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Raindrops keep falling on my head

July 17, 2012

This week we’ve had some amazing storms here in Atlanta. Rain so heavy I can barely see across the street. Thunder so loud it makes me plug my ears. Lightning so bright night becomes day. Other than the plugging of the ears, I love it. Amid all the water and sound, it has me thinking of another place where the storms rocked my world on a daily basis – Vietnam. I think that when we first moved home I was so glad to be here and so busy being pregnant that I didn’t think about what we had left, but the rain is bringing it all back.

My mind goes through a day in Vietnam and I see faces. The faces of Xuan and the girls who cleaned our apartment. The people who worked at the desk downstairs at our apartment. The cute girls in the mini-market. The guys in the green shirts and white gloves who worked for Vinasun – the taxi company that waited outside our complex. The lady who made shakes and served beers at the pool – and always seemed mildly annoyed with us. The lady who parked her corn cart in front of our building every night. The group of teenagers and the one old guy who sat in between the buildings and always wanted to give me a ride somewhere. My haircut guy. The family at the pho shop down the street. The people I bought vegetables from in the alley. The girl who sold shoes at the Ben Thanh Market. The nice thing is, when I remember each of these faces they are always smiling at me (well except for the lady at the pool.)

Due to the language barrier, I didn’t tell most of these people we were leaving. We were just gone. I hate that. It feels odd to live somewhere for a year and then know that it may be years before we see the place again. And whenever we do go back and visit many things will have changed.

There isn’t really a point to this except that sometimes I miss Vietnam.

I’ve found in life though that when we miss things we are usually missing an edited version of them. We miss the romance and adventure of living in a foreign country. Not the frustrations of paying bills or buying bleach, duct tape or a lamp. We miss driving a motorbike everywhere and we miss the amazing storms and the view from our twenty-fifth floor apartment. Not the fact that sometimes those amazing storms caught us off guard and all the ponchos in the world couldn’t help us.



When we first moved there, I remember riding along in a taxi and seeing all the motorbikes start to pull off to the side of the road. Next thing you knew, everyone was wearing ponchos and back on the road. Within a few minutes it would start raining. If you were unlucky and didn’t have a poncho – don’t worry. Someone with a cart full of ponchos would magically appear to sell you one. I can only imagine that the price at least doubled when it was raining. I wondered how they all knew when to get their ponchos on, but I suppose after a lifetime of it you catch on.

One day I got caught in the rain and even though my body was covered by a poncho, I nearly ruined my nice shoes. From then on, I always kept a pair of flip-flops under the seat of the bike so I could change my shoes if a storm hit.



Yesterday, Jonathan, Alida and I walked to the grocery store. We did it partially for exercise, partially because Alida doesn’t seem to like the car lately and partially because we could. Just as we got to the parking lot it started raining. Thunder, lightning – the whole shebang. I looked everywhere for the poncho or umbrella lady, but since she wasn’t to be found, we called Kari to give us a ride.

Maybe I should starting packing a poncho in the diaper bag.

Oh, how things have changed 🙂

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 12:21

    Clever with the shoes… isn’t a great feeling when you plan for something and it actually comes in handy?

  2. charitylou permalink
    July 17, 2012 13:09

    Love this! I even miss my 6 day visit after reading this… Ahh, good times.

  3. Jonathan Lewis permalink
    July 17, 2012 14:01

    Thanks for the memories babe, love ya! Please start writing again, please.

  4. Angela permalink
    July 17, 2012 21:20

    You are so talented. I totally agree with Jonathan.

  5. Ruth petersen permalink
    July 17, 2012 22:52

    I just love to read what you write, please write a book, I promise to buy more than one copy….keep it coming…

  6. Katrina permalink
    July 19, 2012 06:23

    It’s rainy season again now. There is more rain than last year and more wind. The other day we were driving past the manor and there was horrid flooding all over that main road, and all the people on motorbikes were getting wet up their waists from the splash up – ponchos are useless from the underneath.

    We had a friend visiting just yesterday who has been living overseas for a few years nw, and backpacking across Asia for a few months, but today is making his way back to nz. We talked about how the return home and the period of reflection and readjustment is as much a part of the journey as all the exotic traveling and how you need to do it in order to complete the process.

    Of course your life a home is now so different from what it was that perhaps you need to have a return to Vietnam so you can reflect and adjust to your new life (repeat ad infinitum!)

    • July 19, 2012 12:33

      Thanks for being my 500th comment 🙂 I wish I had a prize for you.

      Do you think a huge part of the ‘leave where you are to appreciate your life’ is just that the grass is always greener? I feel like I skipped that reflection period when I came home. I suppose that’s what I’m doing now.

      Are you managing to stay dry? I don’t miss being covered from the thighs/waist down with foul water. That’s what taxis are for, right?

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