VIETNAM!! and communal couriers

You know that one part in Home Alone where the mom is on the airplane and finally realizes what she's missing and sits upright in her chair and screams "KEVIN!" Yes, well, that's about what I did this morning when I realized that in one short week I would be boarding an airplane for Vietnam. But I screamed Vietnam instead of Kevin.

I can't believe it's already time to go! I'm so stoked to go back - hopefully I'll have time amid all the traveling to visit some of the friends I made back in 2004. But all of my excitement and forward-looking is kind of on hold while we do all the mundane packing and stuff. And because of a subtle tradition in Vietnamese America (and diaspora in general, I hear) that will not believed unless/until experienced, I am waiting for someone to ask me to bring something back to Vietnam with me. I call it the "communal courier" tradition.

Full disclosure: With a week still to go, I am happy to announce that this trip is not too influence by the communal courier tradition. Yet. But to put it in basic terms, my understanding of this tradition is that there is this large vacation detector in the sky that records all of the trips made to here and from there, and then transmits that info via ham radio or bullhorn to the inhabitants of the earth who are looking to send a gift or medicine or money or the kitchen sink, who then find the trip-taker and approach them with the following pick-up line: "Hey, I hear you're going to ___________? Sounds great! Hey, I was just wondering..." and they proceed to invite you to carry their item with you and deliver it to someone in the land of destination. It's that simple. Why pay international postage when you can send it with someone for free? But is it really for free? The eerie part of it is that there's also a large karma detector up in the sky that has entered into a contract with the vacation detector to keep track of all those who have invited their friends, family members, co-workers or total strangers to bring something along with them, and sooner or later the inviter turns into an invitee and the cycle continues until the original trip-taker has the favor returned to them. Am I making sense? I hope not, but I don't understand a lick of it. But somehow, the whole city knows when we're going to Vietnam and many of them seem to have things they would like to send to Vietnam, without hassling with the postal system. Phew!

Looking at the amount of stuff we have to prepare for the trip (as this is my first introduction to much of my wife's family back in Vietnam and they all expect pictures :), I probably won't be blogging until I'm in Vietnam proper. See ya'll then!

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travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)