Several updates from Vietnam:
- Have learned how to say several useful things in Vietnamese such as “Hello”, “Where are you from?” and “What is your profession?”
- Today, when using aforementioned knowledge to converse with Vietnamese Aunt (What is your profession, Vietnamese Aunt?) VA responded, “You are single? “
- Realize, did not in fact learn how to say, “What is your profession?” (Briefly wonder if Vietnamese teacher has a very wry sense of humor.)
- Have moved in with host family. Am in the highest room, in the tallest tower…floor four, all by myself.
- Have discovered that family is wonderful and caring. Have a host father, mother and sister (who speaks English very well). Host sister loves romantic comedies…in English. (*complete cultural emersion*)
- Arrived in host family home, only to realize there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. Went downstairs to ask said host sister if I could have some. She returned my questioned with a shifty look and the response of, “Uh, we don’t use toilet paper here.” Peppered by flashbacks of the Italian Bidet Disaster of 2011. Am frozen in fear with memories of flooding the second story bathroom, and explaining to host family, in broken Italian, that I had flooded said second story bathroom. Decide am now older, wiser (ha!) and will take on Bidet. Succeed. Am overcome with excessive pride for vanquishing over the Bidet. Fumble spout and am instantly soaked by Bidet. Bidet 2, Kyra 0.
- Awoke today to 30 Vietnamese “family” members in house, honoring the day host grandmother died. Am derisively teased for improper use of chopsticks. Eat beef toe for first (and last) time.
- Have mastered Vietnamese Karaoke. Realize that I love Karaoke more than life itself. I WILL survive! Spend several minutes weighing the possibility of becoming “professional Karaoke singer” as future career path. Discard idea after friend Joe is approached by Vietnamese professional Karaoke singer and offered sex. Begin to suspect that “professional Karaoke singer” is not a career as first believed and instead may be synonym for prostitute.
- Am taken by friend’s host mother to have “Ao Dai” made i.e. traditional Vietnamese dress.
- Made friends with local Vietnamese woman Lucia. Like all 20 some things we have met, she is progressive, fun and a feminist. Friends and I decide we all love Lucia. Plan to go to beach with Lucia in October.
- Am asked to be a bridesmaid in friend’s host family wedding. Am excited. Am hoping it happens! Have never met bride, but will make excellent bridesmaid as have watched 27 Dresses twenty-seven times.
- Have started classes, which now include: “Economic Reform and Development in Vietnam.” “Gender, Ethnic and Social Change in Vietnam,” “Vietnamese Language 101” and “Research Methods and Ethics.” Plan to do Independent Study on Vietnamese and American veterans from the Vietnam War.
- Visited the War Remnants Museum. Everyone must Google it. Was one of the most powerful museums I have ever been to. Was shocked by how much damage was done to Vietnam. Am still shocked by how forgiving Vietnamese citizens are. When asked if they are angry with Americans, several Vietnamese friends have responded, “If there is anyone to be angry at it is the government, not its people. They did not make the decision to wage war against Vietnam.”
- Have not taken a picture but will endeavor to do so for next blog.
- Leave tomorrow for Mekong Delta. Am unbelievably excited and terrified by school’s suggestion student’s bring “strongest mosquito repellent as is humanly possible.”…100% DEET.
Am missing friends and family immensely. Am especially missing couch and gecko free showers (and mom and dad).
Peace, Love, Vietnam.