Finding peace in Saigon through the man with the maggots?

Xin Loi (sorry!) – No pictures today!  I’ve had no time to take any with this whole being a “grown up” thing and having lesson plans to prepare and students to enlighten (HA) –  but hopefully I will go on an adventure this weekend and show you the crazy world of Saigon.

It’s amazing how even in this hustle and bustle city, I have already found that people fall into very dependable routines.  On our way to class in the morning, there is a man who sits on the corner with a box of maggots (why?  I have no idea but I’m optimistic that he has a purpose).  There is always the same woman who sells her magic coffee at the end of the alleyway by class (and laughs at my pitiful attempts everyday to order in Vietnamese).  I love that even in a city as unpredictable as Saigon, there are familiar faces to look forward to smiling at (or in the case of maggot man, at least shooting a curious glance at).  These people make the city seem more real for some reason; even though I don’t know the language or understand the culture and often feel like I’m living in the twilight zone, seeing familiar smiles every day makes me feel at home.

As I walk to class in the morning, individuals literally line entire city blocks in tiny red chairs with a pot of coffee or tea and a bowl of pho, like they’re waiting for a big parade, and watch the world go by.  They aren’t reading newspapers or talking on their cell phones – they’re simply pausing their day to sit down and watch.  I’ve been is Saigon less than a week and have only explored the route that leads to class and back again, but I’ve already found comfort in these individuals who seem to take the chaos of the city and transform it into peace.

Instead of reacting to the honking and guzzle of the motos in the streets with frustration and confusion, these individuals look at the scene as something to be admired, reflected, and enjoyed; they are able to view their surroundings as an entertaining reality and embrace it over good food, good, drink and good company.  It sheds perspective on how we should all go into our daily lives; despite how crazy and hectic your surroundings might be, we should remember to take the time to sit down in the middle of it all (literally, the motos ride on sidewalks here too) and remember to enjoy every minute of it.

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About aweinfur

Learning and Organizational Change graduate student at Northwestern University. Yogi. Happy.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Saigon, Southeast Asia, Teaching, Travel, Vietnam. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Finding peace in Saigon through the man with the maggots?

  1. Evan Hudson says:

    I really like your blog. You write well. I’m in exactly the same situation as you-just graduated, entering my second week in Ho Chi Minh City, beginning a career in English education this week. I’ll be working at VAS in District 3.

    I live in District 1 in a townhouse with 3 other teachers. If you’d like to go exploring together, drop me a line.

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