Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – December 10, 2018
Last Thursday evening, while eating at our favorite dumpling soup spot, we suddenly got a rather unsettling text. The freakiest thing was that everything was in Vietnamese except the word “TYPHOON.” So, I was thinking: “Amber alert? This can’t be good!” Soon after, my friend informed me of the oncoming tropical storm that was headed straight in our direction. Shows how much I pay attention to the news…
I hibernated all Sunday morning and woke up to cracking thunder outside my tiny apartment window. The storm had arrived! I turned on some National Geographic and faded in out of consciousness. Nat-Geo is one of two English channels available on my tv… but I can’t complain because it’s quite educational and I now know how to survive if ever I was left Naked and Afraid in the wilderness for 28 days.
Though I didn’t want to get out of bed, I only had one potato left in my apartment, so I had to do something for food. I think all of my friends were in the same boat—totally out of snacks, sitting in our bedrooms, telling ourselves, “It’s okay, if I don’t think about it, I’m not hungry… maybe I just won’t eat today!” But then 3:00pm rolls around and you’re like, “Welp… I’m either staying here and eating this entire box of dry cereal, OR I need to get out of here!” We went to a cozy little Italian place in my “hem,” where we colored on tablecloths and drooled over all the amazing menu items.
When I came home, I discovered my room wasn’t watertight. I live in a brand new building (which I believe I’m paying WAY too much for. I panicked and jumped into a lease too quickly, because I wanted to feel stable and know I had a “forever home.” I can be super indecisive and weigh my options to extremely unnecessary levels, or make spur-of-the-moment decisions, which I usually beat myself up over the subsequent results… Gemini). The one stream of water that was coming through my window quickly turned into five, and then a huge puddle started spreading across my floor. Not only were the cracks around the window leaking, but the actual wallstarted seeping through and swelling where there were no exterior openings. HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?!
The power went out for a bit, which was actually pretty scary because I realized we have an electric-based entry system, where you need a fingerprint and electricity to get in AND OUT of the building. Not safe!!! Upon coming back on, the few towels I threw down were not cutting it for water elimination duties, so I made sure all my belongings were off the floor and got the heck out of my apartment. I went to chill in a coffee shop (away from the stress of the rivers of rain-water that were running straight into my electrical outlets). Lots of imminent electrical problems/fire hazards in Vietnam.
I feel like I’m growing to love this city more and more every day. Even watching the rain pour down while safe in the coffee shop was amazing. Everyone was so tranquil, and life just went on out on the streets, as raincoated motor-bikers sped by the fogged glass windows. Coffee is a pretty funny tradition here… while I’m getting HYPED on cappuccinos every morning… locals are using it to sit back and relax into the wee hours of the morning. Curled up on the comfy couches, I wrote and read and relaxed for hours. School was cancelled the next day, we safely survived the storm, the landlords patched my leaky walls, and all was good and well in my world.
Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato