Dear Visitor

This post doesn’t mean to offend anyone but to express how I feel having lived in Saigon for a couple of years.  A lot more foreigners have lived here longer than I but I want to share how I felt when someone moving to Vietnam asked me if she could find feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, diapers, and etc.  I know she just wanted to know about the country she’s moving into and want to be prepared — I was just surprised about MY reaction:  I felt defensive.  And I’m not even Vietnamese.

Dear Visitor,

Vietnam may be a third world country but IS a developing one.  Since peace came upon this nation in 1978, it has moved forward to become one of the fast-developing countries in Asia.  In fact, Vietnam is competing with China with regards to labor resources.  The fact that you are moving to Vietnam because you found a job here means Vietnam has great potential.

Yes, there ARE malls here selling BRANDED products that I doubt you’d want to buy for yourself because they are MORE EXPENSIVE compared to buying from your home country.

No, there are no trains in the city except that will take you from one province to another.  But there are cabs everywhere that will never turn you away.  Yes, motorbikes or bikes fill the streets but they’re efficient and gets you to where you need to go.  Yes, there are buses that follow a schedule and specific routes.

You can rent fully-furnished apartments and villas here or even serviced ones.  If you want to design your own living space, this country have lovely furniture shops all around.

Before moving in any country, I suggest doing a preview trip first.  So you can find out that yes, there are diapers here — I use Pampers and Huggies.  There are pretty expensive stuff when it comes to baby products — including baby bottles, pacifiers, and milk.  Avent, Nuby, Pigeon, Farlin products are available.  Chicco, MacLaren and Graco are in the market as well.

Some way or the other, if you are going to live here, you will have to conform to what is available.  I know you miss your home (as I do) but part of the joy in living in a different country is not what you can offer it (through your job) but also exploring what it can offer you — soaking in the culture and trying new food, meeting the locals, learning new words, using new products and making do with what is available locally.

It’s an adventure!  So live a little!

But yes, there’s feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and olives here too if you must know.  And more…

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