The Lonely Foreigner

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I do not like living in Qui Nhon.

The English is at a really low level. Vietnamese is a tonal language, so even when I do memorize a few words and phrases, no one understands what I’m trying to say because I can’t get the tones right. Ordering food is virtually impossible. Literally everything I’ve eaten so far has made me sick. I may never not have diarrhea again.  Locals overcharge me. I work splits six days a week. The school is infested with rats. I experience strange spells of lightheadedness. I am living out of a suitcase. The beach is right next to my hotel room, but the weather is so scorching and humid that I can’t enjoy it. Indoors, airconditioning is sparse. People stare at me wherever I go. Teenagers come up to me for pictures. Parents push their children towards me and I am compelled to have uncomfortable, phony conversations with them, consisting mainly of “How are you today?” “I’m five.”

I do not like living in Qui Nhon.

The English is at a really low level. Vietnamese is a tonal language, so even when I do memorize a few words and phrases, no one understands what I’m trying to say because I can’t get the tones right. Ordering food is virtually impossible. Literally everything I’ve eaten so far has made me sick. I may never not have diarrhea again.  Locals overcharge me. I work splits six days a week. The school is infested with rats. I experience strange spells of lightheadedness. I am living out of a suitcase. The beach is right next to my hotel room, but the weather is so scorching and humid that I can’t enjoy it. Indoors, airconditioning is sparse. People stare at me wherever I go. Teenagers come up to me for pictures. Parents push their children towards me and I am compelled to have uncomfortable, phony conversations with them, consisting mainly of “How are you today?” “I’m five.”

go away

I’m an outsider in this city and it’s getting really depressing. I’ve only been here for about two and a half weeks. Can I stand to stay here until December 15th?

Currently I’m working under a three month tourist visa. It expires in September.  I daydream of putting in my notice in the middle of next month, and leaving in September. But I want to stick it out because of my pride. If I leave now, I’ll have nothing to put on my resume for law school applications, and I will have missed out on a chance to gain valuable teaching experience.

But there’s a fine line between healthy challenges and self-inflicted torture. Have I crossed it?

Today, I had the morning off, and I met up with the woman from the foreigner’s backpacking cafe. She was twenty minutes late and brought along her nine year old child, her husband, her friend “Sherry,” and Sherry’s two children, girls of ten and thirteen.  I thought we were meeting up as two friends, but really the meetup was an “interview” to see if I would tutor Sherry’s two girls and two more boys from 9PM to 11:30PM six days a week for only $71 USD per week….uhmmmmmm…………..what the fuck? That’s so little money……………….I know pay is way lower in Vietnam. But I have no way of telling if I’m getting ripped off or not.

Regardless, I caved under the pressure and said I’d try it out for a week.  I mean, what the hell, I’m here with nothing else to do, why not make some money instead of lounging around alone drinking mocktails?

This morning’s hangout is just another example of how I’ve been treated in Asia as a foreign English teacher. I feel like I’m worth nothing more than an object with some very attractive capital: my language and my looks. People want me to correct their pronunciation and pose in a picture with them, then they want me to go away.

miley

 

 



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