Archive for March, 2007

Preparing for the Worst

March 22nd, 2007
Susan Holding Huong at the Hoan Kiem Lake Pagoda
Worship pot

Tomorrow we start the long flight home. I’m always amazed at the flights heading home from Asia—We leave Friday morning, fly for about 22 hours and get home Friday night around 8 PM. I guess it makes up for never having a day while flying here I guess. Wish us luck or maybe say a few prayers for us. We’re preparing for the worst (mad baby, no sleep, and crummy Chinese airline food.

Loving Hanoi

March 20th, 2007
Huong crying
hanoi Opera house
Hanoi Street people
Water puppets

This afternoon we received our daughter’s visa, and honestly I’m a bit sad to think this friday we’ll be sleeping back home in our house on 27TH.

Hanoi is a beautiful city. Susan and I both agree that it would be the perfect holiday spot to spend the spring or summer with the kids. I guess now all we need to do is buy us an apartment here and get Marcfolio firing on all cylinders.

One disappointment in Vietnam is graphic design as a whole here is all over the place and nothing is very strong or smartly done. I use to think with using Helvetica you could never go wrong but Vietnam has proven me incorrect. I have found a lot of inspiration from different things but I was hoping to see more of the type of packaging, sign-age, and printed material you see in other parts of Asia..

Enough with design though. Above are a few of the latest pictures of us in Hanoi (Me holding a crying baby, the Hanoi Opera House, street life, and hundreds of water puppets). Holding Gem all the time means Susan takes all the photos—This vacation will be the first that we have more photos of me than of my wife.

Past Few Days

March 18th, 2007
Pho 24 Cal and Kathy
Huong and me
Shopping Cart Huong

We are in Ha Noi now waiting for our final interview with the US government which should happen Monday afternoon. Hanoi is beautiful. It feels very old and thanks to the French the city is very rich in architecture and there are hundred of trees that line the streets.

Above are a few pictures taken over the past few days. The first is Susan’s parents who flew home yesterday—I thought I’d honor them by posting a picture and saying how grateful we were to have them here. The second picture is “My Buddy” and me. On our first night in Hanoi we turned on the tele, and I bellied up to the foot of the bed to watch and my dear daughter followed suite. She is a great child (except for those high pitched out cries in restaurants). The last photo (taken yesterday) is wheeling around the grocery store—The lighting in Vietnam is all florescent bulbs and even with a lot photoshop color correction it’s hard to get rid of that yellow cast ”dead man walking” look.

It’s Been One Week

March 14th, 2007

Today marks the one week anniversary of having Huong with us, and everyday gets better and better… but still not perfect. Gem has become quite the little toddler and I’m positive by this time next week she’ll be walking. She’s even starting to warm up to Susan, which will be great so I can eat food again (the toddler diet is great for loosing). The downside is her “shit fits” (as my dad would call them) when I put her down for a any kind of sleep. They range from 15 minutes up to 2 hours of uncontrollable, inconsolable crying. Talk about trying your patience. But considering all she’s gone through and and progress she’s made crying before bed is livable.

We’re loving Vietnam. It’s interesting because all the other foreigners we see and talk to are from the UK, France, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, but not the U.S. The only other people from the states that I’ve met are a couple from Washington adopting a four year old boy. We like the EU people though. The other day outside the Paris Deli I met a couple from France that were also here to adopt. It was tough to communicate having very poor french I just told Gem to say

“bonjour”. Coming from the US though you’d expect to see or feel some resentment or animosity towards us because of the American War, but truthfully if you didn’t know about the Vietnam war you may never know what went on here. Out of all the tourist it’s the American the Vietnamese welcome the most.

The Vietnamese food is amazing. Last night we ate at a place called the Mandarin here in Saigon. I was definitely underdressed in my shorts and package of animal crackers for Gem, but I’ve never had such amazing seafood. I’ve thought for a long time that China had the corner on the market with Asian food, but Vietnam has yet to serve up a dish I can’t stomach—There were many times in Taiwan and China that I ate dishes that I wouldn’t feed to my dog—One of the dishes alone had at least $20 worth of spices and herbs in it.

I think tomorrow will be our last day here in Saigon. Next stop Hanoi for our US Embassy interview. Maybe we’ll bump into Brad and Angi up there. The other family from the US we meet son actually was in the same orphanage as Jolie’s.

An American Girl

March 13th, 2007
American Girl

I apologize for the lull in posts. Turns out in the hurried rush to pack I forgot my little white brick for my MacBook. Oops. Thanks to my dad and his quick turn around using DHL we’re back online.

The past week has been the hardest and best of my life so far. Wednesday the 7TH we traveled down to Can Tho (a four hour van ride that took us into the heart of the Mei Kong delta) where we signed some papers and picked up our daughter. She is even better in real life. Having spent her days in an orphanage she is very sensitive to things you just wouldn’t even think about. Everything is a new experience.

In adoption it’s often common for the child to bond or attach to one parent over the other. I happen to be the parent Gem has attached to and it also means that I’m the only one who can care for her and hold her—try having a 25 lbs toddler glued to your chest in 97 degree heat.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll post more on the morrow I’m too tired and the internet here is a bit of a drag. I guess trying to load pages from way across the BIG pond is pretty taxing. Enjoy the pic.