know anyone in this country, and had never been here before. My only concern was leaving my country to find safety. When I fled Cambodia, I left behind my children, my mother, my brothers and all of my extended family. Besides these things, I left also my friends, my property, my culture and language and my entire history.

I boarded an airplane with only a small suitcase and the clothes on my back. At every moment I was terrified that the authorities would stop me and return me to Cambodia where I would face imprisonment.

On the airplane I encountered a few Cambodians who had families in the United States. I came to know two of them. One of them was elderly and had a daughter with a house in Los Angeles. I spent much of the trip from Cambodia assisting her on the airplane. The other acquaintance had family in Minnesota. Continue reading


The First Generation Immigrant from Cambodia
September 20, 2007, 3:49 am
Filed under: Travel Stories

The First Generation Immigrant from Cambodia

by Sokhavuddh Moeun (Vina), Saint Paul, Minnesota


Vina (center) with her newly found friends in Minnesota




he past centuries, in Southeast Asia, Cambodia was known as the ‘ Khmer Empire’, which was ruled by the Kings. She was a beautiful country. According to Cambodian history, ‘Cambodia’ was compared to “A young beautiful lady”.

Because of the natural resources available, there was only a small percent of Cambodians that had left the country. Most of them migrated just because of business. Unfortunately in the late twentieth century, the Cambodian government had led Cambodia and its people to the lowest level, especially, in the Khmer Rouge regime. The evil government forced people to work hard without having enough food to eat. Almost two million people were killed or died of starvation at that time. From that time Cambodians started to migrate to the U.S. and other countries in order to survive themselves.

In my family, I was the first person who immigrated to the United States. On the 23rd of October 1996, I decided to leave my country and family for the U.S. for my own safety. It is hard to believe that I came here alone without knowing where to go or having a relative to depend on. I just knew that as long as I got to the U.S., I would survive. Continue reading

September 17, 2007, 3:08 am
Filed under: Travel Stories

Young Visitor, Moeun Vitou Khemarindh, poses for a photograph in front of Angkor Wat (Photo by editor)


by Sokhavuddh Moeun (Vina), Saint Paul, Minnesota

Angkor Wat is one of the thousands of beautiful castles in Cambodia. I recalled that the foreigners who went to visit Cambodia would say that they had not been in Cambodia yet if they did not go to see Angkor Wat or Angkor, as Khmer people call for short.

When I was young my parents took me to visit Angkor Wat twice. In 1996, my son and I went to see Angkor for my third time before I left for the U.S. Even though I was born over there and have visited Angkor three times, I still plan to go to visit Angkor again.

Likewise, even if we can make repeated visits to Angkor we can never feel tired of seeing it again. As impressive as the ancient temple itself is it’s history. King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat between 1113 and 1150 during the Khmer Empire. It is the largest religious structure in the world. Angkor is located in Siam Reap province and is approximately 300 kilometers away from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Continue reading