Remembering Things

Memories from ten years with Vietnam

September 25th, 2003

Sóc Trăng, 2005

February 18th, 2004.

Daddy never supported my decision to go. He had given me a large pocket knife the previous Christmas and I’d made the mistake of not only storing it in a carry-on but telling the Singapore Airlines agent at LAX that there were no sharp objects inside of my luggage.

Hanoi, 2013

Early 2004.

My most embarrassing mistake during my first semester in Saigon was sitting in an internet cafe on Dong Khoi one morning and firing off an email to Bao Phi—a Vietnamese American spoken word artist and community activist—and telling him that I appreciated how he kept it real.

Kinh tế Sài gòn (March 3rd, 2005)

Cần Thơ.

I had returned to the United States during the summer of 2004 and knew that I wouldn’t stick around Rice University long. I wanted to quit. I hated everything about my first two years at the school: the drinking; my academic underachievement; how lonely and depressed I always felt; how I was never fully comfortable in my own skin to be my authentic self. My future was full of best guesses and failed attempts at sticking to one field of study. One year I wanted to be an engineer, the next a doctor, and the next a lawyer.

2008, 2010
2012, 2014
My nephews have known me their entire lives.
Cần Thơ, 2013

Falling in Love.

It’s hard for people to understand me when I say that I grew up in Vietnam; it doesn’t make sense to them and it’s ambiguous, so what I now say is that I became a man here. Most of what I know about self-sufficiency and navigating relationships I learned here. And everything I know about falling in and out of love I learned from Vietnam.

Fruit sellers in Saigon, 2011

God’s Death.

Two events in my life have completely broken me. One was the death of my father on November 24th, 2009. He died in Rusk County, Texas, and was found by my older brother with a laceration on his face. An autopsy performed three-and-a-half hours after his passing revealed the cause of death to be hypertensive cardiomyopathy alongside the presence of alcohol and alprazolam. The laceration likely happened against a coffee table after he stumbled and fell.

“Additional findings at autopsy include cirrhosis of the liver and chronic pancreatitis. Based on information available at this time, the Manner of Death is classified as Accident.”

He was 55 years old and on November 28th, 2009, he was buried.

Tommy Glyn Moore Sr.

December 2009 — Summer 2010.

I spent time in Texas and Mexico after Daddy’s death trying to pick myself up, spending six months in what was an abyss. I felt like I was dying and suffered from severe panic attacks with increasing frequency. I called the police at least four times during the span of a few weeks, crying and asking for them to send help because my heart was beating too fast. I made no sense and felt so weak, and didn’t understand why my father’s death had crushed me so much. I thought I was smarter than that.

Top Left: 360 pounds in December 2009. Bottom Right: 230 pounds in January 2013.
Current Weight: 250 pounds in July 2014. Goal: 225 pounds by December 2014.
Hanoi University, 2010

Hanoi.

The first time that I ever came to Hanoi was in 2004 with my study abroad group. I hated it here. I didn’t like the people, the culture, the food, the weather, or anything about the lakes. I had grown so in love with my time in Saigon and had been so influenced by my Vietnamese friends in the States and Vietnam that the thought of living in Hanoi had never crossed my mind. Still, after my father’s death and having been away from Vietnam for a year I knew that I needed to return.

Flowers of Hanoi, 2013

July 9th, 2014.

I turned thirty-three in Vietnam today and I feel old. I’ve been feeling this way for a while now. I’m called older brother and uncle a lot more. Strangers ask me why I haven’t married anyone yet. Friends are having babies.

July 20th, 2014.

When I was twenty-one years old I came to Vietnam. I’m much older now and haven’t quite left. There’ve been a few extended returns to the United States during that time but for the most part my life has centered around this country.

Hanoi, 2014
Vietnamese Class, 2003
Rice University

COO, Head of R&D at Frontier. Third Culture Adult. Software Developer. Seed Investor.

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