Upon returning and settling into my life in western NY I noticed that nothing had changed. Everything looked the same, the people at my fitness center were the same, the shopping was the same, things people bitch about was the same.
I am not the same. The eyes I see with, the ears I hear with, the mind I understand with are all different. During my experience in Viet Nam what I have seen, heard, and known has brought me to a very different reference point in life. I am not sure what, or where that point is, and I do know it is not the same as before I left. Like Susan Herrmann told me, "Once you know something you can't "unknow" it." Now when I listen to the conversations around me, I am listening from that other reference point. Mostly I just listen and when the opportunity presents itself I add my thoughts to the conversation. The thoughts from my current reference point are not always understood or welcomed. What I know is that experiencing time in countries outside of the US brings a worldview which cannot be achieved by any other means.
For me, spending time with the Children of the Dragon and the Fairy in the City by the Han River has held up a mirror to who I am. It has shown me how I participated in the ugliness of war and how I have chosen to embrace the beauty, poetry, and culture of Viet Nam and her people. I learned so much during that four months that when people ask me about it sometimes it comes out as one cultural/political/historical whole that is all rooted together. Sometimes so much of it comes out that I surprise myself and assume that I am overwhelming the listener.
Channeling all of this into specific speeches and poetry might be a good summer project, or I could go ride my motorcycle and continue to savor it all. Yeah I think that is what I will do, allow it to all simmer a bit more before ladling it out.
During this week of May 21th I have the great opportunity to reconnect with Thao as she starts her summer internship here in Rochester. She is staying with us for a few days until her room mate sorts out the apartment arrangements. Thao is from Ha Noi and is the person who suggested the whole Viet Nam trip to begin with. So it is fitting that we reconnect at this time. Ain't life funny.
Next vacation have some laughs in beautiful Viet Nam
Hen gap lai