I am finally back home and settled after my Vietnam trip. My first few days back here in the US have been so hectic because I have been trying to move into SCU late while also getting readjusted to the school environment and the fact that school was starting again. Once I started having more free time, I had more time to reflect on my experience at Vietnam and while it was not a life changing event, I certainly feel changed by my fellowship.
While in Vietnam, I noticed a lot of differences in their daily lives from an American life. For example, there were no weekends for them so coming back late from downtown Ho Chi Minh City, I noticed that the city was already going to sleep. For such a hectic city, it was such a crazy difference comparing it to another hectic place in the US like New York City, a city that never sleeps. However, in a way this made me feel like there was a more tightly knit community in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese people still needed a way to wind down just like anyone else, and due to the abundance of restaurants available, their relaxation was sitting at food stalls with cheap drinks and food while talking. Houses were always more open to the streets because of air conditioning was more of a luxury, and you could always see children running around in the streets while their parents sat at the edge of the doorway doing chores or just relaxing. Everyone was out on the street and you could feel the community as you walked down a street.
Working in this different environment gave me space to think about what I wanted to do in a way. Trying to relate to these people and understanding how their daily lives worked, it made me think about how I could lead a life just like them. How could I go to work every day and come back and do something that allows me to wind down? I realized which hobbies in my life really help me wind down and this realization actually made me excited to come back to SCU. In Vietnam, I started to feel excited to come back to the US to work and wind down the same way Vietnamese people would.
These realizations about where my passions have actually immensely helped me now that I’m back. Once I started getting back into school, I started to get lost in my work and what steps I could take to improve myself, but I started to overlook what would also help me stay balanced and happy. Here in school, I got so lost in the vast amounts of clubs and professional fraternities that I could join that I forgot about what I was excited to come back to school for. Reflecting on my time in Vietnam and the things that I found fun made me realize that I was trying to take on too much because of a fear of my future. It made me realize that this fear made me neglect my own personal happiness, so I could fit in another club that would help me in the future that I certainly did not have time for in my schedule.
Before I came to Vietnam, I came with a desire to explore the world and myself in ways that would push me to my limit but after, I now understand a little bit more about what it means to push myself so hard and where to draw the line for myself. There were so many little moments of happiness where I would come back from a barbeque place with my friends and laughing uncontrollably with my friends because the blueberry ice-cream Oreos just turned out to be mint blueberry Oreos, or when we would cheer along the Vietnamese soccer team with locals we met walking down the street. I want to be able to make even more little moments like these at SCU without the worry of not being the best or feeling the need that I was never good enough.