Em oi ! A man yells, in efforts to get the attention of the young male waiter . Use to the dialogue now I have used it a couple of times my Brooklyn accent again interfering with the speech, some hear me others dont’ .

Hanoi is filled with green trees. They queue up at the edge of the concrete streets . So tall it looks like it’s kissing the sky with a green bush of hair. Others have arms so skinny that dangle, grazing your head as you walk by . Some have roots so thick it makes me wonder what it has seen over the years .

There are more cars here then Saigon . Use to the traffic , I steadily walk towards the road , allowing the motorbikes to pass me, swirve around me or cuss me cause I’m in there way . It’s the cars you have to look out for , their big bodies will hit you with little no remorse

The night I had bún chà I fell in love . The vermicili noodles come in different styles , from a savory pho to a spicy bún bò hue . But with bún chà, your noodles are given to you on the side , to compliment the sweet soup . You dip your noodles in the broth mixed with pork, you add your lettuce, mint , spice or whatever and the taste just soaks the noodles and by the time you know it your noodles are gone and you’re left with just broth , a soup Then it becomes a craving,Ah I could go for some right now .

Someone asked me on instagram what does self -love look like while abroad. It looks like discovery. While away from your norm, you begin to notice things about yourself, you begin to find more of the things you like/ dislike. Your personality, your style, your grace grows while away from your norm because you don’t feel as pressured. I am coming into myself more while here because I have less to deal with and more time to myself.

Cô oi ! One of my preschoolers yells in efforts to get my attention . Our conversation stops there as my Vietnamese is not as advance as theirs and their English is very little, but we try. Our fun doesn’t stop because of the language barrier , it enhances. High five games have become our thing. More of them trying to get the high fives me and me quickly moving my hand away. 

One small 3 year old who was terrrifed of me when I first arrived has now given me the chance to carry her. A huge accomplishment from our initial interaction, she would stare at me as if she was trying to understand my face , then scurry away when I came close . Now she follows me , gripping my pants with her small palms , attaching herself to me .

Thus, it makes me wonder about hate and prejudice and how it functions within Vietnamese society. She’s 3 year and granted she never seen someone like me in her three years of living, her fear was not imbedded in hate or prejudice. Yet, what if she never seen me? I honestly don’t know what I am trying to say. But what about all those five year ols and six year olds in the states who never have an encounter with a person of color ever? They grow their prejudice and hate from their families. Does such thing exist within Vietnam or is it a matter of ‘ I have never seen you before, who are you?’. Are their prejudices that they carry from their or from televisions? 

Hanoi is scattered with women selling greens on the side of the road early in the morning. Small shops with women selling meals are adjacent to walls with  blue four legged chairs, that are mini dining areas. Grab drivers sit barefoot on their bike enjoying the dry winter breeze. The cafe culture is real here, there is a cafe on almost every street and your coffee will cost more than meals in Saigon, worth it nonetheless. Yellow old french architeture still remain on the top of a lot of shops, with hidden alleys. Older men sit under concetrated on their game of mahjong.  And young men and women sit on small blue chairs under a shady tree, smoking tobacco out of a long wooden pipe accompanied with some green tea.

The old quartes during the weekend is my favorite time. They block off the road starting at Trang Tien and young children are all in baby cars practicing their driving skills in the choas of people. There are people everywhere all around the lake, and all through the quarters. You spend most of your time dodging children in baby cars and parents trying to get the best picture. You don’t ever pass Trang Tien without getting an icecream that will last you all of 3 minutes. The lake’s perimeter is filled with young couples holding hands, old women working out in groups, performers and a lot of dogs. (I stop almost every 5 steps) By the time you reach the quarters, older women with a long rod across their shoulder carrying two baskets, plead for you to buy their fruits or dry donuts and men on cyclones want to give you ride around.