How does someone get to know a culture? I am only here in the Hanoi area for about a month. Hardly enough time to say that I understand how life goes on in this changing corner of Southeast Asia. My time and impressions here may be better described as looking through a window literally and figuratively. I was just reading an article about some foreigners’ impressions of Vietnam based on the nature of their visits here. Two are of the more traditional variety, tourism and language studies, and the other more technologically-based in wanting to combine a checklist of interests with social media expression (possibly a broader way to share a cultural experience?)
Technology has certainly expanded our options for the sharing of experience with whomever, from wherever we are. What a wonderful opportunity we all now have to do the same, but we should also not diminish the insights that we gain from taking the time to learn a language or physically touring and observing another culture with only the use of our sensory abilities. Just take some time to learn more about what we may see and hear before we began to fill out our checklists or share impressions on social media.
I will leave Vietnam with a very minimal understanding or appreciation of the history here. It will be a beginning, and one that I am happy to share and reflect on as I write this blog. I am still just looking through a window, and hopefully will be able to open it wider and learn more.