Talking English

by James Murtaugh, Jul 15, 2006 | Destinations: Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh City

I have come to enjoy Saigon(HCMC) very much. Each day as I walk around the city someone will stop me and ask to pratice their English with me. Most of the time they want to hear a native English speaker speaking English.

The people who speak with me come from all walks of life. I always say "yes" to them and often work with them for a long time. I do this for two reasons.One is that vietnamese people have tried to make me feel at home. It is a way to pay them back. The other reason is that I will learn their story and they will learn mine.

Here are some of their stories:

A school teacher is working two jobs but still does not make a good living. He has lost hope in Vietnam and only looks to move to America for a better life.

A young man working in a cafe dreams of a better life as a tourist guide.

A young man and his girlfriend come to the park each day to pratice english with people like me. I notice the way they look at each other and joke with each other. They are in love and they remind me of a time long ago.

Two business men try very hard to understand my English and I try hard to be understood. Very tough!

A cyclo driver has heard that the city will outlaw cyclo's because of the traffic danger. He is so upset. It is his only way to make money. "What will I do"? he asks me. I have no answer for him.

A group of tough city kids stops us in the park. I am not afraid of them. We banter back and forth. I joke with them. The police stop by to see if there is a problem. I let them know that we are alright and they walk on.

I guess my favorite is a waitress at a cafe. We pratice English. She calls me "Father" and I call her "Daughter". We joke alot and enjoyeach other.

The city has millions of stories and I wish I had time to hear them all.......

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