13 September 2006

Meanwhile, Back in America...

The Fall quarter is about to start, and I'm TAing for a freshman only program called CHASS (College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science) Connect. The program is designed to curb the astoundingly high freshman dropout rate by giving them extra resources, survival skills, and a peer safety net. Before they even start college, they are required to read "The Gangster We Are All Looking For" by Le Thi Diem Thuy over the summer. The book is a quasi-coming-of-age novel dealing with the Vietnamese immigrant experience, war, mental illness, and accepting the death of a family member. Most of the novel takes place in San Diego in the 1980s. Since we will be discussing the book at the CHASS Connect welcome week, I got pictures of the places referenced in the book for the benefit of students not from SD.
This is probably the "red apartment" on 49th and Orange. Note the jacaranda tree in bloom referenced on page 102. The Church of Jehovah's Witnesses "Kingdom Hall" is behind the photographer.

"On the other side of his building was a church of Jehovah's Witnesses. It was covered in beige stucco and, with its two small watchtowers, looked like a miniature castle on a cake" (p.42). Though this church lacks the two towers (artistic license?), it is probably the one referenced in the novel.


The old Navy Housing in Linda Vista built in the 1940s. "Linda Vista is filled with houses like ours, painted in peeling shades of olive green, baby blue, and sun-baked yellow" (p. 88).


The Vietnamese restaurant on El Cajon Boulevard. "After the movies [the Chinese movie theater no longer exists], we'd walk across the street to the Vietnamese restaurant with the big smiling plastic cow's head on its roof. The restaurant's specialty was beef noodle soup" (p. 47).


The Great Wall of China. "How about the Great Wall of China that snakes like a river from the top of the steep hill off Crandall Drive to the slightly curving bottom? Who has seen this?" (p. 90). It easy to understand why children would call this the Great Wall of China; it extends over four blocks.

The subject of missing loved ones overseas seems particularly poignant right now, but I found this qoute comforting, "sometimes you don't need to see or touch people to know they're there" (p. 94).

3 Comments:

Blogger Frances Goodman فرانسيس said...

That is so cool! The Pho place makes me hungry. Someone must send me the book so I can finish it.

1:55 PM  
Blogger weeping sore said...

I'll send you the book when I finish. Meanwhile, thanks a lot Kevin, for spoiling the end for me! Next, you'll tell me the Titanic sinks, or that Christ dies a nasty death in Passion of the Christ. Well, here's one for you: Moby Dick sinks the Pequod. Hah!

8:28 PM  
Blogger Frances Goodman فرانسيس said...

this is getting ugly

9:22 PM  

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