Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam–Hello From Tomorrow

Sidewalk or parking lot? They seem to be one in the same.

I’m not going to lie.  So far our new adventure has been a little overwhelming.  Not only is Ho Chi Minh City huge and PACKED with people, but all of the sights, sounds, and smells are rather assaulting.  I hate to use such a strong word, especially one with such negative connotations, but it’s the truth of the matter for me, thus far.

That being said, my husband is in love.  He finds the energy of the city to be especially appealing.  We are staying right downtown in the heart of the city center in District One where there are endless culinary possibilities, among other things.  One of his New Year’s resolutions was to try one-hundred new dishes/drinks this year and we’re already making a commendable dent.

Banh tom (crispy shrimp fries). If you look closely, you can still see the little guys cocooned inside.

I am giving it a valiant effort, bumbling my way through yet another language barrier (I never thought I’d miss Spanish).  I often remember, albeit a little too late, not to cross my arms or point to things.  I try to pass money (here called VND or dong) with both hands, instead of one.  Still, I could not feel more out of place.  In fact I feel like a downright fraud surrounded by other travelers who seem to be naturally embracing this great city’s energy.  This includes my husband and good for him.

Ca phe (iced coffee). He can’t get enough of the stuff.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s nice that we are surrounded by other travelers–we are in backbackers central, after all.  Yet I can’t help but wonder with more than a little envy how they make everything look so easy!  They (referring to the worldy women) even wear stylish dresses or flowing elephant pants while day in and day out, I continue to sport my active wear.  I’m more prepared to visit Machu Picchu than to mosey down the street in search of some fresh spring rolls.  Still, my clothes are as fast-drying and functional as I was hoping they’d be, so I suppose it should be kudos to me.

Giving it a go with the chopsticks…

One of the most difficult things for me to get used to, besides the wet bath (the entire bathroom is always wet!), has been the time difference.  We are fourteen to fifteen hours ahead of our family and friends in Wyoming and Portland.  This means that when I call my Mom in Portland, I’m technically calling her from the future.  Her today is my tomorrow.  Although this is pretty cool, it serves as a strong reminder that I am in fact half a world away from all the people that I love, with the exception of my husband.  Vietnam is the farthest I’ve ever been away from home and I’m already a little bit lonely.

Chilling out in a cafe behind the pros. I tried eavesdropping to pick up on their accents, but the street was too noisy.

But chin up.  Like all things, my new adventure is just going to take some getting used to.  This may be my first Asian rodeo but it’s certainly not my first time on a horse.  (I know, I know, but I couldn’t resist.)  I’m sure I will find plenty of things to fall in love with.  The bubble tea has been a great start.  Until I’m feeling a little more at home, I’m just going to try to keep my eyes and ears open.  I’m going to keep trying new things.  Most importantly, I’m going to keep breathing.  Just so you know, this is more obvious to some people than it is to others.  So hello wide world.  Hello big bustling city.  And to all my family and friends that are still somewhere out there, hello from tomorrow.

Bubble tea is the best thing ever!

8 Comments

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8 Responses to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam–Hello From Tomorrow

  1. Bruce

    I had forgotten about the street noise and the never ending honking of horns and of course the smell! I am convinced you will soon enjoy many things about Asia and I honestly think there is nothing better than spring rolls with wasabi sauce!

    • Amanda Vredenburg

      Thanks Bruce! I'm not too worried. It always takes me a little while to get settled into a new place. This one might just take a little longer than usual, lol. I'll give the spring rolls and wasabi a try. Thanks for the recommendation, and for reading. 🙂

  2. Rita Duty

    You will do great!

    • Amanda Vredenburg

      Thanks for reading Rita! I'm sorry we didn't get more time when I was home, but I'm so happy that I got my hug. 🙂

  3. Sheree

    Good attitude Amanda, way to go! Woot woot

  4. Gramma Kay

    Well written, Amanda!! It sounds like you have a great attitude towards new and unfamiliar things. I'll bet a couple of months will help that a lot. What does the teaching aspect look like? Love you!

    • Amanda Vredenburg

      Thanks Grandma! I'm not too worried. It usually takes me a while to get settled into a new place, and the bigger they are (and noisier, etc.) the longer it takes. But I'll get there. I should have a lot of teaching options once I complete my CELTA training. I'd like to work at a university here in Ho Chi Minh City (in a quieter part of town) or along the central coast in Danang. Ryan thinks I'm really going to like Danang and we're going to visit there in a couple of weeks right before my class starts. Some exciting possibilities, hopefully. 🙂

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