Why don’t you try to learn Vietnamese at the age of 53?!

I’ve quickly realized that the Vietnamese language is very difficult to learn but another ongoing problem for me is “speaking” Vietnamese as many words have a different meaning depending on the inflection of your voice which means that my southern drawl has got to go! When I do attempt to say words or speak in Vietnamese, I’m usually saying profane things that mean body parts spoken of only in private! I will never stop using “y’all” and I still say “thank you” because I’m sure people get my meaning. Thank goodness that I’m dealing with Roman characters, I can’t imagine trying to learn a symbol based language such as Japanese or Chinese. Even the Google translator doesn’t understand half of what I enter!


Honestly, I’m not making much of an effort to learn Vietnamese, I know a few names of foods I enjoy but I can’t handle a new job, new living environment, food I don’t recognize, not having my own transportation and playing catch up with computer skills,  programs and technology on top of learning a new language. This old dog cannot do that new trick, don’t judge me! On a positive note, I’m developing a new form of sign language, it’s a Westerner white girl system, a Sister version that is not highly effective because I am the only one that understand it!

I have a quick wit and fast tongue, I try to slow down my speech but I get excited and I can’t help myself! As well, my bubbly personality and enthusiam are often misunderstood, why are the eternal optimists and happy people always accused of having too much to drink? Slowing down seems like I’m treating people like they were elderly, deaf or stupid, and let’s face it-most of these folks are smarter than I will ever be. Names and some faces (I will stop short of saying everyone looks alike but they do, especially in motorcycle helmets!), are particularly tough to remember but I like that different names have meanings that seem to fit people’s personalities, another fact that is universal. My new friends have one easy name to remember-I have about one hundred-so far! The Sister party continues even if I don’t know the names of the invitees!

Vietnamese phrases








Do you remember the song from the movie Mary Poppins “I Love to Laugh?” It’s one of my favorites because I definitely love to laugh, and I’ve discovered that laughing is the same all over the world in any language! As the song says, there are many different kinds of laughs from fast to slow and loud to through your nose but no matter where, when or why, what better medicine for a homesick traveler?  While I may not understand the joke or know exactly what someone said to make people laugh, I still laugh myself because it’s contagious but I do hope they are not laughing AT me!










Here’s something else about me-I usually snort when I laugh, maybe not my finest trait but my fellow snorters know that sometimes it’s simply  unavoidable if something is really funny. I hear much laughter and even some snorting everywhere I go in Vietnam, this country is full of happy people, and when I communicate better, I hope they think I’m funny, too!