August in Review
CAPTURING MOMENTS || AUGUST 2016
9.1 (Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam) → 9.2-4 (Mui Ne/Tan Phiet, Vietnam)
- CELEBRATED MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY SINCE DAY I STARTED ON MY ASIAN BACKPACKING ADVENTURE: AUGUST 5, 2015 (… which eventually led to my Vietnamese relocation)
- Left AnyArena to pursue a full-time career in travel writing. More news coming soon. #newjobsfordaaaaays
- Three sets of friends from Korea visited us this month! Rachel and Daniel visited us for a weekend and we noshed on everything in sight. Then our traveling besties Cait and Jeremy rerouted to HCMC one last time before heading back to the states after 18 months of being abroad (this was their third visit!) And lastly, Julie and Gavin joined us in Saigon before their return trip home and we traveled to Mui Ne and Cu Chi together and celebrated Julie’s birthday. Total visitor count this month: 6. Total visitor count for the past seven months: 18. Exhausting but loving the hosting life!
ALLEYWAY PORKCHOPS, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam @ 7:47 pm
VIETNAMERICA: A FAMILY’S JOURNEY by GB Tran
You can’t look at our family in a vacuum and apply your myopic contemporary Western filter to them.
Sypnosis: A personal account of The Vietnam War as told by the son who carried its legacy yet never recognized his origins. First generation American GB Tran brings to life his family history across generations and geographical borders through riveting illustrations in the graphic memoir, ‘Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey.’ For most of his existence, the Vietnamese-American artist lived an ordinary life in South Carolina, unaware –and uninterested– of the harrowing details of his family’s escape from Saigon during The Vietnam War. The lack of dialogue in the household from his parents and older siblings is part of the reason of his indifference but after thirty years of being left in the dark, the death of his grandparents (both maternal and paternal) prompt a homecoming to Vietnam. At the behest of his parents, GB sojourns with them to their/his homeland. What he discovers is an extraordinary tale of loyalty and loss, defeat and determination, that ultimately reveals to him a birthright concealed by years of cultural detachment.
I’m in love with graphic novels… more than that, I am in love with graphic memoirs. There’s something very compelling about reading an autobiography in visual form and Vietnamerica really delivers on that note. For starters, it hits home for me as an immigrant to America. The same struggles of a person living between two cultures is how I felt for most of my life. However, the catalyst for the central family’s escape is wartime. When my parents left the Philippines, it was because they were seeking out the American Dream. You can tell almost from page one what a gut-wrenching departure this was for the Tran family to have to leave their beloved homeland for the USA. Prior to this read, I was greatly confused by the chronology of Vietnam’s wartime history. While Vietnam’s wartime associations is because of The Vietnam War, earlier this year, I learned that Vietnam suffered occupation at the hands of the Japanese and French long before the Americans even arrived. This novel chronicles three-generations worth of commentary that leads all the way back to Ho Chi Minh’s fight against the Japanese. It was as informative on a historical level as it was eye-opening on a personal level. The author slash cartoonist, GB Tran, is an American-born Vietnamese who was conceived the year after the Fall of Saigon took place in April of 1975. This story is essentially his homecoming, in a literal and spiritual sense. Prior to his return to Vietnam 30 years after his parents’ daring escape, GB paints himself as a culturally insensitive first-generation American, indifferent to his parents’ histories. What ensues across 286-pages of masterful artwork and superior storytelling is an examination of identity through the lens of our familial narratives. In short, we (as individuals) are indeed, a sum of all parts. It’s a fascinating memoir that predates his own existence, a memoir based on the collective memories of others. I absolutely loved it and it has inspired me to take on more graphic novels and learn more about the history of Vietnam.
ON THE INTERNET
- Ever since I visited Nepal and stepped foot into the Kumari Ghar courtyard, I have been obsessed with the world’s only living goddess, The Kumari. Broadly does a beautiful short on the strange tale of the Kumari.
- The Paris Catacombs have always intrigued me but I recently found out that there are actually secret swimming pools below the city as well. Creepy!
- To celebrate the arrival of back-to-school season in the USA, here are 15 classes you can take in NYC. Crack open those books!
- One of the best articles I’ve read so far, this opinion piece details everything that was wrong about the reporting on Brazil and its Olympics.
- The blogger behind Untold Morsels, Kate, the perfect case of how one can indeed have a love affair with a country. Hint: cheese and wine is included in this romance.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! THE FIRST YEAR OF MY BLOG DOCUMENTED IN A SERIES OF MONTHLY RECAPS! STAY TUNED FOR A NEWLY FORMAT OF RECAPS IN THE NEAR FUTURE… xoxo Izzy