" [voiceover] I can't say what made me fall in love with Vietnam - that a woman's voice can drug you; that everything is so intense. The colors, the taste, even the rain. Nothing like the filthy rain in London. They say whatever you're looking for, you will find here. They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes, but the rest has got to be lived. The smell: that's the first thing that hits you, promising everything in exchange for your soul. And the heat. Your shirt is straightaway a rag. You can hardly remember your name, or what you came to escape from. But at night, there's a breeze. The river is beautiful. You could be forgiven for thinking there was no war; that the gunshots were fireworks; that only pleasure matters. A pipe of opium, or the touch of a girl who might tell you she loves you. And then, something happens, as you knew it would. And nothing can ever be the same again."
-Thomas Fowler, The Quiet American
-Thomas Fowler, The Quiet American
Four hours ago, I learned that the son (Joe W. Morgan, Jr.) of the Vietnam Veteran (Joe W. Morgan, Sr.) that went with my group to 'Nam passed away. I got the news; there was nothing I could do. Life goes on, yeah? Yeah, especially when one is in school. There's always work to be done. I was trying to think of another entry to make, when I began reminiscing about Joey. Study Abroad is very much a cultural experience, an experience USM facilitates. Click on the link to find out more about where you can go, the cost, and what classes you can take.
This is a photolog of some of my time in Vietnam:
Those are not even my best shots; it's not even a fraction of the number of pictures I took. Everyone on the trip each took over 2,000 photographs. Ronald even filmed the entire trip; he has posted a few clips on YouTube:
In every study abroad class you take, I daresay, you will be required to keep a journal. Even if you are not required to, writing everyday about events or your life is a good skill to learn. It's more difficult than you think, sometimes you forget. Other times, there's so much to write you can't possibly jot it all down. Vietnam 2009 was a life changing experience. I loved it more than words can say. Here is an excerpt from my final assignment:
There is really so much more to write and even more no words could express. There is so much to tell about the beauty and the people of Vietnam. There were so many things I was interested in that I did not write about but very much appreciated having the opportunity to experience. The class was mainly about the war, and I did learn about it and its effects. Not all the effects were negative. The war pushed Vietnam prematurely into the Technological Era, and now they are developing. Mr. Morgan is a treasure. I am honored to have met him, and to have travelled to Vietnam with him. The trip was the most enjoyable thing and the best decision I have made in my life, so far. I did many things I never imagined I would do or even have the courage to do. It is easy to simultaneously lose and find yourself there. I shed tears as Hanoi disappeared underneath the clouds because not only was I leaving the most wonderful professor behind but also because I was leaving the precious gift he offered us. I will return to Vietnam."
I will return one day. This place is a shell you can safely leave a piece of your soul, and I did. It happened unintentionally. I didn't know my spirit was connecting with the land. There's so much to say about this experience, but there's is little time and not enough beautiful words in our language.