Monday, September 8, 2008

Preparing for Vietnam

I bought my tickets.

From Sept 21st to Nov 9th, almost 2 months. I will be in Saigon, the city that I fell in love with when I traveled with my family in 2006. I vowed to return, but didn't realize that I would be coming back so soon and on my own.

Because I'm not motivated or inspired here. The obvious next point in my life here in San Jose is to find a job, but as I haphazardly "search for work," I find myself not wanting to return. I worked for 8 months, do I really want to go back to doing something I didn't love, understand or even enjoy?


My mom said that have "feet that love to move."
It's true and I'm suffocated here even with great friends, loving family and weekend activities.

Am I escaping my problems? I don't think so. I'm doing something that I've always wanted to do and taking advantage of my time.

After all, what am I doing here?

Why Not Longer?
You know what... I might not return, but I have three things I must attend: MoAny's Birthday, Family Thanksgiving and Ignia Snow Trip.

I talked to my medschool friend who was there for 2 months for research last summer and told me he was bored out of his mind. I think it's because he's a boring person.

Left to Do
Project Michelle: She hasn't found a match and the team is holding a SUPER Drive at Berkeley September 17-18 on Upper Sproul, the Campinille and the Super DC.

Saddle Rack: A country club and learn some line dancing!

Anjelah Johnson: Improv show in San Jose.

Maybe the beach.

I'm gathering my resources.
Reading EXPAT blogs, contacting my network, practicing my Vietnamese.

Vietnam has it's own online map system! Surprise: Check out the satellite view.

Inflation is causing a lot of "sticker shock":

The value of the VND (Vietnamese Dong) is going Up! Less dong for your buck! Oh nO!

I found some great volunteer opportunities:

And interesting job listings:

I'm Scared
Scared of getting sick, scared of getting lost, scared of getting things stolen, scared of being taken advantage of...


Volunteer, teaching English, building a community center
Find work as an expat, as a teacher, with a motivated entrepreneur.
Live life going out, eating out dancing out... independently
Blog and document.


Anonymous said...

I don't know you but felt I had to comment after I read your plan to stay in VN for 2 months. I'm also a Vietnamese American who's wanted to do something similar for awhile. Of course I probably don't have to tell you because you seem like a smart guy but you should prepare yourself for a shock. Then again it seems you've visited back in 2006 so you've at least had some exposure.

In my opinion, it isn't wise to even ponder living there unless you have family there (since you're Vietnamese, you probably do) but basically you need a safety net to go to in case something happens. Sure there are plenty of those foreigner backpackers/travellers who come knowing nothing and some succeed in finding their own way, but many come off with a very bad experience because they just didn't prepare themselves, and of course don't know the language. Then they leave hating Vietnam and its people for (what I think are) dumb reasons.

Again I don't have to tell you but beware of scammers and you'll most probably be cheated or ripped off at some point. But always remember your privileged position as someone from a first world country and try to emphathize with the locals. I know some Viet American kids who expect paradise or something and then come back bitching and moaning because they were inconvenienced.

Lastly, while I too would choose Saigon to settle in, I'd also reccomend a visit to Hue and Hanoi. Saigon is the most developed, but most of the culture/history is in the central and northern areas :)
Then again it seems maybe you're using this trip to find business prospects and not for a vacation?

Good luck and sorry for the essay,

dannie said...

i hope you maintain this blog when you're in vietnam i'd love to hear about your journey and your experience there! as always your entries are intriguing and inspiring/motivational!

Joeytrombone said...


Joeytrombone said...

whoops! nice giraffe! have fun in Vietnam!