It’s been a little over a week since I arrived in Hanoi feeling wide-eyed, excited, and anxious. I’ve spent the last week getting over jet lag, adjusting to Vietnam’s humidity, and beginning our in-country orientation. I think to myself, It’s only been one week, and I am already exhausted.
It’s nearly 1 o’clock in the morning, and my family is barely awake. We all squeeze into my dad’s 15-year-old minivan with all of my luggage; ten months worth of clothes and supplies are jam-packed into two 50-pound suitcases, a carry-on, and my backpack. My dad pulls out of our neighborhood and makes his way onto I-76 while my mom quickly passes out in the back seat with my two brothers. I am sitting beside my dad in the passenger seat, awake and slightly anxious. As he drives quietly under the gleaming, bright moon, I look over and asks if he’s tired. “No, I have my coffee.” Steering with his left-hand, my dad reaches for his cà phê sữa đá and takes a sip.
I am less than a month away from moving to Vietnam through the Fulbright Program, and I am honestly overwhelmed with emotions. I’ve been bouncing around different ideas on how to stay connected with friends and families, as well as how I can best share my experiences and thoughts during my Fulbright journey, and I thought blogging would be one medium in which I could do that. For my first post, I wanted to share what motivated me to defer my job offer in San Francisco, move thousands of miles away from my immediate family and friends, and teach English to high school students in a country where I can’t even speak the language.