What a day. I am sitting in a Starbucks (because yes I need a little of my home comfort) in walking distance of the Hanoi Medical University watching the bustling city street go by in waves of motorbikes. It is about 4 pm and my new friend Yen dropped me off from the back of her electric bike on her way to her shift at the hospital. She is studying to be a nutritionist. She and Nam picked me up just hours before (around 10 pm the night before) after my 26 hours in transit from the US to Vietnam. Nam is also studying nutrition at the university and wishes to prevent diseases with nutrition interventions in the hospital systems. Think I will fit in okay here :).

Hanoi Day One_img1
Hanoi Day One_img1
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Hanoi Day One_img3
Hanoi Day One_img3

In the day that I have been here, I have settled into my dorm room, battled a sleepless night, showered, unpacked, purchased a new phone (that I have no clue how to use.. thanks android!), had lunch from a street vendor, bought groceries and met about 6 other university students on my floor. While Nam and Yen do not live on my floor, they do live close by. Nam lives on the 13th floor and Yen lives down the street with her sister, her friend and her husky! The students on my floor are from all over Africa, all studying together to research public health. Isaac is a charismatic african native from Ghana who talks for the group. He explains that the others are from Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Gambia (respectively representing the middle, the east and the west of the country). They have been here for 8 months and have 3 months left to go. We spoke as they meal prepped for the week in our shared kitchen down the hall from my room.

The most shocking things so far, because I think you will get a kick out of my culture shock:

  1. I am realizing just how addicted to Facebook I am and not having internet or data all the time is making me anxious

  2. Hanoi actually does have stop lights and street lines… and people do actually adhere to them about 70% of the time

  3. I will have to learn how to wash my cloths by hand… like by actual hand, in my shower, in a plastic bowl! ha! did not see that one coming. 🙂

  4. Starbucks does not have free wifi…. see anxious number 1!

I am off to dinner with Nam and Yen, and then tomorrow, I’ll tackle the world !