voices from abroad

By now, I’m used to… August 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hanh @ 3:11 am

My hard bed – apparently, it’s better for your back. 🙂
Sweating all day long – deodorant is key. although I do think it’s unfair that I’m the only one who wears any…
Feeling tall (even in flats!)– yes, I am usually the tallest in the room.
Eating alone – its not all that bad because it leads to the next bullet on the list…
Talking to strangers – sure, there are crazies here and there, but some of my best conversations have been with random strangers
Doing laundry by hand – It’s hard work. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss my granny cart!

Laundry out to dry

Laundry out to dry

Xe Oms (motorbike taxis)– ah, feeling the wind in your hair as you hang on for dear life on the back of a Xe om.
Speaking Vietnamese – there’s no alternative. My Vietnamese is a jumble of the northern and southern dialect, but I’ve managed to use it to find my way around.
Rice, Rice and more Rice – honestly I’m ok with eating rice every day, but it couldn’t hurt to throw in some beans once in a while…boy do I have a craving for Chipotle!
Rain – Rain in New York generally makes me grumpy. I pray for rain in Thanh Hoa because it is a relief from the hot weather and I get to run around with my rainbow umbrella!
2-hour lunch breaks – Just enough time to eat more rice, take an afternoon nap and enjoy a sticky rice flavored ice cream bar during the brisk walk back to the office. Yum!
Brutal Honesty: People here are straightforward. They will tell you if you’ve gained weight, if you’ve lost weight, if your dress is unflattering…they will even tell you if your baby is ugly. But they really mean no harm in it. It’s just that, well…you’re baby is ugly.
Sharing: There’s not a train ride that goes by without my neighbor offering me some of their food. I’ve learned to do the same in return. 🙂

Note the rainbow umbrella in the back- these are everywhere!

Note the rainbow umbrella - these are everywhere in VN!

What I have yet to get used to…

Mosquitoes – still hate them and somehow they still love me
The countryside – still am in awe of the serene scenery
Rice paddies – are still a mystery to me. I refuse to leave Vietnam without a proper understanding of how rice is cultivated.
Second hand smoke – “no-smoking” zones do not exist here and it seems as if all the men smoke.
The absence of lines – last week at the train station I had to push a rude man out of the way to reclaim my place in “line.” Then I realized that the line was nonexistent as other people continued to push their way to the front. Arggggghhhh…
Bargaining – My mom is an expert at bargaining. I am really bad at it. Couldn’t we all save a lot of time if everyone just paid the same price?
Squatting – I’ve yet to perfect the famous Vietnamese squat. When people get tired of squatting, they just take of their sandals and sit on them.
Corruption – it’s everywhere with people in positions of power trying to make an extra buck to supplement their incomes.


One Response to “By now, I’m used to…”

  1. Mike Says:

    Ugly babies? Seriously?I almost died laughing when I read that!

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