Tri Thuc Nguyen

Soura

I am very happy with my life in Denmark. When I first arrived in the country, I felt a hundred percent foreign, but today it's fifty-fifty. We still stick to some traditions and celebrations such as Vietnamese New Year. But I also love the Danish Christmas lunch.

After 10 days at sea in the small boat, almost all of the 65 refugees on board were almost dying. The engine had only been functioning for two days, there was a gaping hole in the hull, as we had been drilled by pirates, and we lived off boiled seawater and snails that we found in the boat. Then a miracle happened. An airplane from America spotted us, and 24 hours later a large ship arrived and picked us up. The ship was called Anna Maersk, which is the reason I ended up in Denmark.

I was so well received in Esbjerg, but I was extremely lonely, so I often visited the Catholic church. Here I felt safe, and loved to sing with the others. After two years I managed to get my wife and three children to Denmark via the family reunification scheme. I trained as a technical designer and worked for 32 years at Babcock & Wilcox Vølund. I was incredibly happy with my work and my colleagues, and it was one of the most memorable days in my life when the company celebrated my 25th anniversary.

My children now live in Copenhagen, and they occasionally ask my wife and I if we can't move there. But I say no thank you. Esbjerg is the place where I came to first, and I still love it here. I love the quietness of Esbjerg. I'm so happy. We have many friends, my children are well educated, I have beautiful grandchildren and I am a volunteer at Mosaikken. Unfortunately, I can't sing anymore because of a blood clot, but I still go to Sunday service every week.

74 years / male / married / children / pensioner / Esbjerg / from Vietnam / came to Denmark as a boat refugee in 1979 / residence permit same year