Resident Tourist

This particular day it occured to me that I’ve traveled to Vietnam to learn about myself and this country and am now a temporary resident in a place so far removed from Portland, Oregon that my pea brain can barely wrap itself around how different this culture is. Oh, I’m learning, all right.

When I stand on a street corner and gaze at the people, the sheer number of them, I feel like I’m walking on a different planet. There are no wide streets and empty intersections, no quiet 4-way stops or desolate country roads. This particular town is buzzing, night and day. Night and day from what I’m used to but the beauty here is in its frenetic energy and diverse group of world travelers. There are times I will hear a handful of different languages in the same few minutes and I love not knowing a particular dialect when I’m around other foreigners. It’s like birdsong for those who have no idea of its origin.

At times it’s frightening to be out of a comfort level that I’ve nursed on for the better part of 30 years but also daring and wonderful. To be the odd one out, to never blend in by looks alone, to consciously put myself in a place so beautiful and strange, to wander among small dangers and make new friends to share walks with. At times none of it even seems real. What will feel real is when I return to the states and look for a job. That will be quite real. Uhh…yay.

Thank goodness for these internet cafes where I can rub elbows with white people while we all check our myfacespacebook to compare party pictures. “Look, this is all of us in Saigon taking shots!”

Good god.

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