One of my first blogs was titled “Comrade”, the blog referenced a trip that I took to Sapa with my colleagues Chad and Mohamed.   I would like to expand on that blog and share my personal reflections on my PULSE comrades in Hanoi.   Comrades seems appropriate for 4 guys assigned to spend 6 months on special assignments in a communistic country.     Our connection is GSK but it was by chance that Chad, Mohamed, Sujay and myself where all assigned to work in Hanoi.   I say chance but I should call it a BONUS of the PULSE program.

4 comrades from different parts of the world, Chad – Texas, Mohamed – Saudi Arabia, Sujay – India, Bob – California.   Each of us from vastly different backgrounds, religious beliefs, and even dietary restrictions- one vegetarian, one Halal requirements one with texture issues and one who likes his beer.  In many ways you could call us the Odd Couple.   Despite our differences as a groups we forged a very special bond that has changed us as individuals and colleagues forever.



I believe it was our diversified backgrounds that helped to forge our bond.   Being away from home for 6 months can be a challenge and having each other gave us a since of family in Hanoi.    We frequently dined together and quickly learned that the selected restaurant must have Vegetarian, Halal and cold beer.   What I appreciated most was our frank discussions about  our beliefs and culture.    We traveled together and like any family we were there for each other.   At times we had our differences but respected each other’s views.

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In the end we each have grown and learned from each other.   Personally I appreciate the support the group provided me, I have a new found respect for our different cultures, and values.   Respect comes from understanding.

My time in Vietnam has been a life changing experience. I thank you comrades you have enriched me, “cảm ơn”




  1. Love this post! I also had a unique relationship with my two indian colleagues that has left a mark on me. I kind of miss them now, so really appreciated your reflections! Thank you!

  2. Very nice post Bob , I am lucky to have my PULSE assignment with You , Chad and Sujay . I agree it is a life changing experience. I do miss your presence !

  3. Thanks again for letting us share in your journey. I can’t wait to catch up with you and hear more about your work in Vietnam.

    I hope to see you soon!

  4. Great reflections, Bob! Are you the one who had the cold beer requirement?!?! Happy New Year to you and your Hanoi family!!

  5. Bob, your openness and wonder for this wonderful adventure has given us a window into a beautiful country, its food and people. Thank you for sharing. Because of you my first “blog reading experience” was excellent. I will miss it. Welcome back.

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