Same life.

I moved somewhere where it is always summer. There is a dog on my street that wears a little sweater with a collar. There is a palm tree out my window that is swaying in the wind as I type. It is raining, intermittent downpour that washes dirt and rice into the place gutters would be and big drops that sound like baseballs slapping the blacktop.

Decided on a couple of must-see places, Cat Tien National Park and an island called Phu Quoc in the Gulf of Thailand. Went to inquire about them and found out I can take a bus to the park (four hours from HCMC) for only 5 dollars; can fly to the island for $48.00 one way which is very good; Saigon is a city I think I will have to leave to miss.

I left Vietnam Airlines crossed Truong Son St., which Rufus says it is not a hard street to cross but to me it is basically a four lane highway, and went back to my room which Mme. Tuhy had just finished cleaning. She brought me a little glass bowl and some chopsticks which really touched me for some reason, and she picked up all of my clothes off the floor, so she is not going to let me be a slob, got it.

When I walked out my room this guy who lives here asked if I wanted to go to the airport with him to pick up one of his friends which I usually never turn down a chance to go to the airport but I must say I have not been feeling 100% like myself and as all the power was still out decided to go to the mall just to be in the A/C someplace.

I hear “Hello teacher” turn around it is a new boy in one of my classes there with his mom and his brother. They all made me really happy, why was I getting emotional about chopsticks and students, two common things in the new life. Well, I felt done with the mall and it was too hot for parks or cafes, so I keep walking and eventually just end up back at the building where the school is, on the tenth floor of which there is a cinema.

I’ve never even gone up there; the school is on the sixth floor, but the elevator just happened to go up there and the next thing I knew I was in Sex and the City 2. Don’t read the reviews, I made the mistake of it while looking up the New York song (it’s by Jay-Z) I’d heard for the first time while bedridden watching Fashion TV on Bui Vien, second time just last night at the Piss Up (again Rufus).

Maybe it is just the simple fact that it was something familiar in this land of strangeness. That could have been it. I actually got choked up at a couple parts (did also roll my eyes at Carrie a couple of times–you do that with her), said out loud Carrie don’t forget your passport which is definitely good, talking to yourself in a movie.

When I walked out I was doing my Carrie walk obviously and this guy backed up and knocked over one of the heavy metal silver stands that hold those velvet ropes, it was nice. And when I left I thought this is what art is supposed to do. Is it art?

And then there was this little girl riding on the back of a motorbike in the light rain, yellow hooded sweatshirt, and the lights from the stadium were hitting her face like a spotlight, her little cameo, and she was pointing at something, gesture someone older would do, and I just thought, I love her: she is part of my life, not just here; anywhere.

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8 thoughts on “Same life.

  1. we are thinking about a viet nam visit pretty seriously…but then you know how we talk stuff to death and plan and re-plan. Around Christmas for 12 days….will you have some time off then? You sound a little homesick….I love you, mom

  2. Do NOT go to too many places without me…as tempting as it must be!! Saw sex and the city 2 too and also loved it. Unusual for me bcos im not your average chick flick kind of girl! 3 months!!! Have provisionally booked 3 weeks off work (w/c 11th Sept til 4th Oct) so we're looking anywhere within a week either way of those dates.x

  3. Truly a foreign country!I need to come up with a nickname for you -oh brave one. Goldilocks does not do you justice. I am thinking…Harriet. Have you read Harriet the Spy?..fearless, inquisitive, instinctual, independent, charming and disarming with an extra measure of fashion sense, often espousing controversial ideas, and writing faithfully about everyone and everything she sees and experiences. Harriet it is.You are like the girl on the motorbike in that you are always pointing to something- encouraging others to turn their heads an take notice – with both your life and your words.Yesterday I nearly stepped on a toad the size of a tennis ball. I jumped 4 feet into the air…and when I reflect on you and your gypsy soul and the lizard on your wall and the snake around your neck and the irradiated cockroach under your book I think, Harriet, you've got moxie! There IS nothing more valuable than our dignity and our character…they reflect our soul and live on long after we have moved on, imprinting those we've encountered only briefly as well as those we have touched deeply.

  4. harriet huh? pretty close to ozzie,(as in the old tv show ozzie and harriet) and harriet is what one of my friends at work calls me. too funny.

  5. The TOAD speaks in Elizabeth's Bishop's "Rainy Season: Sub-Tropics:" I am too big, too big by far. Pity me./My eyes bulge and hurt. They are my one great beauty, even so./They see too much, above, below, and yet there is not much to see. In contrast, the crab, dapper, elegant, believes in the oblique, the indirect approach, admires compression, lightness, agility. I feel like the toad you almost stepped on, outpouring, clumsy, hoping, at the least, to sustain interest. And yet. I carry a picture of a crab; it was the one color picture I brought.

  6. Dear Harriet,I am too big by far…do not pity me. My eyes are my one great beauty-and they see far too much above, below and within. I must gather up some of Elizabeth Bishop's work, brew some tea, and spend an afternoon with her!excerpt from "Breakage" -Mary OliverFirst you figure out what each one means by itself,/the jingle,the periwinkle, the scallop/full of moonlight./Then you begin,slowly, to read the whole story….so it is with the the crab and the toad.

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