One of the best things about this central trip was the chance to finally see my Vietnamese family. My grandparents in Vietnam have already passed away and I was never able to meet them, so going to their home and seeing the place where my dad grew up and all his sisters and brothers was really a touching moment for me. My parent's came back to Vietnam for the 49th day of my grandmother's passing which is a big deal, so they were only here for a funeral basically and my uncle and cousin came back for the same thing too. It was fortunate that I was going to the central at the same time. My dad's hometown is in Quy Nhon, but he lives in the country side where it takes 2 hours to get and 2 hours to get out of the city. I thought I wasn't going to get the chance to see my family or my dad's home because it was such a long way for me to get there and they don't own a car or anything. So my dad said that they would just come into the city and stay for a couple of hours and then leave, but my aunts really wanted to meet me so they told my dad to bring me back. They rented a car taxi to drive them into the city to pick me up and then we all went back to my dad's hometown. I come from a family of rice farmers. The whole area is belongs to the "Pham" family and everyone there has our last name. How we are related, I have no clue, but we somehow in someway. My aunt lives in a small house with just one room for sleeping where like 6 of them share it. They have a kitchen attached and then another room for the alter. They just built a bathroom and a place to shower about 2 days before I came there and it's outside, so it's not attached to the house. The land that surrounds the area is all rice fields and so it's green and lushes, and a beautiful scenery for me. Overall, it's really hot and the house is pretty small for everyone to live there. But it didn't matter to me really because it was just nice getting the chance to see my family. To see what they look like and to talk with them. It was just really nice and to be able to be there with my parents too. However, i know that live there is a lot harder and more painful, so it makes me sad that there's not much more for them that I can do. We've always sent money over from America, and I thought that it was to help them out, but it seems that even the money that we send isn't enough to live on so even though we send money and try to help, it's not enough. That makes me sad. Knowing that I get to live such a great life and come to Vietnam and enjoy all the landmarks and places that not even my family can go to or people here in Vietnam that I have met can visit just makes me realize how privileged I am here. Later, my cousin's husband drove me on this motorbike back to the city which is another 2 hours and he had to drive back with makes it a 4 hour ride on the motorbike and trust me, 2 hours is enough to make my ass hurt. Going back into Quy Nhon, I met up with my cousin who's from America and visiting also, and we just went to drink sinh to and chat and with her was a monk and his friend. So it was the 4 of us and a monk sitting on the sidewalk talking about life and giving me words of wisdom.
On that note, I definitly love the central a lot more. Quy Nhon, Da Nang, Hoi An, Kon tum, Hue, they're all places that I could see myself living in Vietnam. Coming into EAP Vietnam, I thought that the place where we were staying and going to school would be like those places. It was how i dream of Vietnam being. Hanoi is fun too, but it's the people that make it so. All the UCHANU kids and people we meet make the place lively, but the city itself... all the dust, people pushing, motorbikes, crowds, smell, streets, it's something that I can do without. In the central, it's just a lot more freer and calmer and a nice place I think. Especially Quy Nhon, which is probably my favorite place. Da Nang was ok, but Hoi An was even better because I got a suit tailor made for me there. I definitely want to go back and get more stuff tailored. Da Nang, was great in that I could see the giant Bodhisattva which was incredible and the temple there. Kon Tom, it was a lonnnng hike, but the village was nice and sleeping and staying in the stillhouse was an experience. Probably my second favorite place would be Hue. Renting a bike and riding it around Hue, into the countryside made me fall in love with Hue. Then, going on that full day tour to all the cultural parts and the temple was just a great experience. I definitely want to go back to the central.