My latest column for The Word is proof, if you hadn’t realised it already, that being married to a strong Vietnamese woman gives you plenty of material to write.
My wife suggests I buy an Air Blade. A friend of hers has one.
“You could put your shopping under the seat.”
I don’t do any shopping. I’m not trusted to do shopping. I’d apparently only pay too much.
I put my foot down. If we’re talking automatics I definitely don’t want a Honda SH. They’re universally driven by morons. The Honda asSHole: for people with an SUV attitude but not quite the money to back it up. The Honda SHithead. I could go on.
Read it in full here. Click the pic of the Word to download the full magazine.
I’ve read a lot of “it’s so sad when expats leave” articles and it is, it really is. But I have to admit the longer I stay the more the people I want to go outweigh those I hope will stay.
I’m slightly worried what it says about me but I guess we’re all escapees of some sort. When what we’ve escaped to becomes as static as what we’ve escaped from, we crave change. If we’re not going to leave then someone else has to.
My latest column, covering this topic, can be read in The Word or click the pic of the mag to download the whole thing as a pdf.
“Leaving is a valve. Not just for those people to flee who’ve had enough. The leaving of others is something that we all have to believe in. That person who’s rubbed us up the wrong way — don’t let it come to blows, or even an embarrassing confrontation. Just wait them out. Just another Johnny-Come-Lately to see off. I’ve seen off better expat jerks than this guy.
“And yes, there must be plenty people out there counting my days too.”
Advice (ie pub talk) last night from an expat of 15 years and counting in Vietnam.
“It’s okay to not like everything or to approve of everything. Compartmentalise. I like this. I don’t like that.
“Just because there are parts you don’t like, or don’t approve of, or you wish would change – it doesn’t mean you have to decide to dislike everything.”
So here’s a bash at answering the age old expat forum question.
How much does it cost to live in Vietnam? The answer may surprise you.
It costs as much to live in Vietnam as it does at home – if you want all the same things that home provides.
Vietnam allows you to cut corners. You can eat food with no guarantee of hygienic preparation nor quality of ingredients for a fraction of what you pay at home. If you want to play it safe it’ll cost you more.
You can buy DVDs where there’s a chance they’ll skip or episodes are missing or translation is courtesy of Google for a dollar. Or you can buy the real thing for the normal price or more.
You can get your computer fixed only to find that the upgraded Windows the technician chucked in for free is actually pirated which can’t be updated leaving you susceptible to viruses and crashing.
You can share a house with a dozen others very cheaply or you can get a place of your own with all comforts and conveniences for rather more. You can pay less tax, VAT, rates and National Insurance and then get hit by doctors fees or stump up thousands for insurance. Don’t even think about school fees.
You can spend $1 a week on petrol for the commute – then have to pay $1,000 to visit parents back home.
You can buy beer at a quarter of a price or pay four times more for wine.
You can hire staff for $100 a month to run around after you – then spend a similar amount at a gym to combat the sedentary lifestyle which means you’re putting on weight.
Yes you can live on $5 a day. But you can’t live a year on 365 x $5. And you certainly can’t live five years on 5 x 365 x $5.
All too often, when people tell you how much you can live on, what they are actually saying is what they’re willing to live without.