Monday, February 25, 2008

The Pressure and Stress Comes to a Boiling Point

So I went to the opera house in Saigon. It is very well known due to the fact that it was built by the French, therefore having their influence when it comes to architecture. I feel that so far my English since I have been here is actually worsening. The Vietnamese language’s structure is so simple in relation to English that I now understand why they would have trouble/issues with English. In general from what I have gathered from studying Japanese and Vietnamese is that their structures are very simple and very different from what we Americans or the English are accustomed to. I miss home as always but I don’t think that this feeling will really fade, not that I expect it to. Though I always miss home and the many things that I took for granted for so long, I don’t cry anymore since that first time. I am kind of angry right now and I know that I shouldn’t be but it seems like little things are adding up and getting the best of me. I don’t scream no- and I don’t make a scene but people can tell when I am upset/sad anything the like…because my demeanor changes quite drastically; I wish this wasn’t so but this is who I am. I am trying to adapt to this environment that I currently find myself in and have been for the past month but there are just times that I get so annoyed! For example I know how RIDICULOUSLY thin people are here but I don’t appreciate people telling me that I am “a LITTLE too fat for that dress”, excuse me I BROUGHT this dress with me! How am I a little too fat for my dress? All I eat is tofu and veggies anyway (because I don’t trust the meat or especially the seafood to be fully cooked or sanitary most of the time), don’t know how that’s going to make me any “fatter”. Today when I got back from the opera it was 10:30pm and I wanted to go to the internet café near the house that is currently my homestay in Saigon. However, I was told that it was too late and so I didn’t go; now this shouldn’t anger me but I don’t know- I just felt really upset. I was also told that it’s really expensive but expensive here is like 2 dollars for a glass of coffee, and given what the café looks like I wouldn’t mind paying; it’s very clean and “modern looking” (it doesn’t look rundown and I would actually feel comfortable there).

By the way, I tried riding the bus today to get to and from school- it was to say the least, an experience. In the morning riding the bus wasn’t so bad, however in the afternoon it was hell. First of all, the way that the buses are built is quite a hazard and kind of dangerous with all the people that they try to cram in there. Secondly, when you get on and off the bus, the bus tends to start moving even if you haven’t gotten on, so if you are not fast enough you have to run and literally jump on (don’t try this please). Lastly, on my ride home the bus kept making abrupt stops thus making all the people within the bus to propel forward and so I hit a chair and that’s when I decided that was the last time I was taking the bus. However, I live kind of far from dai hoc kinh te (university of economics) and so getting a taxi everyday would add up. I feel kind of bad because now my host sister’s aunt is taking me by motorbike (VERY popular mode of transportation) to school (though I am paying her). Here I don’t feel comfortable enough and don’t feel that I will be able to ask the things that I did in Can Tho…o well, experiences are all worth living through right?

I am not in NYC, I am in Saigon Viet Nam; I just need to accept this and more so that I am living with a family that is nice but doesn’t speak much Vietnamese like my last homestay in Can Tho. I LOVED Can Tho and honestly if I am going to be in Viet Nam let it be there. I can’t wait to come back in April to do my research there and to be able to spend time with Trang, Thao and Tinay again….


I was given an assignment today a sort of midterm paper which should be between 6 to 10 pages in length and I have 2 weeks to write it (I am not looking forward to it). I don’t like that this paper that I am to write is so open ended, it’s like ‘hey you can write about whatever you want as long as it has to do with development’ and I’m like…’wait what…?’ The worse part is that whenever I ask questions my classmates make me feel like an idiot and if I ask them to explain again (because they really aren’t any clearer or helpful most of the time) , they always tend to give me a look or they say…wait how do you not understand?’ Well, excuse me for not being able to understand the professor(s) (most of the time) who has/have a VERY thick Vietnamese accent when speaking their English so much so that I can’t possibly understand them when they are talking about soil erosion and alluvial soil in Mekong delta (which I thought they had said aluminum)!

The Vietnamese language class is beyond a crash course- it’s pretty intense. I seriously feel like passing out after every class ( 3 hours everyday- mon-fri in the mornings). Sample of what I can say off the top of my head (kind odd looking to me without the accents…)

Toi ten la Emmania. Toi hoc dai hoc kin te tan pho ho chi minh. Toi hai muoi tuoi. Toi hoc tieng viet. Toi tich kem yua. Buoi sang toi an sang. Toi tich an oplah ban mi. Toi tich nau an.

I am Emmania. I study at the National University of Economics in ho chi minh city. I am 20 years old. I study Vietnamese. I like coconut ice cream. In the morning I eat breakfast. I like to eat eggs with bread. I like to cook.

That’s about it for now…

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