9/25/2017: Little Thoughts

I pick up shells on the beach. Sometimes small ones pucker the sand in the early morning when I go for a run. They look like bits of candy. Striped pink, swirls of purple but you wouldn’t notice until you lowered your face inches from the sand. I must scoop them up and run them…

9/5/2017: Tien Sa Beach

Hai Van pass stretched around the water and up into the jungle brush and bramble. It was hot and salt dripped down my back as we stopped to stretch our eyes to the end of the ocean. A tour bus to our right. Westerners in elephant-loose pants to our left. I saw a beach through…

8/8/17: Neon Streets

Neon lights drip beads of sweaty sugar onto small wooden coffee tables. Men sit with knees splayed and grins wider, hands on bellies laughing until they collect the neon in their open mouths. Coffee the color of deer hide swishes with large tubes of ice cube. Condensed milk is milk with no sugar here. Coffee…

7/25/2017: Ghosts

There are ghosts in Vietnam, didn’t anybody ever tell you that? There are silent tears on every corner and wide smiles too, real smiles mingled with the salty water in the air. Do you know why the air is so heavy here? The air is heavy with the weight of ghosts, ghosts that are made…

7/17/17: Monkey Island

I finally had a free day this past Sunday- no teaching classes, observations, or lesson plans. My patience with the city was dwindling and a few of my classmates were feeling the same way. So we rented motorbikes. We had a simple plan, to find monkey island, or Cat Ba. It was relatively easy renting…

7/12/2017: Now Land Animals

Today the noise of the traffic- the constant barrage of honking motorbikes, the slap of meat on small grills, the smells that bungle against each other as they reach sticky fingers toward my nose, and the stares that bump and compete as they look for a clear way into why I am here- they get…

Pentimento

I first came across pentimento in an art class. When I heard it, I thought of an iceberg– not because of the sound– but the word itself seemed to travel deeper than its surface meaning. I remember my teacher explaining what pentimento means; she used the word “reappearance” which is a strange word itself meaning that…