Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Half Way Around the World

I just returned from a 2-week adventure to Vietnam to visit my son. Ev is teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, a.k.a. Saigon for those of us from the Vietnam War era.

Twenty-four + 11 hours after our first plane took off from the Minneapolis airport, I was searching the crowd outside the entry doors of the Saigon airport terminal looking for one 22-year old, Caucasian male. I had just traveled half way around the world to spend the holidays/school break with Ev in his new home off Co Bac Street in District 1 of a city of 9-million people. The journey was long and grueling, but the minute I spotted him standing there with a grin as big as all get-out, I felt refreshed and safe and totally committed to immersing myself in this big adventure in SE Asia.

The details of the trip will undoubtedly bore you, but a few select fotos are worth the blogspace. It was a trip of a lifetime. The sights, the smells, and the experiences opened my eyes to another world. The landscape was extraordinary, the cemeteries colorful, the food delicious, and the people gracious...and humored by our clumsy American ways.

Ev is in a good place. The people on his street love him and call out to him as he passes by. We, too, now know them all. He is teaching 1st graders, 3rd graders, high school freshmen, and college freshmen; he even instructs a class-roomful of oldsters wanting to master the English language.

One thousand fotos of people, food, agriculture, motor scooters, bonsai and topiary, soils, hardscape, architecture, and infrastructure now sit on my external hard drive and after reviewing every one of them, I have still to find that one word to describe my life for two weeks in Vietnam. Maybe a hyphenated word will do for now....life-changing.