Some things that happened recently:
Sunday was my two-year anniversary in Vietnam. In 2004, I left Columbus, Ohio on December 1st and arrived here on December 3rd. Now, minus perhaps 10 days for retreats in Thailand and Cambodia, I’ve lived in Vietnam. It was interesting to reflect a little on the things that I haven’t done in two years. And even on the things that I consider to be normal after two years. For example, things that I haven’t done in two years: driven a car, drank tap water, used a shower curtain, had coffee at midnight, etc. Things that are normal after two years: chopsticks, crazy traffic, text messages, sweet coffee, etc. I’m afraid that I’ll be going through some huge culture shock going home.
Another thing that happened over the past few days: On Monday, after carefully arranging my schedule so that I would teach a lot on Tuesday to finish up some classes, I heard the news that all classes would be canceled. This was the first that I’d heard about this, ever, at AGU. The reason: the typhoon that had blasted the Philippines was headed for the southern Vietnamese coast, and it was predicted to come through An Giang. I was upset about the cancellation of classes, but I thought: “Hey, it’s a day off.” I woke up in the morning, expecting violent rain and wind, but I saw the sun shining in my window. I went out a little later to a repair show to have some adjustments made on the motorbike, and it was a little cool and windy, but nothing really to worry about. I met Tyler and we had lunch while the bike was getting finished up. We talked about the storm, and agreed that it really didn’t seem like it was worth canceling classes for. Then we heard it was about 60 km from us, and would be here in an hour. That hour rolled around, and then we heard it would hit between 6 and 8 p.m. And then it was bedtime. The only thing that I’d noticed the whole day was the cool air, the sprinkling rain and the wind. I would’ve loved to teach in that weather!
However, this typhoon, named “Durian,” did kill people up on the coast of Vietnam, and it destroyed lots of houses at places closer to the coast. So, I guess it was right to take it seriously, but maybe not so far inland.