1. The heat. I really can't take being sticky all the time any more.
2. The rats I run over on my motorbike every day. They are flat rats that have already been run over by many other motorbikes so if you were to pick one up it would float in the wind, like a paper rat.
3. Horns honking incessantly. Even though I know objectively that horn honking is not rude here, it will always seem rude. I have been staring each honker down, like "did you REALLY need to do that?" I have not honked my motorbike horn once this entire year.
4. Vendors telling me to "sit down" in a very commanding voice. I don't know why I react so strongly against this, but I refuse to sit down when even my sweetest vendors tell me to.
5. The vendors pointing to all of the food they sell every time I pass. Yes, I know you are selling pineapple today. You have been selling it for two years and I will buy some if I want it...again, why does this irritate me so much? A few vendors I truly love never, ever point to what they are selling. I adore them.
6. Parking my motorbike in very small spaces next to other motorbikes that have the potential to sear my legs in new places.
7. Hearing about motorbike thieves at least once per week now. Friday night, my neighboring teacher friend, Sarah, had her bag around her neck and a motorbike thief grabbed it and dragged her until she lost consciousness and broke her arm and injured her head. These attacks are getting more and more frequent, it seems.
8. Teenagers speaking in a language I don't understand. Yes, they are endlessly sweet - but what are they saying? They are teenagers, after all.
9. Parking my motorbike in my house. It's just not great decoration.
10. My countertop and sink that is made for a very small person. I am tired of leaning over to cook or do dishes, so therefore I hardly ever cook or do dishes. The other day I forgot how to make one of my favorite signature recipes...
11. Being an Amazon. At home I feel so normal-sized!
12. The air pollution. I don't even want to think about what my lungs look like now.
13. The dengue fever potential flying around in the mosquitoes here. I got the flu last week and had the same symptoms I did with dengue - I was terrified!
14. The obstacle course on my daily ride to school. Sometimes it's kinda fun, but lately it has really bugged me.
15. Asian cable TV.
16. Ants attacking any sugar I leave out for even five seconds.
17. The cockroaches that apparently still inhabit a box above my bathroom. Don't you just hate the way they run/scurry across the floor?
18. My weak shower that gets my toilet wet. I hate this shower. My Phinney condo has the best shower I have ever showered under, and it will shower me again beginning on the 20th.
19. The stand-off with the deaf/something-else-wrong-with-her- pineapple lady. She's the one who sells onions and garlic, but she got very irate with me when I bought pineapple from a vendor sitting right next to a vendor I had (unknowingly) bought from the previous week. I have not bought from either one since. And the second one - well, she has the best looking avocados lately. I am afraid to buy them because vendor #1 also has avocados - but not at all as attractive as #2's. What a pity.
20. The frogs that are skinned alive - heads snipped off and still jumping - that sit in a bucket next to the banana lady each morning.
OK, 20 is a good place to stop.
Of course, for each of these complaints there are five positives. Katherine and I - while debriefing in the hammocks one recent night - talked about how we had changed over these past two years. We came up with the same word to wrap it up: resiliency. Vietnam has made us both much more resilient.
AmyT, who comments regularly here, taught in Hungary for two years. Years ago we were out to eat and I found a hair in my food. When I mentioned it, she asked me a simple question: "Human or animal?" and when I answered "human," that told me what my reaction should be - absolutely nothing. I wanted that same thing she had. Maybe another word for that quality is "perspective."
Resiliency and perspective. I hope these qualities stick for a while~