Don't really know where to start. I've been home a week, and I'm still addlebrained from the trip, both physically and emotionally. Brian was over on sunday, and we both confirmed the jet lag bug still had us in it's ugly grips.
I had planned to write about my new found son from Seoul, but that experience need's it's own entry.
The trip. Wow, where to start. first of all, a big thank you to Mike, and his group for even inviting me to participate. When Mike offered me the opportunity to apply, I didn't think I had a chance of qualifying, but bingo! I was going! Now, it's all a blur, almost a dream. At times when I'm talking to my wife Laura, something pops up in my head, either a high spot or a low spot, some important, some mundane and it's hard to pit it into words, especially the emotion. As far as mundane, there was nothing mundane during the entire trip, even the long bus rides were special, seeing brief glimpses of the farmers in the fields to the makeshift eateries found everywhere we went, and the people, the beautiful people of both countries.
What was especially unique about the trip from my perspective and research, was that it was my job to talk and interact with the people in our respective fields. As a result, I had access to kitchens, foods of every description, chefs, waitstaff, managers, dishwashers, all the people that make my field, my passion, so unique, so first person. I've begun to outline a new chapter for my syllabus on "Asia" for the Fall semester, both the culinary, (food ) and the "Food and Beverage" (administrative) aspects, and believe me it's going to be an eye opener for a lot of people. ( The good, bad, and the ugly)
Even the motorbike traffic was a sight to see, and it was evident everywhere we went, from Ho Chi Min City to Phnom Penh, and on into Hanoi. I drove Brian to John Wayne today to see his family, and on the way back I could still see the motorbikes in my head, and still feel the exhilaration of riding on the back of Rosie's back in Hanoi.
One things been especially odd since my return, the phone has been silent, no calls from family or friends welcoming me back home, it's been weird but a pleasant weird, for the last week it's been Buck ( my wife ), Andy ( my son ), and Jack the dog! Aside from the sleep, and fatigue issues, I've found myself with a mild form of PTSD, but in a good way, don't know exactly how to describe it! I've had a hammock hanging on my patio for a couple of years now, and it's getting a whole lot of use these days. Even Bucks been really good about giving me space, not asking a lot of questions unless I volunteer. But for the most part, I've been pretty much to myself, and my thoughts.
The three things that keep coming to me with a ton of emotion, and it's hard to describe, are the NVA officer, Mr. Nam, I met in Hoi An, Rosie, my gracious host at the "Botique Hotel" in Hanoi, and the trip to Chu Lai and the LZ goodbye to my men, I will carry those memories with me forever.
My daughter Renee and her husband Tom are coming over this weekend, and I'm anticipating the "Best part of the trip" question to come up. and to be honest, it's going to be tough to decide on a single moment or place. How do you describe location, emotion, or experience?
I took a ton of pix during the trip, and now that I've gone threw them, I wish I had taken more. But I've got Brian to cover that, as a photo journalist, he took his share of shots and we've agreed to share when all the dust settles.
Then theirs Brian, my friend, my colleague, and now my brother. I won't go into detail, but during the trip we discussed everything from politics, (He's Vietnamese), family, art, you name it, and I'm thankful to have had his friendship through this journey of a lifetime, we've already discussed a return visit to vietnam in he future with our families. I look forward to it.
Don't have much more to add, except that it's so good to be home. I'm not going to close with the cliche about really appreciating what you have, etc. etc. I think you already know that.
Our New son from Seoul