“They found him, dead in his bed. Starved to death.”

“Rumor has it, he’s the third one this week, and it’s getting closer all the time.” The concern in Grandma’s voice was frightening as she added, “I’m afraid one of us might be next.”

For the next few nights, I lay wide awake, worrying someone in my family might die. Maybe my mom, or grandma, or brother or a sister—

Maybe it would be me!


Growing up in a hut with a dirt floor, no running water, and no electricity was challenging enough without worrying how long our food supply would last. But these adversities were common in Viet Nam.

I longed for a better life. Maybe I could live in America some day!

But first, I must survive deplorable living conditions, limited resources, and primitive healthcare. But I could dream!

Just Smile and say Hello is a true story—my story—about how that dream came true. It’s a journey from poverty to prosperity that spans halfway around the globe and examines two completely different cultures.

The story will reveal my upbringing, the miracle that brought me to the United States, and why I resisted that miracle at first.

 I share with the reader the culture shock, and how I turn that shock into knowledge, and knowledge into success.

I hope my story will educate, entertain, and most of all, inspire you. Once you see where I have come from and what I’ve done, you will realize that nothing is impossible!

Book Reviews


“Proof that truth is stranger than fiction, as it has more drama, romance, adventure and tutelage than any other book you can read in any genre.”

―Cherie Kail, Author, Editor and President of Tuscarawas County Writers’ Guild



“Just Smile and say Hello will take you on a courageous woman’s journey from the hardships and dangers growing up in a war- torn Viet Nam, through her arrival in the United States.

Her story is told from the heart and will touch you deeply. It’s sure to be an inspiration to all who read this. It may just give you the courage you need!”

―Deborah S. Burke, LTC Field Analyst



“Just Smile and say Hello is truly one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I was able to see the American Dream unfold as the author told her story.               

Her story is extraordinary. Most people would have given up and gone home, but most people aren’t Trang Moreland.”

―Colleen Glover, Director of Community Relations



“Amazing Rags-to Riches life story, showing how hard work and dedication pay dividends. Quite the read. Couldn’t put it down in my desire to see how it all worked out!”

―Jerry Herman, Viet Nam Vet



“Just Smile and Say Hello is a powerful lens by which its readers may visualize real life as seen through the eyes of a steadfast young Vietnamese woman. It illuminates the courage and determination that is demanded of all immigrants who wish to achieve the American Dream. A must–read!”                                                                

Rebecca Baker- Welch, Retired Elementary Teacher