Only in the US

The American life seen through the eyes of an expat


I, a German gal, lived in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Hanoi, Vietnam, for the last four years. I associate Vietnam, especially the cities, with traffic chaos, noise, the aroma of fish sauce in the air, people whose highest goal seems to be to make a quick buck under any circumstance. Vietnam to me also means freedom to travel anytime, anywhere, delicious food, great friends, occasional hangovers and riding my beloved scooter. I developed a sincere love-hate relationship with the country, cursing while pushing my drowned bike home in the pouring rain on flooded streets, laughing off yet another motorbike tire fixer trying to rip me off, gasping in disgust at the sight of acts of animal cruelty. But also having the time of my life meeting interesting people with amazing life stories, finding that perfect snorkeling spot off the coast of Nha Trang or Phu Quoc Island, increasingly mastering the six-tone language, enjoying the company of some of the best friends I have ever had.

My husband Hoan, a Vietnamese-American, and I tried to leave Vietnam once before, only to find ourselves oddly drawn back, as some of our friends had predicted correctly. Yet, the step has now been taken, not without tears, and we are here, in the Bay Area, California.

Although I had traveled to California several times before, what struck me when I first arrived was the number of cars parked along the streets in residential areas. It seems like every family member has their own vehicle. And they’re not small. Pick-up trucks and SUVs are fairly common, which I attribute to the fairly low fuel prices, even though they have risen in the last few years. Furthermore, the houses here are flat like pancakes and made of “ticky tack”. My mother in law would say “Give me a hammer and a couple of hours, and I’ll single-handedly take down the house”. Given the fact that there are occasional earthquakes, I am sure this architectural concept is fulfilling its purpose.

I have traveled and lived in many parts of the world and thought that a tame country like the U.S. could not stun me. However, as I settled in, it became quite apparent that I have yet a lot to learn. So this is what this blog is going to be about: the American life seen through the eyes of an expat. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “About

  1. The Bay Area might not offer the excitement and sense of adventure like living in Vietnam. But then again you have to create your own sense of adventure. With the vast open space, clean air, beautiful weather and miles of back-roads, the Bay Area is ready to be discovered. Glad to have you two as my roomies. Dinner get together is never boring and full of delicious foods. Looking for more good times to come!

  2. Get out to Kings canyon and the Sierra Nevadas……The real stuff of the country is hidden in those forests!


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