Dawn has done such a great job of taking on this blog and making it come to life (she does have a way of making everything a little bit livelier and better), that I have neglected to write. True, I have immersed myself in my work and it is very time consuming with so much to do and so much to learn. That said I love to write so I can’t go for very long without at least contributing some words of wisdom, or more often the case with me… random words sometime lacking in wisdom.
Let’s see where to start my randomness, ah yes of course….
So, so, so, so glad that my friend and partner is with me now; it’s been a total of almost 5 months that I’ve been here and having her here the last 3 has made this such an incredible experience. There is nothing like sharing an adventure with the one you love. So thank you my love for making this journey so much more enjoyable.
Work, finally after almost 5 months we got all our government (both national and provincial) approvals, so we are officially in business. I was able to get an office and hire my assistant & translator (Nhung); and now I can conduct my research and hold my meetings without wondering if I’m doing more than I should be doing (which I am sure I was). Now it’s full speed ahead on surveying business and meeting with government officials etc. I have to say, almost everyone to a person has been so open and willing to help, and very interested in the project. I have met hundreds of business people, dozens of government officials and other non-profit individuals, volunteers and just countless nice people everywhere. I have been able to recruit 8 Vietnamese trainers that will help me conduct the training classes and workshops. These are volunteers, all with jobs and families, that want to give back to their community and want the chance to work in an area (climate change), they all understand is especially critical to their city, and their country.
In many cases the kindness and attention has been somewhat overwhelming. I know that much of it is due to the face that we are different… we are two of maybe a handful or less of Americans in a sea of Vietnamese, so we standout. But even beyond that the genuine outpouring of kindness and generosity shown to us has been incredible.
Other random observations…
The weather is finally cooling off… slowly. From the oven at 90 plus degrees and almost always matching humidity to the mid 80s and diminished humidity… oh what a relief to be able to sit out on the balcony with a glass of wine and a good cigar and get beaten down consistently at Rummy by my non-competitive wife. Now with cooler weather we will have to walk more and with Dawn getting a bike soon we will be doing even more exploring and conquering the outskirts, the hillsides and smaller villages of the province and beyond.
The food; I will just say this… it is both very good and also very interesting; and what we are not sure of, we don’t eat. Not so big on the goat, duck and frog, or the little shrimp that are still alive when you eat them. Well unless we have had too much rice wine.
Traffic here still fascinates me (probably because it is in your face all most all of the time)… the precarious harmony that exists between pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikes, cars and big trucks and the constant danger and fear that you are going to be a witness or be involved in an accident. Also the strange (to us) driving customs, the noise (constant blaring of horns), constant near misses, and on and on… crazy stuff for sure
Let’s see what else…well there are some pet peeves but when I think about it, I realize that all of the minor annoyances don’t amount to a whole lot. In fact they are quite trivial in the larger scheme of things. You are afforded the opportunity of a lifetime (even if its on the other side of the world in a developing country), and you make the most of it. Naturally we, miss so much of life in the states but…we are enjoying a life re-imagined.
So the journey continues….enjoy it with us!Read More