Sunday, December 25, 2016

I left my heart in Vietnam and my stuff in the USA

A lot of us are thinking the same fucking thing; why don't we just quit our jobs and start a new life somewhere foreign? It's not as easy as it sounds, but it is definitely worth the sacrifice. I am officially moving to Vietnam in a week from now to teach English. But I decided to come back for the holidays to see my friends and family once more before I possibly permanently move abroad. I also wanted to pick up some of my shit that I left in the USA such as rare camera equipment, whiskey and American condoms. Personally, I have not been happy living in the United States of America. I tried to fill the gaps in my life with people, a good job, material possessions, and a cute puppy Golden Retriever.  These things gave me temporary euphoria and didn't stick much, minus the puppy named Kino. When I left to visit Vietnam I was working a retail job at a clothing store in San Francisco as seasonal work. Don't get me wrong I love clothes and their significance and effect on the psychology of someone dressed really well but I also didn't feel like it gave me much purpose being into retail. Before that job and during I had been doing freelance photography with a variety of small start ups and offices which needed images produced at a high standard to place on their websites for eccomerce, which is internet slang for shit you can look at on the internet and then buy without even having to take a single step out your door. 

I saw the American Dream and the pressures of western culture bringing everyone and myself down. The pressure to go on dates and get a job that will support you in one of the most expensive cities in the country (San Francisco). Not even one job but I would meet people with maybe 2-3 jobs and for what? For the promise that someday you will meet a man or woman that will provide you with the opportunity to have 2 kids, a dog a house and a nice car maybe with some nice things to look at and make you fell better?? I don't want kids personally and feel as though the earth is over populated with enough idiots including myself. I will adopt a child in need because I am adopted. The most I can ever manage is a full-time job and freelance work on the weekend maybe. Let's be honest, I have had help from my family, which has allowed me to live in San Francisco for as long as I had and pay for college (THANK YOU MOM AND DAD) (about 7 years total of living, working and going to school in the Bay Area) and get to and from Vietnam (once), but without abusing this privilege because my intentions are good. No one can afford these big American cities anymore except the rich new techie yuppies who have zero imagination. 

I left partially because of how ridiculously expensive the rent was and I'm sure lots of others were faced with the same problem, plus all the Larry's invading Frisco. The other reason was because I was ready for change and to pursue a career in photography somewhere with room to grow (New York City or Los Angeles). People being evicted in the mission and their homes being invaded by techies...I love San Francisco and all the people I managed to stay friends with and what they represented as natives or people who support the culture of the city. I learned so much from the Bay Area natives and I love you all!  I am not saying I have all the answers here in my life or know where I am going but I can confidently say that I am on my way to a place other than the USA!

People in Vietnam take care of their families and make it their priority to stay healthy to see that through. You live in your families home until you are married, which seems practical to me (besides the marriage part). They are having their grandparents even live in the same home! It's amazing how much these people are together but I still have time to discover if this is completely true. They are not facing housing issues the way we are here in the USA where rent is spiking. 

In Vietnam, a developing country, you can have a nice life as a westerner without all the extra bullshit. You might not have all the nice things that are readily available to you in the USA such as a grocery store filled with fresh produce, designer brands, cars, toilets that you can flush toilet paper down, Four Barrel coffee and super burritos. But what you can have is a life where you are spending less money and this is important. 

Money there is as much of an issue as it is here in the USA. They have a system where the poor can feel like they have a million dollars. The exchange rate is roughly 22,500 dong = 1 USD. Their biggest bill is half a million then there is 200k, 100k, 50k, 20k, 10k, 5k, 2k and 1k (a lot of paper currency, no coins). To give you an idea of what the value of $1 in Vietnam is I made this list; Cigarettes (15,000d), Bánh mì (20,000d), Beer (20,000d for a can, 10,000d for a bottle, 5,000d for a cup), Petrol $1.26 per liter (25,000d), Pho soup (55,000d). These prices all can vary depending if you are local or foreign, the locals tax the out of towner's and usually throw a dollar or two on top of the real price.

It's sad to see but the majority of the population is as money hungry as we are in the US but they do live off the land and what's local more than we do. They eat pretty much anything that moves; all types of snails, turtles, snakes and dogs...(not cool). It's a difficult concept to wrap your mind around when you are not accustomed to these foods as they are almost like pets to us or maybe considered endangered or just fucking weird to even think about eating. 


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