Bim and Vy waited ten years to marry, having fallen in love in Vietnam, a country where the union isn’t legally recognized. France is the place they married and hope to start a new life where their love is more accepted.
How did the two of you meet?
Vy: We knew each other on social media, and at that time, we were just friends. At that time, I settled in France for about a year, and Bim stayed in Vietnam. Because I just arrived, I did not have many friends due to the language gap. Bim was the only friend I could confide in due to the time difference, and Bim always staying up late. We spent a lot of time together, and I felt that I could share anything with her, and I think she felt that too.
We met in real life for the first time in 2010 on my trip back to Vietnam for a summer holiday. She was at the airport with my family to pick me up. And that was the first time we met. My first impression of Bim is that she is small, smaller than me. Moreover, Bim had just undergone an important surgery around that time, so I found Bim quite weak. I knew that Bim’s health status was not good, so I took special care of her.
During my two months in Vietnam, Bim stayed with me entirely. Back to that date, we were only 17 years old, and we didn’t have a lot of money. The places we went out to were usually amusement parks, supermarkets or water stalls, and sidewalk restaurants. Day by day, we realized that each other’s feeling was no longer a single week’s friendship. It had gone up another level and confess that we are both in love with one another.
What is your favorite memory together?
Vy: Probably the second time I went back to Vietnam to meet her. At that time, we didn’t have much money. We decided to combine the amount of money we both had and divide it equally by the number of weeks we will stay in Vietnam, putting it in an envelope with the number of weeks on it. There were many days when we both just stayed at home because we had spent all of the week’s money. One day we only had enough money to eat instant noodles and sausages, but we were still happy about that.
Although we are much better now, I am happy and grateful for those times. Because of that, we know that no matter how difficult life is, we won’t let go of each other.
Bim: The most memorable memory is when we did not have much money but still saved up to travel in Phan Thiet, one of our favorite beach cities in Vietnam. I had even tried to rent a nice hotel to stay in while we were there. That night I had a stomachache, a pain that seemed like I was going to die, and the two of us had to drive to find a pharmacy in the middle of the night in a strange place. I still think this is a fun and memorable memory, even though I was unwell.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome together?
Vy: It was convincing my mother that I had chosen the right person. Although my mother looks relatively modern to outsiders, her way of thinking follows the previous generations. When she found out that I loved Bim, my mother protested fiercely. Going from a friend of mine, my mother who loved me so much, to thinking Bim was a bad person. Because for my mother, it was she who dragged me into the LGBTQ+ world. We were really sad when this was happening. Bim and I were living apart in two countries, halfway around the world from each other, and we couldn’t support each other.
At first, I tried to fight a lot. During that time, I hated my mother a lot. I was always in a state of anger at her. I was always wondering in my mind why she refused to understand me. Why she forced Bim and me to break up? Why would she want me to get to know a man when I did not want to? There were so many questions in my mind, and there were no answers. I hated talking to her, and I hated seeing her.
It was Bim who advised me not to be like this to my mother. Bim didn’t hate my mother. However, she felt empathy for her. Bim was the one who made me understand that only actions can make my mom believe and accept our love. And we did that, after seven years when Bim could come to France to live with me.
Only then was that the time when my mom somewhat accepted our love story and stopped hating Bim. But, I sometimes know that my mom still hadn’t confidently told everyone: “My child is gay.” If anyone asked, she just said that Bim was a grandchild. I was sad, but thinking about mom accepting part of our relationship and with her talking to Bim again, we had succeeded halfway through.
Now things are different. My mom does not hesitate when someone asks about Bim and me. She can confidently say that Bim is my partner and say, “my child is gay.” She talks to Bim more often than I and sometimes, I think that Bim is my mother’s child, not me!
Bim: I think it’s “long-distance love” for seven long years. There are times when I had to let go of my self-esteem to overcome the criticisms of the Vy family. I had to admit bitterly about all the misunderstandings that were not worthwhile. From those days, we passed through and respected each other more. And most importantly, every effort has been fruitful. It was tough to maintain a love and get consent from Vy’s mother. Now everything is so much better than those past times, and we are very happy.
Tell us your favorite thing about one another.
Vy: What I like most about Bim is how thoughtful she is. Bim takes care of me a lot, even when we’re not together. I have a large scar on my right leg from a motorbike accident I had when I was eight. Bim is the only one who cried when she saw my leg because Bim was sad that I had suffered a lot during that accident. Bim is the type of person who will quietly go to buy it for me when I say I like to eat something. Or when I carelessly say that I want to buy this or want to eat that, Bim will always remember those things for me.
The second thing I like about her is her love for her family. Bim is not used to saying loving and gentle words to her loved ones, so others will probably think that Bim is always upset with her family. But no matter what happens, Bim will take care of her family, my family, and ours.
What’s in the future for you both?
Vy: We have a lot of different plans that we want to have and do together. Our wish is to take on our parents’ full care on both sides, open a small coffee shop, and earn enough to live and satisfy Bim’s passion (Bim loves to drink coffee). I would also love the chance to be able to pursue my passion for bodybuilding. We are also considering coming back to Vietnam to live or go to another country to expand our experiences, for example, Canada or Korea.
Bim: My wish is to have a child. We work hard and then travel once a year and live happily with the simplest things.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Vy: There will be times in life you face many challenges. Just don’t give up. Think about when and why you started. Love will not last long if you do not have faith in the other person or vice versa. Love always wins.
Bim: I want to repeat Sara Bareilles’ sentence, “There is so much honor, integrity, and beauty in being able to be who you are. It’s important to be brave – by doing that, you permit others to do the same. You can choose to love whoever you love.”
Photography by Février Photography