“It’s not like you’re going through culture shock.”
“I know, I know. So let’s call it habit shock.”
The last twenty-four hours have been a complete whirlwind. I have suffered through the trek from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho, reunited with my home stay family from two thousand five, and moved into an absolutely beautiful three story, three bedroom home. The photos that chi Huyen sent to me several months ago in a push to get me to move to Can Tho, instead of the big city, barely do the house justice. I’m glad that I’m here but at the same time realize that my perspective in Can Tho has changed.
Whereas three years ago I paid little attention to the measures that home owners go through to protect their belongings in Vietnam, I am now beginning to notice just how many bars and padlocks there are in this country. Upon arriving in Can Tho yesterday evening, I was given a set of keys by my sister. One key is for the large lock that adorns the front of my new home. Another key is for the main door. And another is for the door that leads to the rooftop of my abode.
My best friend in Vietnam came to visit me last night. After dismounting her motorbike, she reprimanded me for not helping her roll the vehicle inside of my home’s greeting area. She was only stopping by for a moment, and when I questioned her need to roll the motorbike inside, she told me that Vietnamese people work hard for their belongings and want to protect them. Even in the dreadfully quiet alleyway in which my home is situated, padlocks and metal bars abound, and even the cars are protected by steel cages.
I have only been in Can Tho for a day and I am not yet used to the attention to detail that my stay here will require. In America, even in the shadiest neighborhoods, I had no issue at all with leaving my car doors unlocked to fill up at gas stations or to stop by friends’ homes. Then again, maybe I was just one of the lucky souls back home.
Padlocks aside, I’m excited about the world of possibilities that await me in Can Tho and in my new home. I now have enough room for an office, a sleeping room, and a guest room for when family members and friends sleep over. And, who knows. I might now be able to buy a few paintings to hang on the walls of my new sanctuary.