This post has been long overdue. There have been so many tremendous changes in my life recently that I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll organize this post into a couple sections.
We are now living in Eugene, Oregon, right next to the University of Oregon campus, where Ngân is studying her master’s in international studies. We arrived here after a 5-day road trip from Ohio and it was spectacular to see to much of the country. I’m still trying to get used to the weather here, which seems to be mainly overcast with light rain, but there are some days with sunshine, such as yesterday. There does not appear to be a substantial Vietnamese community here in town, but there are a couple restaurants. However, Ngân has been making better Vietnamese food at home anyway. There are no “quán nhậus” in the Vietnamese sense here.
Find a job is tough. I don’t know how many job applications I’ve filled out and how many resumes I’ve sent. All with barely any response or acknowledgement. It’s a bit of a downer, but I’m following up on leads and continuing to search. I’m also doing a bit of work for several Vietnamese firms. The one issue is that they really can’t send me my wages because of Vietnam’s ridiculous banking system. It guess it’s a type of forced savings for when I get back to Vietnam.
The beginning of October marked one year of me not smoking. Now, over the course of the year, there were a couple times when I had a cigar in the midst of revelry, but like Bill Clinton said, “I did not inhale.” There were times, especially in the first few months after I quit, when I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay away from cigarettes, but I have for a year now. And I’m proud of it.
Last June, I ran in my first race ever, the 10k challenge at the Phu Quoc Half Marathon. Well, I decided to push it up a notch and I have since registered for the Eugene Half Marathon which will happen in April. For those of you who aren’t too sure on the distance, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, or around 21km. Right now, I’m working up to that distance and then I’ll start training for it. I’ve realized that running for the sake of running doesn’t motivate me much. However, the motivation of finishing a race with a decent time motivates me to get out and run and train in all kinds of weather.
I’ve mentioned to a couple people that I am still in the honeymoon phase here in Eugene and am liking everything a lot (except for the lack of employment). However, I’ve been in the U.S. for nearly two months now, and there are times when I miss something about Vietnam, like cheap coffee on the street, constant warm weather or a good laugh with friends. I hope culture shock doesn’t hit me too hard, but I’m fully expecting that it will, sooner or later. I just have to remember that I will be back to Vietnam in the future. It’s not a matter of if, but when.