Thursday, April 19, 2012

Exit Dinner

     Friday April 13th was our exit diner with the Friendship Union and program staff.  The Friendship Union is the organization that has made this study abroad program in Viet Nam possible for the last thirteen years.  Our program staff are Friendship Union employees.  The Friendship Union is actually known as the Da Nang Union of Friendship Organizations (UFO).  Before I continue with this thought I would like to remind my US friends that the mind is like a parachute; neither one works unless it’s open.  UFO is a member agency of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front and thereby closely affiliated with the Communist Party.  I have had very nice conversations with both Chairman An of the Front and Chairman Truong of UFO, both men are respected Party members.  I have come to see this as no different than talking with political party officials in the US.  The idea of building a friendship between our two countries starts with friendships between people like Victor and I and all of the friends we have made here.  Making the connection with Chairman An and Chairman Truong was a special treat for me because of the current positive view I have of Viet Nam; which is different than my view of 44 years ago. 
UFO Chairman Truong and me at the exit dinner
Victor Jubie and me at the exit dinner.  I will always remember Jubie's Coffee Shop.

     So, back to our exit dinner; Victor and I along with our program staff and Chairman Truong, Vuong and Jubie had a fun dinner together.  Victor and I were presented with some very nice commutative plates to remember our time here.  We had a nice time and after the dinner I had a nice chat with Chairman Truong.  There were several pictures taken (one more, one more) and then it was back to the house, packing and pondering the emotional aspects of leaving friends in Viet Nam, reentry into US culture, and seeing friends and family at home….oh yeah and the therapeutic aspects of riding my motorcycle.  In my experience here our friends in Viet Nam are in touch with their emotions, even when they say they are not.  Although it is time to go and be at home in the US, it is hard to leave; my emotions and both sadness and joy.
     So now it is on to Nha Trang, Da Lat, Ho Chi Minh, and home.  This has been an amazing adventure, both the outer and the inner.  I have satisfied the questions I have had about Viet Nam.  Now the only question I have is how do I arrange to come back to visit my friends; the Children of the Dragon and the Fairy?  How will you arrange to visit them?
Next vacation visit beautiful Viet Nam.
Hen gap lai

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