What I’ve learnt in Vietnam

I’ve recently been to Vietnam, one of the Asian dragons in past few years, the place to be. Not only it is my home country, it is full of undiscovered goods we in Europe never dreamt of.

Being raised in the Czech republic, my view on my origin was kind of twisted. Czechs don’t like Vietnamese (also gypsies, Russians and Ukrainians…), they despise them, make fun of them. To them, we are invaders from a poor country, stealing their ‘job opportunities’ and pretty czech women. Czech way of thinking became mine. Don’t blame me, I’ve lived here since I was two years old. Slowly I started avoiding places with a lot of Vietnamese folks. I never talked to them. I felt ashamed when I heard a Vietnamese person talking loudly in public transport. No one could change my mind; Vietnamese are hoi polloi. 

So when my mom one day said ‘We are going to Vietnam in November!’ I was nothing but ignorant. To me it was just an obligatory visit of my relatives I’ve never really got to know. I wasn’t excited at all. Actually, I was a bit mad because it meant I would have to miss two weeks of school right before the exam week. However, I knew how important it was for my mom so I didn’t protest that much. Can you imagine not seeing your family and dearest friends for 14 years? I certainly can’t.

On 10th Nov, we flew to Hanoi. The flight itself lasted 16 hours + transit I think. We were so tired, I thought I’d vomit my brain out. I wasn’t able to realise what was going on. I saw my grandpa, my cousins, people were hugging me and suddenly I was standing there holding three bunches of flowers. Pretty flowers that grow only in tropical zone. I saw a palm tree. The sky was so blue, exactly like the sky you usually see when you dream.

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Last time I went to Vietnam I was a 5-year-old  little bastard. One of the few things I clearly recall is that whenever I was sitting in a car, I threw up. I can proudly say, even on our 4 hours trip to Ha Long Bay, I didn’t get sick or anything. Vietnam has improved so much since my last visit! Yes, you still get to see people cooking in poor conditions and you can’t drink tap water or trust every vendor (especially if you are white). But even Rome wasn’t build in a day!

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It isn’t for the fact I’ve bought shitload of pretty clothes for cheap that I fell in love with Vietnam. It’s the culture. Finally I could fully understand. I’ve heard those people laughing out so loudly, I bet no czech person laughs as loud. I’ve seen night market and us fighting over few dongs when buying gifts for my friends. The air was so warm and humid, just like our temper. So warm and friendly. We went to Elizabeth Arden’s shop in Hanoi and the sales assistant braided my hair because I said she has a nice braid. That would NEVER happen here in Prague. Old grandmas were holding my hair, admiring my height.  In the Czech republic, I’m an ugly chinky eyed midget. There I was a pretty and tall expat. What a difference.

When I was walking down the streets today, in Prague, some disgusting streetworker said as I was passing by: “..so I’ve heard Chinese are so tight, they scream a lot during IT…” – I couldn’t give a shit. When I was in Vietnam, people addressed me lady. And that I want to remain. A lady.

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Visiting my hometown helped me realize who I am. Where are my roots. I will never get rid of czech impacts that are carved deeply in my soul but neither will I get rid of my indigenous culture. I feel so proud to be Vietnamese. I don’t care what others say. I know the truth. I know that we are a friendly, hard-working nation. We’ve been through harsh times, Americans couldn’t beat us, neither will you.

I only want you to realize this: Don’t listen blindly to what others say about you. Maybe that you are a worthless fat cunt or a disgusting yellow trash. Do your own research. Maybe you actually are fat and disgusting and worthless. But you know… what if not?

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