The Ways of Vietnam - My Family Travels

                   Just like a record stuck on replay, my summer repeated the same routine over and over. What could possibly be different that Saturday morning besides my dad barging into my room demanding that my brother and I start packing that very moment? I stared at the tickets to Vietnam in his hands which would soon open my eyes to a mesmerizing cultural experience. Reality hit me as I stood in the Saigon Airport. The airport was saturated with natives; however, without hesitation, I spotted my grandma waiting impatiently to meet her son and grandchildren. I had flown here to meet my enormous family, and this time, I was twelve years older than my last appearance. As I sat on the ground waiting for a van to pick us up, I was startled by a lady who kept lingering around me, urging me to take a water bottle. I thought to myself, these friendly natives are welcoming. My grandma refused the water explaining to me that it was not for free, and I realized how easy it was to take advantage of an outsider because of a language barrier. It took a couple of hours driving in a van through a large crowd of pedestrians and motor cycles, only to find out that I had to travel even more. The moon lit up the night sky, as we all gathered in a narrow boat. It glided smoothly through the murky water like the touch of silk. I took a whiff of the mud odor that filled the air, and immediately, I could smell Vietnam. Soon we arrived on land, and as I walked on the dirt path to my grandma's house, I ran to hug my family members waiting at the door for me. Exhausted and drained, I fell right onto a wooden bed with straw sheeting. I noticed the next morning that my feet were itchy and full of red bumps. I had forgotten about those blood sucking insects. It was just my luck for sticking my feet out of the mosquito net. That morning, my family and I rode in a van to the outside markets. While riding in a van, I was so attentive and fascinated by my new surrounding that I jerked back when a lady selling corn came right up to my window catching me off guard. If I was going to stay in Vietnam for two weeks, I would have to overcome my fear of strangers who would constantly harass me to buy their products. Compared to avoiding vendors, finding a toilet was quite a challenge. After searching the markets for a bathroom, I opened a door and found that I had to uncomfortably crouch down and use the toilets that were flat on the ground. Later, my uncles came to pick my dad and I up to go to my mother's side of the village. Arriving to the gates of my other grandma's house, my eyes widened as a lizard had jumped on the back of my driver. It turned out that these lizards were climbing in everyone's house walls, and it was considered good luck to have them in your house. During my stay, I had gone shopping in the city and at every house that I went inside, they offered me sugary cold drinks for free! Everywhere I went, people stared at me like a celebrity instinctively knowing I was from America. I was adapting to the food, hot weather, and life style in Vietnam. After two weeks well spent with my family, it was time for me to fly back home.

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