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About a week leading up to the trip I was asked by several of my friends and coworkers if I was excited for my trip. The simple answer was yes. The more complicated answer was I think I’m excited but I honestly hadn’t had any time to think about it much. With looming deadlines from work and several writing projects all for some reason due the week I had to leave, I pretty much ran myself ragged and by the time I headed off to the airport I was frankly over-exhausted.
The flight there consisted of three legs. NY (LGA) to Chicago (O’Hare). Chicago to Hong Kong. Hong Kong to Saigon (Than Son Nut). I met my parents in Chicago and we boarded the plane. As we were taxiing on the runway, I thought to myself “Wow, I usually have bad luck flying in and out of Chicago. Luck is on my side today.” Sure enough we ran into a mechanical problem and had to be taken back to the gate. Grrr….
After a two hour delay we headed back out and finally took off. Frankly 2 hrs is nothin when you’re sending a month in Vietnam.
This was my first international flight and what I noticed the most was how incredibly rude the passengers were. People getting up out of their seat while the plane was moving, people not stowing their baggage properly, throwing trash in the middle of the aisle, etc. The flight attendants had to make a dozen announcements about not getting up out of the seats, but they went largely ignored.
Once the flight took off, I relaxed a bit more and the whole trip started to feel more real to me. It feels strange returning to a place you haven’t been in 33 years. I only have 2-3 memories of Vietnam that I’ve carried with me in my life, and now I ‘m heading back there to create new ones or rediscover old ones. I’m most nervous about meeting all my relatives. These are people I’ve either never met or don’t remember from my childhood.