I am here! Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, my home until May 23. My two month long winter break has come to an end. It was magical, spent with the people I love—skiing, shoveling snow, making music (insert shameless plug here: I put my music on myspace! its www.myspace.com/micaelacooley.), celebrating birthdays, and remembering how good it feels to be with friends and family. And the long and relaxing break gave me ample to time to prepare and get excited for my adventure, and its actually here!
My first impressions of Vietnam have been stimulating and wonderful. The people have been so incredibly friendly and welcoming, the weather has been so incredibly… HOT, and the traffic has been organized chaos. Three lanes can turn into five and I’ve found that stop-lights are merely suggestions. I slept–or tried to sleep as I was too excited and my circadian rhythms too confused to actually fall asleep–at a hotel last night since I don’t meet the rest of my program until noon today. Until then, I was thinking about walking around, a desire that quickly got dashed as soon as I looked out my balcony to see and hear the whirring of motorbikes. The taxi driver last night told me that there are about 5 million motorbikes for a country with about 9 million people. That seemed like a lot, until I realized how many cars there are in America per capita.
I spent about 24 hours in an airplane or airport tomorrow, and the fresh fruit, pho, and French bread served for breakfast at the hotel was like manna from heaven. No more plane food for me! However, I do have some concerns about the food…As I was finishing up the last of my assigned reading for SIT, I read in “The Sacred Willow” how women were expected to “eat like kittens.” For those of you that know me, that is going to be quite the challenge in addition to my lack of chopstick dexterity. Last night, a large group of my family went out for pho in Denver and I found myself wearing it after an hour trying to pinch onto those slippery noodles. I guess it will be my weight security program preventing me from gorging on delicious Vietnamese food.
I’m so excited to celebrate Tet this Friday, the Vietnamese New Year. I think it will be a wonderful way for me to start my journey. And let the games begin!