Ok, let me back up. Today is day 1 in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is unreal to finally be here. There is SO much to take in, and it is funny to think that after a while, this place and culture and people will be the new 'normal.' Here's a sampling of the MANY observations from day 1:
- it was a mistake to be chewing gum while going through customs
- the land is SO green
- when you walk outside, your clothes stick to your body almost instantly
- motorbikes are the main mode of transportation, and just about everyone has a helmet (cars and buses also fill the roads)
- there are many things that remind me of Latin America- like constant beeping on the roads, the buildings, the signs, the supermarket
- when the check-out person at the store doesn't have enough change, they give you a special little treat instead- like a packet of tea or candy! :)
- brides usually rent their wedding dresses
- when going out for a bite to eat with a group, only one person should pay- it makes no sense here to split up a bill . . .
- jet lag stinketh REALLY bad
Oh, yes. And the fall. So I was pretty proud of myself for walking across the street. I know, you're supposed to conquer that skill as a young child, but it is truly an art here. Once you start going forward, you need to continue at a steady slow confident pace (never stepping back) while staring at oncoming traffic to go with it's flow. So I crossed the street a few times today to practice (with others who are more experienced- don't worry mom)... and was pretty excited about that accomplishment. Then while walking along the sidewalk, I stepped on a slanted part and my foot totally went out from under me and I have a big red bruise to show for it.
As I got up and kept walking, I realized this was a great picture of the days ahead. I'm sure I will have moments of excitement like crossing the street- such as thinking I have finally understood something cultural or succeeded with the language or taught a really good class. And I will have moments of total failure like falling on the sidewalk- when I make a cultural faux pas, fail to get the hang of chopsticks, or just bomb a class. Whatever the case, I'm so thankful there is One who is constant!!