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Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Vietnam | 1 comment

June 29 update

June 29th update:

Good couple of weeks work wise, lots of progress and still very much enjoying the people and culture of Vietnam. Tough couple of weeks on the home front though. One of my aunt’s past away and it was difficult not being there for the family, fortunately my wonderful brother Dennis was there to help our mom and help represent the family and give support. Tough on mom though, she is the youngest of 9 siblings and its just her and one other sister left.. fortunately they are both in good health and the majority of the siblings and our grandmother lived well into their 90s. 

And back in Washington, Dawn is dealing with all the preparation of moving, garage sale and helping her parents and maybe worst of all…find
ing a home for our good friend and loving companion… Bubba. Through our good friends at the Northwest Bulldog Rescue group were able to find Bubs a good home nearby and yesterday morning Dawn had to make the heartbreaking hand off. Bulldogs because of their breathing issues (squashed face), aren’t allowed on long flights and no one in the family or close circle could take him. Dawn very muc
h liked the people that will be his new family but I know how much it hurt her to say goodbye.

Times like this I feel so helpless and all alone, and guilty for not being there for my aunt’s funeral and deserting Bubba and putting Dawn through having to do all of this work before leaving, including having to hand Bubba over. I know Bubba is not a loyal guy and probably especially at this age, will probably not know the difference and will adjust quickly, but I do love him.  It it has finally sunk in, that its final. Silly I know. Time to move on.

Besides with Dawn and Johnny back home I have gotten to Skype with Rhiannon and Maggie and my brother Dennis and I’ve been able to Skype call my mom’s land line. Since she doesn’t have a computer at least I can talk to her on the phone. And it saves me from having to write letters. What’s a “letter”?. The first time I called her she couldn’t believe it was me, good to sty in touch, it helps.

Have to stay busy and there is lots to do and I know Dawn will be here in about a month and it will be much easier and a heck of a lot more fun… together. I did find a house (villa is the proper term i guess); and if all goes well at the walk through today, I will be signing a contract and moving in Tuesday.

Walk thru went well, looks like I’ll be moving in on Tuesday the first. No more hotel living except for trips to Hanoi and our trips to visit other parts of Vietnam and the surrounding countries. And speaking of Hanoi, I got invited to the Independence Day celebration at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi which is on the third (for some reason). Time to dress up and mingle with the diplomats.

Enough for now, I’ll add some random pics. Still can’t get over the “motor-bikes” and how they get 4 or 5 people including kids transported around in the sea of motor-bike humanity (the streets). Many don’t wear helmets, notice the kids in more than one of the pics w/o helmets… insane. Also note, I had dinner at the Texas Barbeque restaurant the  other night. Not half bad at all, the bbq ribs and chicken was quite good; notice the empty plate. Though I noted the beef was not from Texas but from Australia, hmmmm. They also have Mexican food, Pastas and Pizza and burgers…home away from home. I also added some pics of the house and one last parting shot from Bubba. 

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Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Vietnam | 0 comments

Two and a half weeks later…

Still enjoying the discovery… meeting new people, eating new foods, exploring the city and the area (went to the beach last Sunday (check out the cap on the pic with little boy in the water… go Hawks! even on the other side of the world). Thought I had found a great house for us but it turned out to be a little far from the downtown; but yesterday I found another great property only a little more than a mile from downtown and down the street from lots of restaurants, shopping and a “Big C” (supermarket).

As interesting this journey is….all of this would be and will be so, so much more enjoyable when Dawn is here to share it with me. Missing her birthday and Father’s Day here was tough. The work is starting to get more and more involved with meetings and my Peace Winds colleague who has helped me in this transition will be leaving back to the U.S. So I will be on my own now working with the government and businesses on putting together the plans for business continuity/disaster preparedness training, all of this to be completed over the next 3 years.  Check out  (the Vietnam Initiative) for more info on what we’re doing here. Back to the big(ger) city of Hanoi Thursday for meetings Thursday and Friday then back to Hai Phong on Saturday…as always I will take as many photos as I can.

I will let some of the pictures tell the story and I’ll check back with another update in a week or so.

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Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Vietnam | 3 comments

Saying Goodbye – Part Two

We aren’t going to be gone that long, especially me. I plan to come back at least a couple of times a year to visit with grand-babies, parents, siblings, kids and friends.  Still, saying goodbye is hard.  I know I will see my family and close friends often, but not sure about the greater, extended group of acquaintances who I know, love and appreciate but don’t interact with outside of my job.

The last seven years I have been lucky enough to have a job that I love – connecting with many and having the opportunity to be involved as change happens.  I worked with a great group of people at the city of Sammamish who I will really miss.  Thank heavens for Facebook, Google Hangouts and Skype.  Thankfully we are going to a place where people just might decide to stop by and visit.

One of those people I work with created a short video which I love – thanks Elaine! I know I will look back at this part of my life and remember it as being one of the best.

These next two weeks will fly by – getting ready for a combined estate sale of our things and my parents as they downsize after selling their home of over 50 years.  For that I am grateful – John is a long way away and being apart has started to really drag me down.

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Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Vietnam | 0 comments

First days in Vietnam

Week one – Hanoi two days and now Haiphong for the last 5. Random thoughts on my time here so far:

The people… about as welcoming, friendly and kind as I’ve seen anywhere in the world. 

The food… haven’t gone too exotic yet but the fruits and vegetables and the fish and meats, the soups…all extremely yummy and oh yes… I hear its all very healthy

The weather… the only real negative so far… HUMID

The traffic… mesmerizing and scary all in one; but with all the synchronized chaos… absolutely no signs of road rage or upset even in the slightest. Hmmmm…what does that say about our culture???

 Nguyen” can be a first name or a last name and there are a lot of them here. At least half maybe more of the Vietnamese I’ve met here have this name.

Interesting facts: 
-Vietnam is the 13th most populated country (who would have known, I certainly didn’t)
Among all developing countries, Vietnam has one of the lowest unemployment rates.
An estimated ten million motor bikes travel on the roads of Vietnam every day.and it seems like that number is low!
Among all developing countries, Vietnam has one of the lowest unemployment rates.
Ruou ran (snake wine), a Vietnamese specialty of rice wine with a pickled snake inside, allegedly can cure any sickness. I will wait until I’m on my death bed.
-From the northern tip to the farthest south point is about the same distance as from Seattle to Los Angeles … over a thousand miles. One very long “little” country.

Anyway… life in the hotel (although I have to say, it is a very nice hotel); is getting old but, I do believe I found a home for us to rent.. a nice 3 bungalow compound that should work just fine. And Dawn has given her thumbs up so now to work out the details.

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