Saturday, July 26, 2008

I crossed the street and . . .


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!!


Gow_spot said...

soo great Suz!
sorry about the bruise- but really cool to get a peek of the culture there.... i think the "i am out of change, here have a pack of gum" thing is great!

why weren't you suppose to chew gum going thru customs?

praying for you!

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

thanks for sharing your first thoughts!

You are in my thoughts!

Allison said...

Congrats on your successful street crossing! :) (even if it did end in a fall!)I was in Hanoi about 1 1/2 years ago and was equally intimidated by the task! Those little motorcycles are everywhere! Hope you're able to get past the jet lag soon!

Sue Staver said...

Got the blog address from your mom. It's a great way for you to keep in touch. Congratulations on your new nephew!

Kat said...

suzy-I am jealous that you all got to go to in-n-out burger b4 we left so not fair. p.s.-ur in one of my pictures.Heheh..see you in a bit

Anonymous said...

Suzy, great story! I have a few embarrassing stories of walking on streets in Asia myself. We talked with Josh this morning and he is doing OK. He's still feeling some jet lag and some cold like symptoms. He and his roommate are getting off to a great start. Remembering you regularly. Uncle Mike

Jenn said...

Sorry about your leg... hope its feeling better soon. Thinking about you are you start your week there! Love ya!