Inside Out & Back Again Adobe Spark page by: Isaac Cabrera

PART 1 Saigon
February 11 What we do today will dictate the rest of our year. We may not sweep or splash water "For why sweep away hope?" & "Why splash away joy?"
Only male feet may bless the house this makes Ha angry. So the next morning she wakes up at dawn & taps her big toe on the tile and no one knew not even Mother.
Inside out: Every year Mother sees I Ching Teller of Fate he claims that our lives will turn inside out. Ha says maybe I'll be able to play outside and we won't have to hide under the bed when soldiers are near. Heard that this years banh chưngis smuthered in blood. War is coming to Saigon. February 12,1975
Kim Há
Papaya Tree: Accidental papaya tree grew in the garden Ha flicked a seed into the garden and from there it grew into a papaya tree Brother Khoi is four years older than Ha and spotted the first blossom he can see higher Brother Vu found the first papaya size of a fist he is 18 brother Quang is the oldest 21 years of age "Who knows what he will see before me?"
TiTi waves goodbye: TiTi is Ha's best friend she is crying her & her 2 brothers are also on the verge of tears are getting inside there car packed with piles of suitcases TiTi puts in Ha's hands the flower seeds that they wanted to plant together but know it's to late she waves at me from the back of their bunny shaped car.
Missing in action: Ha's Father left home because he is in the navy. March 10,1966 he was captured on Route 1.That's all the information they had. Ha's Mother makes an altar praying for fathers safe return, offering tuberoses, fruit, incense, & glutinous rice with his picture taken that Tet 1966. At the end of the chant she puts away his picture and leaves everything else there for the day.
Mother's Day's: Ha's Mother is a secretary of a Navy office/treasurer.At night she designs baby clothes to give to seamstresses. Even with these jobs "Hardly anyone buys anymore. People can afford food."
Eggs: Brother Khoi is angry, Mother took his eggs. Every day and a half there is a new egg he refuses to eat his on his turn he leaves it under a lamp wanting a chick.
Current News: Every Friday Ha and her classmates talk about current news today they talk about the communists almost getting to Saigon.
Feel smart: Ha lies to her family by buying "ninety-nine grams of pork, seven-eighths of a bushel of spinach, and four and three quarters cubes of tofu." Instead of buying one hundred grams of pork, a bushel of spinach, and five cubes of tofu like she's supposed to she does this to buy herself sweets. she feels smart.
Two More Papayas: Ha sees them first two green papayas sweetness between a mango and pear soft as a yam.
Unkown father: Ha knows almost nothing about her father except what mother says he loved pastries, stewed eels, and his children. He hated brown, the sunset, and cold rice.. Tuyet sut is something he would say a lot it's the vietnamese version of tout de suite which is french for right away.
T.V. News: Brother Quang comes home on his bike turns on the T.V and screams unbelievable a South Vietnam pilot bombed the presidential palace flew and was rewarded.

One cannot justify war unless it flaunts it's own blind convictions.


Ha being the young =est gets to celebrate her birthday twice once on Tet and on her actual birthday she gets roasted chicken, dried bamboo soup, and all Ha can eat pudding. This year only banana tapioca and Ha's favorite candy. To make up for it her mother tell Ha she can have one wish and her wish is stories of her mother's girlhood.

Birthday wishes

Ha wants to be able to tan
Ha wants Long hair
Ha wants to loose her chubby cheeks
Ha wants to be able to manage her anger
Ha want her mom to stop telling her to calm down when she gets angry
Ha wants a sister (she doesn't know the pain of having a sister)
Ha wishes that her father will come home someday from the war
A Day Downtown: Ha and her mother go downtown to "hear the president's speech" of thanks for the men lost during the war he gives food to each family that lost someone. During his speech he cries Ha's mother says "tears of an ugly fish" Meaning she thinks that his tears are fake and that he really doesn't actually care about any of the men that were lost.
A day downtown
Twisting Twisting: Ha's mother mesures the food from the president. It's not enough till next payday. "Yam and manioc taste lovely with blended rice." She must scrounge up every bit of food she can to feed her children.
Closed to Soon: At Ha's school there is an announcement saying school is going to be closed a month to soon. Ha was so angry that she pinched the girl sitting next to her named Tram half Ha's size frail and skinny. Our mother's are friends and Ha will get in trouble. We do a math problem whoever gets it first gets the sweet potato plant. Ha knows that Tram the teachers pet will be awarded the plant. Ha pinches her again.
Promises: 5 Papayas the size of Ha's head, 2 elbows, a knee, and a thumb
Bridge to sea: Ha's Uncle Son her father's best friend comes to visit the family he goes straight to the kitchen and opens the back door. UNBELIEVABLE LUCK!!!!! The door leads straight to the docks past the Navy port. Ha;'s mother says I will not risk my children to some rickety old boat. Uncle Son: What about a Navy ship Ha's mother: Like a navy ship would abandon our country. Uncle Son: There won't be a Saigon left to protect.
Should We: Ha's mother calls a family meeting asking all of her children whether or not they want to go on the navy ships to escape the war in Saigon. Brother Quang says no " How can we scramble away like rats and leave our country" Brother khoi says " What if Father comes home and find s his family gone." Brother Vu says yes he still wants to step on the same land Bruce Lee did. Their mother stays still and thinks they must stay quiet while waiting for her decision.
SSSSHHHHHHH: Brother Khoi wakes Ha up before dawn and opens his palm a small baby chick sit in his palm chirping he makes Ha promise to stay and protect his chick and Ha's papaya tree They hook pinkies and promise.
Quiet Decisions: At dinner time Ha and her mother peel sweet potatoes. Ha decides to only cut of a sliver of potato to save for the family. Ha's mother looks at me sadly thinking why should my daughter have to worry about saving a tiny sliver of food to keep the family fed. :(
Early Monsoon: Ha and her family pretend monsoons came early because the war is close and bombs explode in the sky like thunder and lightning.The war is close to Ha's home.

President resigns

On the Tv President Thieu is crying on the screen he says" I can no longer be your president but i will never leave my people or our country. Ha's mother lifts an eyebrow as if she knows he's lying.
Watch Over Us: Ha's uncle Son comes back to see whether their family is going or not he tells the family not to tell anyone in Saigon or the hordes of people that live in Saigon will come to the ports expecting to able to get on a ship and escape. Axa is still worried about her father her mother reassures er by letting her know that they made a pact that if they were separated they would meet each other in the North their original home.
Crisscrossed Packs: Since Ha's mother is a part time seamstress she use her sewing machine to make cloth bag for everyone to hold there belongings in. Brother Khoi remembering his pact with Ha to stay home and protect the chick and papaya tree he says make only 3 Mother brings the portrait of there father and asks Khoi to please come with them to make his father proud that he listened to his mother.Finally after a while he nods yes.
Choice: Everyone in the family packs 1 pair of pants and shorts, 3 pairs of underwear, 2 shirts, sandals, toothbrush and paste, soap, 10 handfuls of rice and 3 of cooked rice, and a mouse bitten doll. Ha loves her for her scars.
Left Behind: Ha and her family must choose what they need and want the most then they must burn the rest. Ha's mother chooses ten pictures and burns the rest. what will be of Ha's papaya tree and Khoi's baby chick.
Wet and crying: Ha's biggest papaya is almost ripe it still has green spots on it. Vu says he wants to cut it so the Communists don't get it. Mother says yes to enjoy fruit while you can. Vu cuts it down it lays on the floor open with seeds spilling out "wet and crying."
Sour Backs: When Ha's family gets to the navy docks they can barely get through because hordes and hordes of people are there pushing through trying to get on a ship and escape all Ha can see are sweaty sour backs.
One Mat Each: Ha's family claims 2 small straw mats and lie next to each other. later the family is crammed onto 1 mat.the entire ship is crammed with people on the deck and below.It is possible for the weight of the people on the ship to make it sink.
In the Dark: A rumor was started that the ship next to theirs has more fuel, food and water. Crowds of people run past to get on that other ship.
Saigon is Gone: Ha's mother is sick. Commander told everyone to go below deck he chose a safe river route to sea. Communists are dropping all the bombs they have left.Ha hopes that TiTi got out. A helicopter circles the ship dropping Vietnamese on deck it';s a humanitarian mission. The pilot comes below deck and tells the horrible news to Saigon's people Saigon is Gone.
PART 2: At Sea


The people on the ship are told to only drink when they need to till they don't need to use the bathroom or drink water. Ha doesn't listen then needs to use the bathroom she uses the commander's bathroom which was worth the embarrassment because it was white and clean.
Rations: The people on the ship get clump of rice large medium small by height in the morning and night and one cup of water no matter what. Ha says her first bite of food tastes nutty and plump and like papaya.
Routine: Ha's mother won't allow idleness so she has Quang to start teaching kids to speak english, Khoi to monitor bathroom lines and Vu to teach karate. When Ha is not with her mother she is drawing pictures of food and writing.
Once Knew: Water everywhere you turn made Ha pretty much think that water is all she ever will and did know
Brother Khoi's secret: Ha's brother Khoi smells later in this poem you find out that the chick died. Khoi screams and Quang takes him above deck.
Last respects: After 2 week the ships leader is having a ceremony for saigon's flag a woman tries to go suicide a man succeeds using a toothbrush Ha and Khoi leave and have there own ceremony by throwing the chick and Ha's doll. They watch their sentiments sink beneath the waves.
One Engine: In the middle of the night the ships stop people scream everyone must think thats communists got us commander says"Thailand is much farther on one engine it was to risky to take river route we dodged bombs but missed rescue ships." He also tells everyone don't move if you don't need to because you'll was
The Moon: Daytime the deck goes to men and children night goes to the women all to bathe. Ha goes with her mother she says at least the moon is the same and that Ha's father could be looking at the same one. All Ha feels is guilt for not knowing her father.

A kiss

An American ship comes to the Vietnam ship to help they draw closer so the commander may board the ships look like they are kissing. The Americans bring boxes and boxes of food a steel braided cord as thick as Ha ties from one ship to the other and tows the Vietnamese on and on.
Golden Fuzz: Water everywhere the ship finally finds land and the commander says to line up single file Ha wonders if she'll see the golden hair on the arm of the person leading them she touches it and then plucks one Ha's mother slaps her hand but Ha can't help but smile at her new souvinier
Tent City: They ended up in Guam the passengers make a tent city Vu becomes head chef heat up cans of beef that tastes like vomit. Vu somehow gets a hold of a huge can of fruit in a can filled with syrup.
Life in Waiting: The routine of tent city is 1. English lessons 2. fEvenings they have to themselves during this time everybody watches movies on a big screen. Ha sits with Khoi who hardly ever speaks yet she's happy to be with him.

Nuoc Mam

Someone donated fish sauce to our tent city in Guam. Which everyone loves because everything is more edible with fish sauce Vu starts cooking adding fish sauce to everything other people cook to as long as they get fish sauce.
Amethyst Ring: Ha's mother wants to sell her a,amethyst ring for clothes and shoes for her children but Quang says "What is the point of new shirts and sandals if we lose our last piece of hope for father's return." Ha is confused by his words but still agrees.


Ha's family must choose where they will go Uncle son says Canada most go to France Ha's mother chooses America. Because her sons can work and get scholarships if they're smart and succeed.

another tent city

The family flies to Florida in another tent city. To leave they must be sponsored people are getting sponsored but not Ha's family. Rumor had it that sponsors like christians better and like that Ha's mother "changes their religion."
Alabama: Ha's family gets a sponsor from a man that sells cars and was impressed by Quant studying engineering. Their family has a sponsor.
Our Cowboy: Ha says their cowboy looks like an American should. She immediately loves him and wonders if he is good hearted loud and has a horse.
Created By
Isaac Cabrera

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.