Where it all started

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a major crush on the boy next door. They lived in Ch, Laos and were childhood friends. They grew up and she moved to Vientiane while he moved to Paksé. He was a math genius in his country and became doctor B. She was being an early 21st century independent woman who went to college and became nurse N. Destiny brought them together again in the 70’s as they fell in love and wanted to spend their lives together. However, it wouldn’t be a fairy tale if there were no struggles in the story.

Doctor B’s father arranged his son’s marriage with a former Princess of Ch and for the very first time ever in his life, doctor B had to go against his own father’s wishes and followed his heart: he married nurse N. By doing this, his father disowned him and he also put his own life at risk by going against the wishes of the House of Na Ch. After all the drama, doctor B and nurse N officially moved to Vientiane where they moved on with their lives and where she gave birth to 3 boys. Seeing how happy his son was with nurse N and his grandchildren, doctor B’s father came back into their lives and gave them their blessings. And they would’ve lived happily ever after if it weren’t for the political repression in Laos.

Family Li in the early 80'sIn 1978, a lot of Laotians fled their country because of food shortages and political repression. Doctor B was determined to stay in Laos but faith gave him 2 choices: being taken away from his family with the risk of never seeing them again or becoming one of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled to Thailand. He chose the latter and hired someone who’d help him flee the very next day. He took his wife, his 3 boys and his wife’s little sister who stayed with them to help out with the kids and off they went into the jungle. They’ve risked their own lives throughout the whole journey with a 3 year old, a 1 year old and a 6 month old baby. At one point the youngest son was risking everyone’s lives as he wouldn’t stop crying. The guy doctor B hired was ready to kill the baby until supermom nurse N came to the rescue. As bright as nurse N was, she sewed anything she might need on the inside of her Sinh (a traditional tube skirt worn by Lao women) and she had a soporific ready for her youngest which instantly put him to sleep. Arrived at the refugee camp in Thailand, the whole family was put into custody. Luckily, the women and the children were freed quickly but doctor B had to stay imprisoned until someone was ready to pay for his liberty. And so superwife nurse N saved the day again by freeing her husband with the money she got for selling the jewelry she kept under her Sinh. They had only been at the refugee camp for 3 months or Belgium was the first country who wanted to take the whole family in.

In 1979, doctor B with his reputation received the help of the whole medical association in L, Belgium to help him fund his specialization in clinical pathology while nurse N instantly got a job in Brussels with her degree in nursing and her knowledge of French. They had not much but they were safe and able to stick together as a family. Fast forward to 1985, doctor B got his degree in clinical pathology and got to work in the clinical lab of L. With the encouragement of their new fellow countrymen, they were able to get a loan at the bank so they could start and build a new home in Belgium.

The history of doctor B and nurse N include a lot of sufferings but until today I keep thinking that if their friendship, their love and their trust in one another weren’t as strong and solid as it were, I wouldn’t have been here today because in December 1986 they had a 4th child: a daughter named Alissa Li. And that’s where it all started…

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