Vietnam, Me Love You Long Time

Last month, I went on a week-long trip to Indochina with Ralph and Fritz, my friends from college. Still fresh out of university, we booked this trip on a whim, when we were still working on our first jobs.

Like any relationship built on desire rather than love, our first well-paying, cubicle jobs didn’t work out.

And so, unemployed clueless millennials that we were, our excitement for the trip, which we hastily and recklessly booked, was mingled with panic, and other times, despair.

But of course, the excitement (three countries! no parents! milking the essence of our youth!) overwhelmed the panic/despair. Eventually, we found ourselves jobbed and hopeful once more.

We arrived at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on September 13, Saturday, and spent the following day exploring the city.
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Notes on Public Transit

1 – Shit on Wheels

The bus seats were melting. Tan foam, blue cloth, and yellowing covers were collapsing, ready to get lost among feet. The checked curtains barely filtered the sunlight flooding through the windows. The air was humid, stagnant, unbreatheable. A cockroach crawled over someone’s shoe. We were all thinking: why do we put up with this sordid state of transportation, this dilapidated excuse for a vehicle?! We looked outside the windows, even if the sun blinded us, even if all we could see was a bit of our neighbors’ profile, a sliver of cheek, an ear. Anything to avoid each other’s eyes.

 

2 – The Boy and His Envelopes

The child alights from the vehicle like a thief, lithe and nimble. By his oversize tattered clothing and filthy bare feet, you think to yourself that yes, maybe he is a thief. Maybe at night, he lurks in a dark street corner, waiting for a lady with a handbag to walk by and not see him. He steps into her shadow, maybe, and guts the lady’s handbag with a knife, expertly drawing a slit on its underside. And maybe when the lady returns home or rides a jeepney, her hand will fumble inside her bag for a wallet that is no longer there. Continue reading

Girls struck a chord

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My frequent references to the HBO series Girls eventually led me to watch the entire first season in one sitting. I guess I couldn’t continue referencing the show with only a vague knowledge of what it’s about. It’s quite un-hip to do that. It’s almost the same as wearing a t-shirt of a band you don’t listen to, which, in the spirit of honesty, I confess to have done on occasion.

Another reason why I finally decided to watch it is I’m seeking affirmation for my feelings. I’m  particularly talking about my feelings as an unemployed recent graduate who was thrust, albeit unwillingly, into the waters of young adulthood.

How convenient is it that Lena Dunham supplied us with Girls, a television series about the highs and lows of being a twenty-something in New York City.

Now, it’s necessary to point out the very obvious fact that I do not live in NYC. Hence, there’s a big chance that I may not experience situations that may arise from living in a place like NYC, such as, but not limited to: working as an unpaid intern at a publishing company, ‘smoking a glass cigarette’ while lining up to use the bathroom at a warehouse party, and keeping a complicated relationship with a scantily clad recovering alcoholic.

But then, who knows.

Despite these differences, I admit that I could identify with the characters in Girls. There’s Hannah’s ambition to become the voice of a generation (or at least a voice) and the physical insecurities that she treats with self-deprecation. There’s Shoshana’s naivety and Jessa’s radicalism. Best of all, there’s Marnie, who’s unapologetic bitchiness and overall uptightness are eerily familiar.

Truth is, like Dunham’s Hannah, I’m also ‘really scared all the time.’ I am left with no choice but to become a real functional actual grownup. Even if the idea seems cozy, relegating myself to teenhood is not an option.

So help me god and bless me with a 9-5, ASAP.