What do I expect from my new life in Saigon?
Before I head off for another overseas sojourn it’d be a nice idea to document what I’m expecting to find and what I’m looking forward to. That way, down the track, I can review my expectations against a future reality. Most of what I’m expecting is based upon what life was like when I lived in Indonesia.
- The very poor and the very rich
- A political system that exists largely in the background
- The only people who talk about the Vietnam/American War are tourists and tour guides
- The city is polluted but the people are fastidiously clean
- The food is great but I’ll quickly have to learn how to say “hold the coriander” (that’s cilantro for American readers of the blog). Coriander leaf’s a pet hate of mine – strange I know because I really like Asian food in general.
- The school I teach at will be undergoing so much change as it expands that life there will not get dull
- The staff I work with will be a mixed bag, mostly cool and interesting but, no doubt, the occasional off-centre one i.e. just like any other place I’ve worked at
- Life will not be dull as I struggle to cope with language, food, new workplace and new friends
- The local girls will be pretty but language difficulties will make for stilted dates.
- Getting any paperwork done will be arduous and painful
I’m looking forward to;
- The chaos
- The smell
- The life lived on the streets
- The huge variety of interesting people, both expat and local, that I’ll meet
- The travel
- The food
- Learning new things
- Learning to ride a scooter on Saigon’s streets
- Learning to pronounce a few Vietnamese words
What I’m not looking forward to;
- Leaving family and friends
- Giving up my kewl car (described by friends variously as, wanky yuppie car, pious, or pretentious prius)
- Giving up my great apartment and the local neighbourhood
- Leaving the school I work at and the people I work with (I’m unsure if I will ever find a workplace as fun and as interesting to work at)
Photo used under creative commons licence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/72932024@N00/2171727483