In the past week I have seen many articles concerning the influence of politicians service (or non-service) in Vietnam. Most recently, Richard Blumenthal claimed he served when actually he did not. During the presidential election of 2004 there was a big issue about the “swift boat” soldiers and to be honest, I forget what the controversy was and really do not feel like looking it up.
It has been three and a half years since I first came to San Francisco to work on the career aspect of my life. Things have gone according to plan, I’ve settled into a routine and time has gone quickly. In fact, this is the most time I’ve spent in once city in the past decade.
This is a snapshot of my life and experience in Vietnam from 2004 – 2006. Things have changed tremendously and I miss those years a lot. I thought I would post this video and add some information for anyone thinking of exploring Vietnam.
1. We start off in the countryside. I really have no idea where this place was, it was just very beautiful
One of the most intriguing things about living abroad, is the learning experience of returning to your native country and seeing norms, institutions, daily life with fresh eyes, almost comparable to that of a foreigner.
In some ways, I feel as though I have more control over my own life now that I have lived abroad and can look at things in my native country more critically now that I have a basis for comparison. Instead of simply saying “Well, that’s just the way it is” or “It’s what everybody does” I understand that what is “the norm” here in the USA may be the complete opposite in another country.
Being a student of languages, I found it very interesting during my recent travels to compare the English abilities of street vendors in both Cambodia and Vietnam. These are the people who continually summon you to check out their goods and really pressure you into buying something.
At times it can be very annoying, but one has to remember that there are no social services here and these people struggle day by day to just get by. But for the foreigner, it’s difficult to identify who the true needy are and who don’t need as much help. So this entry will serve as kind of a guide to help in discerning who you should give a bit of money to as well as how they will approach you.