Sunday, January 24, 2010

What it Means to Have an Address- On the Road Part 4

I have an address, sort of.  It's the address of the university and actually doesn't apply to where I live.  Taxi drivers never know where my building is since I am not on the main part of campus.  I pick up my mail from a box, with a lot of other boxes around it.  I have a box which I share with all the other foreign teachers at Da Lat.  This is not an address, I suppose.    Te Chung the professor from San Francisco who brought Tony and myself on this journey did so to inspect a home he is building for himself in Phan Tiet.  I look at this house as a reward for a lifetime of teaching.  Then I begin to think and wonder if at the end of my career I'll have earned something like such as this home.  I'm not sure that even I were to own a house here that I would feel at home.  I'm a visitor here.  I don't speak the language.  I don't know the customs.  I'm just another American expat pretending to be something resembling Fitzgerald's "lost generation," save for replacing post war France for the far east.  I'm not sure if I'd feel at home in this house, or in any other house abroad.  I can live abroad, I can live and adapt to most places, but I can't make a home abroad.  I think I'm stuck as an American.

View from between two cafes in Phan Tiet.

Vietnam is long and slender and has many serene beaches such as this one just south of Phan Tiet.

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