Sunday, October 28, 2007

So much to say about Vietnam! I do not even know where to begin.

First, the four of us attract quite a lot of attention when we go out. A tall, bald white guy; a short, blond white lady with crazy curly hair (Will, dad can never again use his mailman comments about where you get your hair! Mine looks like yours in this humidity!); a tall, beautiful white girl; a short beautiful Korean girl. It is the Korean that really throws people off. I'm sure they see enough adoptive parents with a VN child, but they know Kim is Korean so they have a really hard time figuring out what the four of us are doing in VN. (For the record, yes, Asians can easily tell ones heritage.) It will be interesting to see what happens once we get Vu.

The people are very friendly here and appreciate our attempts to speak VN. Many people speak English so it is easy to buy things and ask questions.

We get Vu tomorrow! As we were eating our breakfast this morning we were talking about the excitment but I couldn't help but think his caretakers are feeling sadness right now. We know they will miss him dearly. As I look around this beautiful country I cannot help but feel regret that Vu will leave these warm, friendly people here, living a more laid-back life than in the states. I can see that children are very treasured here and an integral part of life. Some people believe the luckiest kids are American but I believe people can be happy anywhere and the people here do seem happy. I am in alignment with Holt's beliefs that if at all possible, a child should be raised in their birth family and if that is not possible, they should be adopted within their country of birth. International adoption is the third option and the best option for Vu now. Yes, he is lucky to be able to go to the land of the free but I will never let him forget this beautiful land of his birth.

People ride motor scooters everywhere here. We see three and even four people riding and children and even tiny babies. The babies often wear a netting over their faces while many of the people wear masks to protect them from the pollution. And yes, it can be quite the experience to cross the street!

People are ingenius here, carrying loads on scooters or bicycle that would fit in a pick-up truck! I even saw a man this morning carrying a tire by wearing it around his waist like a life ring. People take very good care of their belongings, carefully washing trucks and scooters that would be found in the dump in the U.S.

We have done more shopping than I expected but things are also very inexpensive here. Yesterday when we entered the market, Eric got grabbed by two ladies. One pinched his butt! He laughed about it and said as long as they don't try to grab his dong. The currency is called "dong" and yes, this leads to all sorts of fifth-grade-boy-behavior on our parts! Ha-ha! The exchange rate is 16,000 dong to the dollar so one becomes a millionaire very quickly! Dollars are accepted as readily as dong in the market and the exchange rate is almost the same--about 15,000 dong to the dollar. Our hotel also offers the same exchange rate as we received at the airport.

James you will be proud of me. I drank a beer yesterday. We went to the rooftop restaurant of the Rex Hotel where news correspondents used to congregate during the Vietnam war. I even ordered a Veitnamese beer.

We bought the girls au dais yesterday to wear to Vu's Giving and Receiving Ceremony tomorrow. They look beautiful in traditional VN dresses.

Tomorrow is the big day! I promise, pictures soon! It takes a long time to download.

2 comments:

maxhelcal said...

Ann,

I'm so excited for you! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. We saw a gentleman carrying a refrigerator when we were there! It was amazing! I can't wait to hear all about your first meeting with Vu!

~Michelle

The Coys said...

We are thinking of you. You will meet Vu while we are still sleeping! I hope it is fantastically memorable and that you soak up each moment.