As I stepped out of the airplane after a long and excruciating 24-hour flight across the sea I was greeted by a familiar scent that brought back a flood of memories. I was at the origin of my being; I was in Vietnam.
Not that I haven’t been to Vietnam before, but this was my third time coming back to where my ancestors where originally from. Each visit was separated by three years. The reason I had returned for a third time was that my father was to remarry in Vietnam and I would be a part of his wedding.
Shortly after my arrival in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam things were put in motion in preparation for my father’s wedding. Three days go by and the wedding comes even faster than I had anticipated. The next morning around 4:30 am I am awaken to get ready for the ceremony. I remember not being able to drag myself out of bed, thus I suffered from bed-head the entire day. My hair indeed was tragic.
My part in the ceremony was to sing, not in English, but in Vietnamese! I must say my Vietnamese was not up to par at that point in time and that I had a noticeable accent when I spoke in my native tongue. I distinctly recall that I was extremely nervous before my little contribution to the wedding ceremony. Thankfully my performance was over before I knew it. I may have butchered a beautiful song, but at least I put my best foot forward in effort. Surprisingly enough people commented that they were amazed that I could even somewhat sing in Vietnamese and therefore I was commended for my courage.
Events that followed the wedding were the grand tour of Vietnam and its gorgeous landscapes. I found it odd because I was basically joining the newly weds on their journey to different cities for their honeymoon… Not exactly what I wanted to do, but it was most certainly rewarding to see Vietnam and what “she” had to offer “her people.” We traveled first to Nha Trang, which was the beautiful city by the crystal clear blue ocean. It was the first time that I had seen such a clean ocean. I was just in awe by the entire setting of the white sand beaches, the glorious ocean, and the marine life that accompanied Nha Trang. Next on our voyage was to Da Nang, which was a town on the top of a mountain. The ride up to the top was probably the most heinous ride imaginable. I felt with each turn that the car could suddenly rear off a cliff and we would be sent to our dooms, but fortunately we made it safely to and from Da Nang. There must have been something in the water because I became ill during our visit there. The last place on our little tour was the city of Hue. I actually vaguely remember that visit because it was far too hot to be out and I slept right on through and woke up only for food.
Vietnam I found out on my third visit had so much more beauty than I thought before hand. Even with all the beauty there was also proverty. With all my travels on my return to Vietnam in 2007 I actually feel compelled to go back someday and aid Vietnam with the impoverished country sides that I passed as I traveled on the way to different cities. My trip made me a more knowledgeable and humble person.
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