Over the past two plus years I have encountered a number of Westerners who have made Vietnam their “home”. Most are educators, some are business executives or work with NGO’s, and still others have just retired here.
They are an interesting lot. A handful are youngish – 30 somethings with freshly minted graduate degrees (usually in business or international relations) who are encamped in Vietnam. Most, however, are of my vintage; what is occasionally called the Baby Boomers or the Vietnam (as in war) generation)
While disguising their names here is who they are.
They are men, sixties, well educated. Many have married Vietnamese women who were toddlers when the war ended. Some of these men are short and squat, others tall and fit. They live here and are not just “visiting:” They have no intention of ever leaving.
I like them. They are generous of ideas, spirit, and can sit at length over coffee and conversation. They wont join me for bia hoi or exotic food but upscale coffees and shopping mall food courts are the venues for our interactions.
What they have in common is a passion for Vietnam. They share the locals mutterings about corruption, inefficiency, pollution. They also share the joy of living here; the energy, food, culture, people and landscape that is Vietnam.
Unlike so many other places I have visited, Vietnam is welcoming and I suppose that is one of the reason that these expats (or as I call them – multipats) have embraced the country and how this country has embraced them.