expecting with confidence of fulfillment
The crowd vibrates with
anticipation and energy, closing in around the prisoner, glaring at him.
putting a condemned person to death
People talk loudly about the best way to kill him. They argue about how to make the
execution as drawn out and painful as possible.
disposed to take action in return for a perceived wrong
His government has created a
vengeful, bloodthirsty people. Pol Pot has turned me into someone who wants to kill.
be in an agitated emotional state
Only their eyes look alive as they
seethe with more rage and hate.
completely wanting or lacking
During the execution, the crowd did not cheer but watched, silent and
devoid of emotion, as if it were the slaughter of an animal for food.
in the habit of or adapted to
Now my body is
accustomed to the extreme environment and weather, but my heart has never come to terms with the absence of those we have lost.
susceptible to attack
We are in the middle of nowhere and are highly
vulnerable to a Khmer Rouge attack.
similarity in appearance or external or superficial details
He is about Pa’s age, but the
resemblance ends there.
recovering readily from adversity, depression, or the like
My rage made me strong and
the relative position or standing of things or persons
Though many new people who resettled in their village were taken away and never heard from again, my family’s
status as base people protected them from the killings.
import or export without paying customs duties
In Vietnam, Meng explains, the human smuggling operation, or leaving the country without papers, is illegal.
a commodity sold to a foreign country
He says Eang’s family knows the person running this human
take someone to their seats, as in theaters or auditoriums
Meng returns a few minutes later with a Youn fisherman, and they quickly
usher me onto a small boat.
expressive of low opinion
He says Youn is a
derogatory name and since we are living in Vietnam, we should not use it.
doubt about someone's honesty
It will not arouse
suspicion if we disappear one night and head for Thailand.
clouded as with sediment
When it gets hot, I dive off the houseboat into the
murky water, taking care not to drink it.
make illegal payments to in exchange for favors or influence
After a few minutes of exchange, our man succeeds in
bribing the intruder to go away with his gold watch, and all is quiet again.
an apparatus in which an object is mounted to swing freely
Yet the sea becomes rougher and the boat rocks from side to side like a
pendulum, and with each swing the waves violently slap against the side of the boat.
close in time; about to occur
People vomit and moan loudly, afraid of their
an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions
We, on the other hand, know the pirates’
intentions and have devised plans of our own.
get or find back; recover the use of
Others wear their gold as teeth and some swallow diamonds and other jewelry, knowing they can make themselves throw up or get diarrhea and
retrieve the items later.
pale from illness or emotion
ashen faces, some of the younger, prettier girls reach into the bags we have vomited into and scoop out handfuls of it to smear on their hair and clothes.
an exile who flees for safety
refugee workers have Meng fill out many papers before sending us off to the camp’s church, where we are given clean clothes, bedsheets, and food.
conform oneself to new or different conditions
The sponsors will help us find a place to live and schools to teach us English, and they will help us
adapt to life in America.
someone who supports or champions something
“We are, but being a Christian will help us get
sponsors faster. Many refugees are
sponsored by church groups. Christians like to help other Christians.”
remain present although waning or gradually dying
“Pa, I’m leaving for America tomorrow. Eldest brother said America is very far from Cambodia, very far from you . . .” The words
linger in the air.
devote fully to
In my new country, I
immersed myself in American culture during the day, but at night the war haunted me with nightmares.
cut off or left behind
Stranded in a foreign land, with little knowledge of the culture, society, food, or language, both work long hours at IBM to support the entire family.
maintain, as a theory, thought, or feeling
Though Meng has kept the family in Cambodia and here afloat for many years, he still
harbors deep sadness that we did not succeed in bringing over our entire family.
restore the honor or worth of
As I tell people about genocide, I get the opportunity to