I’ve never made friends faster than I did today. Stepping off the bus, I was greeted by a smiling face, an arm wrapped around mine, and a new friend. This is not how I would’ve expected the Vietnamese students to act based off of my readings. The culture books portrayed the Vietnamese as people who don’t smile much or have many physical interactions. I think they should take a trip to UEF because their minds might be changed.
The welcome ceremony pushed me out of my comfort zone as I sang and danced with my new friends. My comfort zone continued to be pushed further at the welcome dinner. I made it through four out of the six courses being bold and trying everything until course five came out; I found myself looking into the eyes of the six largest shrimp I have ever seen. To top it off they had the longest thread like antennas sticking out of their heads, and as it cooked in the pot that sat in the middle of our table, I dreaded the moment when my eyes would have to meet theirs again. I’d like to say I was adventurous and ate the shrimp but when it was scooped into my bowl of noodles, all I could do was politely fish it out with my chopsticks, place it on the empty plate in front of me, and spin it around so I could eat without his watchful eyes on me. The shrimp won the battle this time but hopefully by the end of the trip i’ll be able to take it on…
Earlier in the day we had a tour of the city, even though we experienced downpours throughout the entirety of the tour, we were still able to see buildings through the protection of our bus windows. I was surprised to see the mixture of newer skyscraper buildings among the small shops. There were many sites of construction which were indicators that development is happening in Ho Chi Minh City. Along with new construction sites there were many streets of high end stores that are seen in both the U.S. and the world, it is evident through these buildings that globalization is present.
Today was more than I could have imagined and I’m beyond excited to see what tomorrow will bring.