January 15, 2011 5pm
We are leaving tonight...back to the states...back in time since in Vietnam we are nearly a day ahead. I'm sad because two weeks was just an appetizer of Vietnam and I want the full meal. Speaking of meals since I do lead with my stomach at times, I will miss the food, especially the meals that were cooked by my family here, not only because of the taste, but the interactions that I observed between family members that I've only just met. There were many familiar tastes that reminded me of my mom's cooking, that made me appreciate so much more of the meals that she prepares for us and forces us to eat even when our stomachs are busting through the buttons of our jeans. And my mom; she hangs with her bros and her sistas just like we do.
I've made connections here...connections that I will not soon forget and will be back to enhance. Some of my favorite moments have been with my parents, just strolling around the streets of the city and seeing them so relaxed and carefree with each other, reminiscing about places they've been to, foods they've eaten, and traditions they've experienced themselves.
Of course as you're strolling around the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, be prepared to experience the Amygdala hijack that is unavoidable! Even the most cognitive of minds will revert back to the primitive fear and stress state of crossing the streets, as cars and motorbikes barely dodge you, and you see with mouths agape, whole families share a scooter, children sandwiched between parents! But oddly enough there are also times when we step into streams of oncoming traffic, and there is a parting of the seas...and we end up on the other side somehow.
All in all, I will be back. I will miss the people, the food, my family, and even the sensory overload of perpetual action, sounds, and motions unique to Vietnam...tam biet Vietnam.