Everything has grown so much since then.
Yet, I'm still the same in many ways.
2.8 years later and I'm still the same.
I still wake up excited when I see rain. Then I realize that I might have to commute in it. But I still appreciate Vietnam's rains just as I once did my first time here. The rain makes me forget about the humidity for a while. That earthy smell. Splashing other drivers. It's a pain. No rain poncho for me. But I still love rain, especially when I don't have to go anywhere.
I still get sick from eating food. Some days, I'll eat something- usually some veggies and then I'll have cramps throughout the day. I don't use public bathrooms, nor do I really want to in Vietnam. So I let myself strain. I clench real hard. Trust me, it ain't fun to hold it in when you're maneuvering a 300 pound something motorcycle through traffic. Sometimes it's so painful that I forget that I have diarrhea in the first place. Sometimes, I just forget about it, and then it roars suddenly back. Luckily, by then, I'm already at home. I still love that feeling of finally letting it out. Oh man, I have to..
I still enjoy the serenity of of living away from the hustle and bustle of D1. Rent is damn high. I wish it lower. But I still prefer quiet nights and day trips into the city feeling as if I was a tourist. I still longer for that feeling of just visiting. I'm still scared of the thought of no return flight home. I think about this all the time. I still prefer the modern and as far away as the real Vietnam as possible, because visiting the real Vietnam from time to time is much more rewarding.
I still feel the desire to travel Vietnam. Let's face it. I'm one of the most well traveled Viet kieus you'll ever meet. I have yet to visit Con Dao. Everything else has been done. I can't think of a notable place that I haven't some significant time in. So, what's left? Oh... there's still so much to tell and show. The hard part is finding the time to travel. I'm still f'n busy. I still have f'm commitments. If you stay committed to sharing SoJournaling Vietnam with your friends and family, I promise I'll stay focused on creating more travelogues. (at least for the next six months)
I still am single. And I'm perfectly okay with it. I still have western expectations for women here. I still want to be with someone wholesome and perfect. That type of person wouldn't exist here. I still have crazy expectations. I still haven't looked in the mirror under bright lighting. I'm perfectly okay with being single. I know life could be more fun with a girlfriend here, but life could also be filled with drama and restrictions. Cultural barriers still exist. A year won't change anything. A lifetime might not either. I've realized that no one locally here would be able to provide the verbal support that I need in my more native language of English. So in the meantime, I'll be hanging out with the homies instead.
Most importantly, I haven't lost my identity. When in Rome, do as the Romans.. F that.
I am who I am. A different environment won't change it. I still haven't lost my roots because my roots are in 714.
Time just flies. It just flies.
BAI BAI BAI BAI BAI BAI
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Some things I miss most about America: