On February 25th this year, I boarded a flight to Ho Chi Minh City with the intention of staying here for a few years. Although I enjoyed my two previous trips in 2008 and 2009, my greatest motivation for coming here was really because I believed this is the right path to take, to shape and mould me for my future.
Having been here for over two months has opened my eyes to the world around me. Indeed the voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes (Marcel Proust). Unlike previous trips to Cambodia and Vietnam, putting my roots down this time allows me to get to know the people and feel the heartbeat of the city. I do admit that language has been one of the biggest hindrances to doing almost anything here—interacting with people on a deep level, shopping by myself, transport.
Despite language barriers, I am thankful for the wonderful environment that I have been in. Two things that I absolutely love about this place are the food and the people. For those who have not tasted Vietnamese food before, the best way to find out is really to go to your nearest Vietnamese restaurant and give it a shot. You can start with their most famous noodles phở (pronounced fir without the “r”).
The Vietnamese whom I’ve met are also largely friendly and helpful. I have also heard some brief war stories and hope to be able to share them as I write over time :)