Being cheated on a fine afternoon

I spent my afternoon after class looking for FedEx. After changing my two hundred US dollars to Vietnamese dong for my rent and additional expenses for Christmas, I went around Ho Hoan Kiem to look for the familiar logo of the freight service company for my documents. Instead I found DHL on my way to Ba Trieu. I was a bit suspicious when she asked me for 70 US dollars for the freight weighing less than 200 grams. But I had no choice since the deadline is in the end of this month. In Vietnam, if you’re a foreigner there’s this feeling of being cheated all the time. There is a separate price scheme for foreigners and locals. I checked the receipt they issued to me when I arrived home and saw that the price of 70 USD for shipping was not stated.


I do not mind paying higher, but paying for service that is more than what is necessary in the standard of the developed world is just too much. For a student like me, 70 USD will go quite far. It can mean a warm jacket for the approaching winter, software for my laptop, or food for a week. Anyone who cannot speak Vietnamese like natives do is a possible milking cow, a foreigner who has enough disposable income to pay for more than what is the actual price of good or service, 100 per cent overhead, and the supposed hidden cost of being a foreigner. That’s why I detest being a foreigner, a stranger, a dumb man trying to speak the language of people who laugh at you because you look and sound stupid.

What can I do? I have to send those documents.

Other than that, my afternoon went well. I went to the gym right after. Thoughts about what I wrote in my application form and qualification essay haunt like ghosts me every now and then, but I know I’ll forget about the entire thing soon.

I can’t explain how I feel this time. Probably I’m just excited to find out what is next for me. I may be riding my red bike now in this small capital city of a Southeast Asian country; what tomorrow will be may be too early to tell now but I am excited more than scared, or the other way around fifty per cent of the time.

I appreciate being young and having this freedom to do things I like and pursue whatever little dreams that I have. I am not rich. I survive in a hand to mouth basis. I have no permanent residence, but I know I’ll be happy to look back one day when I am already in my middle life that I once lived a life like this where I am not bound by the drive to succeed and have as much money in the soonest possible time. I believe that is the meaning of being young-being free. I may be limited by my power to ride my bike to far places but my mind transcends the narrow confines of work and corporate rat race.

Soon I know. I’ll get tired of moving every now and then and settle down. But I’ll always look back to this life and smile for I know how it means to be unbounded.

Please let me say this cheesy line:

It is nice feeling to play with the gush of cool wind, close my eyes, and let the world turn like it is wont to do.