Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Due to popular request, and the pokings of my own instinct, I’ve come back to California. I had just secured a job teaching English for $20/hr (which is nothing to scoff at these days), had rented an apartment, and was learning important new phrases in Vietnamese, such as “How many rooms does your house have?” […]

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 11 of Many) Across the street a man is loading into a hand-drawn cart dozens of red bricks. Each brick has 4 cylindrical holes, and one by one, he lays them on top of their comrades, each singing a soft little clank as they fall.

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 10 of Many) I’ve started Vietnamese language classes at University of Hanoi, and moved to Dong Da district, closer to the campus. I rented a room in a house, where the water is bottled and there is even a washing machine. So much for eeking it out local-style.

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 9 of Many) I have not posted for a few days because sometimes this world cuts me like a stone, and I have to wander around half-dead until breathable air arrives.

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And now, a brief word from the Ministry of Health. *     *     * Being a vegetarian in Northern California is almost clichéd; however, being a vegetarian in Vietnam is no small feat.

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 8 of Many) More stories from my first couple of weeks… *    *    * It is Têt, and Bắc has invited me to spend this special new year’s week — a week so fantastic it is like New Year’s & Christmas & 4th of July & everyone’s birthday combined, I am told […]

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 7 of Many) The week leading up to Têt, I was invited by my friends Bắc and Hà to help make banh trung chay, or “square cakes” at their pagoda. These are cakes made out of mung beans and rice, traditionally eaten during the lunar new year. The pagoda where they attend […]

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 6 of Many) Still remembering my first days here… *     *     * The rest of my day was full of pot holes and mud. Everything I wrote smelled like eggs, and I got lost 7 times over.  When I got back home to Bắc’s place, I swore I was buying my plane […]

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 5 of Many) I am sitting on the bed– on “my” bed for the next few months, I suppose. It is a little over a foot off the floor, made from dark mahogany-looking wood, with a woven grass mat on top. My friend and host, Bắc, has given me a couple of […]

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 4 of Many) Of course, I am just as trusting of the Vietnamese family as they are of me. Two hours ago I have stumbled in, following the signs for cafe and wifi, only to find myself sitting in someone’s dining room table cum coffee shop… and when I finally need to […]

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§559 · February 5, 2009 · Adventures in Asia, Location-Location, Narrative · (No comments) · Tags: , ,


Hello, Hanoi (Part 3 of Many) We made it. 3 hours later than I set out to write, I am sitting in someone’s living room drinking strong coffee and sugared lotus seeds. The Xe Om driver, knowing a shortcut, made his way beautifully through traffic and dropped me off in the Tay Ho district. I […]

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Hello, Hanoi (Part 2 of Many) If you think that traveling halfway across the world to live in a busy Asian city where you don’t speak the language, don’t know your way around, and have a very thin grasp on where you’ll find your next meal will make it easier for yourself to write that […]

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§557 · February 4, 2009 · Adventures in Asia, Location-Location, Narrative · 1 comment · Tags: ,


“Uncertainty means stepping into the unknown… Without uncertainty and the unknown, life is just the stale repetition of outworn memories…Relinquish your attachment to the known, step into the unknown, and you will step into the field of all possibilities…” -Deepak Chopra My cousin had the above quote posted on her Facebook page (wow. You know […]

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§552 · January 18, 2009 · PROJECTS, This Modern Life · (No comments) · Tags: , ,