The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts tagged “expatdom

The Great Divide

Posted on May 1, 2014

For our purposes let’s steal a casual definition of dissociation from Wikipedia: “a mild detachment from immediate surroundings.” The expat community in Hanoi is so large there is nothing I can confidently say about it, other than it is small. Meaning five thousand expats have only a few well-known places to congregate on Friday nights when the state curfew takes hold and the xe oms and cabbies belong to a different state, the one known as red-faced inebriation. It is no surprise, then, that in the confines of Hanoi proper, white people collide with each other on dance floors, in restroom lines, waiting for drinks at bars. Even on the road, I kid you not, I was once driving north on Au Co and…

Born to Leave the USA

Posted on February 18, 2014

Today was so windy the smog practically rolled south of Hoan Kiem lake; it was the clearest view I’ve had of the tiny gray pagoda in the center. Walking along the water’s edge, on my way to the post office, it was the first time I felt that I belonged here; not to say I have the sturdy belonging of a local born and bred, obviously, but something much more than the fleeting existence of a tourist. In other words, an expat. The question I am most confronted with these days is, “Why Hanoi?” It’s a natural question, one that follows the dictums of polite conversation with strangers, but I still hesitate despite the frequent opportunities to get it right. The short, manufactured answer…

  

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