January 06

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Comrades

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.

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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”