Desk Notes · In Việt Nam

Miếng săng uých

Cooking!, at times. But also just making sandwiches, sometimes, too. Lockdown continues in its strictest form for another month; which is a long time, but I guess, so is a year and a half and that’s how long I’ve been in Vietnam just kind of waiting for borders to open and meantime looking for fun things to make, and ideally, co-create. I love a good party. Anyway, the food is fun to try and so is learning about how to say things. A different language can open your eyes to an entirely fascinating new way of thinking.

Some new folks and I got together on a call. We talked on a call this week about ‘acculturation’ versus ‘assimilation’ or what I further went on to read is ‘integration’ and then there’s also ‘marginalization.’ All these big multisyllabic words to describe the feelings one traverses, in different personalities of whom we are as we approach those borders that delineate us from ‘something I don’t know yet’, and how we cope with the ‘acculturation stress’. Which is the updated word, it appears, for ‘culture shock.’


Did I have culture shock coming to Vietnam? In 2013, yes. In 2020, less. In 2021, I’m halfway to something else, scaling that barrier. Starting with pronunciation. Hopefully, steadily, two steps forward and one step back, doing more. Changing. Inwardly. And in so doing, perchance arriving closer and closer to the center of a New.


Which, after all, is kind of amazing and hard, yes, especially with this Delta thing and lots of time to read the internet while waiting for HCMC to reopen, for one, then VN, then.. the world. Or something. For today, ‘sandwich.’ Miếng săng uých. I like this.