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  • hey jeanie

    what kind of flower is that? guess: cactus?

  • #2
    Lotus. You can't tell from my user name here, but my e-mail is lotusflowr @ and the URL I recently registered is (Don't bother trying it, there's nothing there.)

    I've spent a lot of time in SE Asia (Vietnam specifically) and love the flower - hence the avatar.

    Last edited by jeaniesa; 12-07-2002, 02:12 PM.


    • #3
      What do you do in Vietnam?


      • #4
        i'm curious too, jeanie. city or country? speak the language? i had formed the impression that your friend was there, not you.

        lovely lotus


        • #5
          Well, these days I mostly just travel around visiting the various orphanages and medical clinics that "my" organization supports. (It's not really "my" organization, it's the organization I am on the board of and volunteer for: International Mission of Hope.)

          My first trip was in 1997 with a different organization. Spent a month in the country and fell in love with it. The purpose of that trip was to help upgrade an orphanage in the north. While there, the government officials invited anyone back who wanted to teach English and since I'd always had a dream of living in a foreign country, I talked it over with my husband and decided to go for it. So, in 1998 I spent 5 months teaching English at a college in Phu Tho province, about 100 km NW of Hanoi (definitely country!) In 1999, I made two trips with parents going to VN to pick up adopted children, plus a trip to visit friends before I went to Thailand.

          Last October I brought my mom with me and we were tourists for three wonderful weeks. (I've got a few photos from that trip online if you're interested: album1 and album2. Please don't feel obligated. They're not my best pictures - just ones that I edited to improve them a bit. Plus, ofoto displays really low quality jpeg. Someday in my spare time, I'll have a website with a gallery of my VN photos.)

          Anyway, after my mom left VN, I stayed for an additional 4-weeks to visit the IMH projects. The most recent trip (got back in early July) was another 5 week tour of the humanitarian projects with a volunteer who offered to do a film documentary of the work that IMH does in VN. That trip also included a few days at the medical clinic that IMH built in My Lai with some returning vets who helped build a kitchen for the clinic.

          My favorite city is Hanoi - much more so than Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). I love people-watching around the lake. Some of my ex-students consider me to be their "older sister" now, so I feel as though I have family over there.

          Unfortunately, when I was there teaching English, everyone wanted to practice their English, so I didn't get much practice speaking Vietnamese. The only place I had to speak the language was in the market, so I learned how to bargain really well and know the names of all of the foods that I like. I also know a few key phrases which are important to know if you go to someone's house for dinner. Things like "this is very delicious" and "I'm too full to eat another bite." And I can tell time and talk about the weather (all you really have to know is "it's HOT!") Other than that, I'm clueless, though sometimes I just "know" what's being said - I'm not sure how.

          Hope I haven't bored you with too much detail. -Jeanie
          Last edited by jeaniesa; 09-01-2001, 12:06 AM.


          • #6
            mmmmmm i emjoyed that jeanie. my favorite pix were all on page 2; the one with the bicycle/cart, that was just too beautiful, . looks like you had a perfect day. and all the ones on the perfume river - such a name! - i loved those, and the one with the firewood, and the one inside /dark looking out through archway to light.

            sounds like it's been a wonderful part of your life, thanks for sharing it.


            • #7
              oh, and the one little window picture - saw the delicate tracery of a lotus. cool.


              • #8
                oh, and the one little window picture - saw the delicate tracery of a lotus. cool.
                Wow - I'm surprised you caught that through the mess that ofoto makes displaying the photos. (Their printed photos are beautiful, but they really ruin the online ones for speed.)

                Yes, I love that photo too. And there's a bit of a story about my scanning it. I had scanned the print on my HP flatbed before I got my film scanner. There was a ton of noise in the black shadow area (inherent in HP scanners, I think ). So, I spent over an hour selecting the grate so that I could highlight that, but clean out the shadows. And, I was happy with the results. THEN, I got my film scanner and decided to rescan the negative. WHAT a difference!! I was able to use the magic wand to select the clean black shadow, inverse and lighten the grate a bit - and wah lah!! Done in 5 minutes!



                • #9
                  Oh Jeanie, that was such a treat. The only pictures I've ever seen of Veitnam were heartbreaking ones of the war. It's so nice to see they have come back after such devastation. What a beautiful country. I can see why you are drawn there. For some reason the photo of the stilt house stood out for me. I thought they were all beautiful but that one really left an impression on me. I can't even say exactly why.

                  It must feel so rewarding to know you had a part in their recovery. I envy your adventurous spirit. Your photos are beautiful so don't feel like you are boring us if you post more.


                  • #10
                    Thanks, DJ. Someday I hope to actually DO something with my VN photos (don't know exactly what), but until then, I've got them all stacked up in sleeves in notebooks.

                    It is so interesting to talk to people about VN nowadays. I was still pretty young during the war and my family didn't have the news on TV much, so I feel like I missed that part of history. My first experience of VN was four years ago. You're right - it's a beautiful country and the people are incredibly friendly. They seem to have recovered from the war better than we have in many ways. I don't feel I can really take credit for helping in their recovery - they were well on their way before I ever stepped foot in VN. But, I hope that in some small way I've been able to bridge the huge divide between our two countries to help in the healing process on both sides of the ocean.

                    I'll never forget a couple of years ago I was in a Native American jewelry store looking for a small gift to bring a friend in VN. I explained to the shop owner that I was traveling with a family who would be adopting a child and bringing her back to the States. He told me about his time in VN during the war, and as I was getting ready to leave, he asked me to wait a minute. Then, he chose a small silver bracelet and asked me to give it to the baby I'd be helping to bring back. It was truly a special moment for both of us.

                    When I've asked the Vietnamese what they think when they see Americans in their country now, they've told me: "We forgive, but we never forget. The war was a terrible time in our country. But why should we focus on something so terrible? We are trying to rebuild our country and now Americans are coming over to help us."

                    When I went to VN to teach English, I wanted to learn as much about the Vietnamese culture as I could. What I didn't expect (though perhaps I should have) was that I learned just as much about my own culture through their questions and their amazement at some of my answers. I learned lessons that I'll treasure for the rest of my life.



                    • #11
                      Sounds like you came away with a profound lifetime experience. It's good to see other cultures up close and personal. I think we see how different we are but mostly we see how much we are alike. Maybe if more people did that we wouldn't have to clean up after wars. At any rate, I loved your photos and your stories. My brother went to Vietnam but like you, I don't remember much at the time it occured. I learned about that time more from historical news programs and some of what my brother would talk about. I wish we could heal as well from the experience as they seem to be.


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