A wonderful trip to Scottsbluff and South Dakota

By Harry Kien Doan

To my host parents Rick and Suzanne Myers, with love ❤

Tranquil.

That would be the one word when I talk about Scottsbluff and Gering. In our 2nd week of YSEALI 2017 Program, Cassidy took us to her hometown with beautiful meadows along the highway and American buffaloes sometimes appearing like black spots from distance.

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My host family is Mr. Rick and Mrs. Suzanne Myers. Mr. Rick was once a magazine photographer, while his wife has dedicated most of her life as a teacher. Mr. Rick is witty and knowledgeable, whereas Mrs. Suzanne is very thoughtful and warmhearted.  Having both retired, they enjoy driving around to spot and photograph animals in their beautiful surrounding landscapes.

On the first day in Scottsbluff, Mr.Rick drove his wife and four of us (me, Arfan, Jai and Lawt) to spot black cranes. This time in March is one of the rare occasions when these black cranes come and gather around big lakes and meadows, where they can drink water and feed on corns and vegetation. It was a beautiful sunset when the sun peacefully faded behind rows of scrubby trees.

The next day, we served soup supper for underprivileged people in town at a church and performed our cultural presentations. As representatives from Vietnam, we presented “ao dai” – our traditional long dress which has been selected as one of the world’s sexiest dresses. We also presented Mid-Autumn as one of the most important festivals in our cultures, with “trong com” (drum), “Ong Dia” (God of the Earth) and “Banh nuong”, “banh deo” (mooncakes). All of YSEALI fellows were amazing and proud to present quintessence of our own individual national cultures.

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On our third day, Mr.Rick organized a visit for all 21 YSEALI fellows to “Legacy of the plains” – an agriculture and community museum of which he was one of the directors to design and complete the construction in about 6 years. The museum depicts a genuine image of the countryside from its origin with Native Indian people to the present time, from which I have learned a lot about history and culture of West Nebraska as a part of the great America. My favorite thing was the old Currier Shop where I could make interesting letter prints by ink and seals.

In the last day’s morning, Mrs. Suzanne woke up early to cook for us a nice and decent Mexican-style breakfast. She also gave me some ideas on mobility library project, one of my initiatives I have been nurturing to start in my home country after the program.

I have gained tremendous things and had a lot of memories in this trip. Warm hugs and best wishes for my host family, Rick and Suzanne…

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