So there hasn’t been an update lately mostly because not a lot has happened but also because I am often too tired when I come home to bother with a post (that, and there’s simply no need to post on a daily basis).
Yesterday, however, is worth posting about. I woke up earl[ier] and took a cab by myself downtown. There is a girl from Hollins whose family lives in HCMC and I had a small package to deliver to them. Her parents had asked me to lunch as well, and I was to meet them at the family shop at 10am. I had a few errands to run beforehand because I had class that afternoon and wanted to get it done before then. Subsequently, I spent about two hours wandering around District 1 (the center of the city). I was so proud of myself in my ability to find the Post Office (buy stamps/postcards, and use the ATM) that that almost negates the fact that I got lost on the way back. Well, not lost. I knew where I was, I just didn’t know how to get from there to where I wanted to be. Which counts for something, right?
I also had to buy a notebook for class. The set up here is completely different than say, Office Depot. You go to a stationary store (which unfortunately does not have much in the way of my conventional idea of stationary) and shift through stacks until you find what you want.
I had also intended to get some fruit or something as a “thank you for having me for lunch,” which is traditional here (or so I’m told?) but I got lost on the way to the market so that idea was shot. If/When I see them again I will give them one of the DC souvenirs that I brought with me, probably the photobook of DC.
Then, I met her family. Her grandfather seems like a really nice old man and it is unfortuneate that neither my French nor my Vietnamese is up to conversational level (yet). Both of her parents were very nice – in another example of Vietnamese hospitality, I had to refuse an offer to stay with them while I am here, and still I am to use their home as my own. Her father gave me a photography book on Vietnam, and her mother made spring rolls and two different kinds of soup (three courses, not uncommon here from what I can tell). It was all very good and we spent a portion of the meal going over the names in both Vietnamese and English of everything that we were eating. Things to add to the list of new food I have eaten: Flan, pig’s skin, and bamboo.
After class, Erin (woman in program) and I went downtown and ended up at a Sushi place for dinner. After years of refusing to eat sushi (fish not being a favorite, and raw fish not sounding terribly appetizing), I have tried it. I wasn’t brave enough to order it for myself, but I tried some of hers. It had tuna in it and it wasn’t bad. The texture was pleasant and the taste not too strong. Then we wandered around in the search of a bar that would serve red wine (her craving), which was found at a Jazz Bar off of one of the main streets. The music was good, the drinks not bad.
This morning I went out for some coffee and then had a noodle-vegetable-shrimp dish that I can say but not spell (look at me! shrimp for breakfast!). I will probably end up going out with some of the people from the group for dinner with a local friend of theirs. I have a bunch of postcards to send out, but now I need to find a place to send them off – it is not as conveniently located as in Europe.
Opinion: I am contemplating applying for a Junior Fellowship at the Center for Khmer Studies that, if I got it, would involve me staying in Siem Reap, Cambodia over the summer for research rather than coming home in June.
- If I got this, it would look amazing for graduate school and be a great step in that direction. It would also be great for any thesis research if I decide to take my thesis in that direction.
- Cambodia is hot as balls (if you pardon the crude phrase) in the summer. Oh, and rainy season, much?
- I have a sneaking feeling that my family, my mother in particular might not be too happy with me deciding to stay in Southeast Asia for another three months and then as soon as I’m back in the states I’m off to school.
Any thoughts on that? The due date for the application is April so if I’m going to do this I need to get on a roll soon as a research proposal and reccomendations are needed.
Right, and I posted some pictures of the guesthouse because I thought you’d want to see where I live. You can see them here.