Before April 17, 1975, my Mom enjoyed her teenage years in the capital city of Cambodia - Phnom Penh. She studied at Tuol Svay Prey High School (which later became the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison where 20,000 people perished), helped my grandmother at her fabric shop and loved music and performing arts.
She dreamed of being a Royal Ballet Dancer, but my grandfather encouraged her to study instead as she would always be traveling and away from the family. Her high school photos that remain are my Mom's most prized possessions.
She buried them in the ground to hide her past identity from the Khmer Rouge soldiers. She risked her life so that she could hold on to this treasure to remind her of happier times. For this, I am so thankful. Love you Mom.