This week I have been, understandably, a little homesick. Not dreadfully so, but this is the longest I have been without seeing at least one member of my family EVER. And of course I am in a country where I am surrounded by people, but very few of them speak my language, and this is a very new experience for me. It’s why I came here: because I think it is important to step outside my comfort zone and try new things, and I also think it is good to feel what it likes to be in a minority.
So, my thoughts have turned to commonalities. Because in amongst the strangeness of a foreign country there are many moments that remind me of the universality of human emotions, and the ability to communicate. An exchange with a taxi driver who attempted a little English, with me attempting a little Vietnamese back, lead to us both giggling at our own efforts. A child running with a balloon and squealing made me stop and smile, and the mother following behind met my eye and nodded. A man on a motorbike was clipped by a bus but luckily was not hurt – but my driver and I both exclaimed.
I tried to capture these thoughts in a poem:
Different but the Same
In a bustling
It is easy to feel alone.
But in that busy bustling city
A shared moment
Of shock or horror
(Sally Murphy, 2018)
And then, after I’d drafted this, three things happened. First, I decided to go to a meet up of women, that I heard about through Facebook.But on the way, I got a little lost and, on the verge of giving up and going home, was helped on my way by a stranger, who went out of his way to ensure I got where I was going. Secondly, on my way home from this wonderfully warm morning of chat, I was stopped by a stranger who was lost and, it turned out, I was able to help him (a fellow Aussie!) get his bearings. Thirdly, the discussion in between times lead to us talking about commonalities, and, as a follow up, to sharing of this video from Maya Angelou, all about humanity!
Oh Maya – what a brilliant human being !
Not much else I can say really except have a wonderful Friday.
Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Erin a The Water’s Edge.
PS. This post, and my visit to Hanoi, are made possible by the amazing Asialink Arts Program, and with the funding support of the the Western Australian Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.