I Didn’t Punch a Bus Today

When you’re in unfamiliar surroundings and alone, without your support network, the stresses that would normally just roll off your back like water off a duck’s backside can well up and lead to a high jacking of one’s amygdala. That’s the part of the brain that controls the “fight or flight” response. I saw it happen to a fellow western foreigner this week.

Remember those darn intersections that I described in my earlier posts? That’s where it happened. This fellow was crossing with the light in a designated crosswalk, and a city bus driver turned right on red, laid on the horn, and seemingly clipped the lad’s backpack. At this, the man swung a wonderfully powerful backhand into the side of the bus as it passed. Interestingly enough, the driver, who didn’t have time to wait two seconds for the lad to get across, now had time to stop the bus and come out to yell at the guy. I have to admit, I felt a bit of admiration for the man, for many a person has wanted to do the same. He had punched a bus, and he had punched it hard and punched it good. Probably not the best way to achieve catharsis, but it was a bit entertaining to be sure.

After witnessing that, I am finding strategies to manage the stresses of being away from home, knowing full well that I do not have my full reserves to rely on. So far, I am doing pretty well, and I think it’s partly because I’m doing my best to fully enjoy learning the culture here, especially the food. Mind you, I’ve never had a particularly sophisticated palate, but I’ve an adventurous appetite, if you will, in that I will try most anything. The worst that can happen is that I don’t like it. I’ve been introduced to many new foods. The fruit here is amazing. Jackfruit is my favorite, but the mangosteen, rembuton, mango, and rose apple are delicious too. Durian? Not so much. (YouTube people trying it). I’ve had incredible fish dishes, snails, and noodles with all sorts of meats, including tripe. I’ve fully enjoyed most everything I have tried here food wise, and am also enjoying the opportunity to make positive things happen away from the dining table.

With PATH, I am working closely with the team and feel that I am contributing. Unrelated to my PULSE assignment, I have also, through a newfound friend, begun to teach English on Saturday mornings to a group of young Vietnamese adults who are preparing for the business world. I feel richly blessed for that opportunity and am learning as much or more from them as they from me. I provide many laughs as I endeavor to pronounce and enunciate Vietnamese, with myself laughing the most, which keeps me grounded.  Great stuff altogether.

So, reflecting on my journey so far, if you were to ask me how I’m doing right now, I’d just smile and say, “Well, I didn’t punch a bus today.”

Phát triển nơi bạn trồng.

4 comments

  1. This is such a great blog post! Loved the opening, the end and everything in between!! I love your adventurous spirit with trying new foods – taking full advantage of your experience there!! My favorite part is that you are teaching English to young Vietnamese getting ready to enter the business world. How cool is that?! Wishing you continued peaceful and zen days, ones where you don’t feel you need to punch a bus!!

  2. I love your Blogs Tommy!! My 2hr commute to work through London often leaves me like punching a bus, but you have given me a new perspective! May you continue to thrive in the hustle and bustle and embrace the new cultures and experiences while contributing your valued expertise to PATH. I look forward to the next update…….

  3. Tommy – So glad you are experiencing it all without ticking off the local bus drivers, after all they know where the Irish Pubs are! Seriously though – what an incredible gift this experience is. I am so thrilled you making the most of your time & spreading your humor to the next generation of young business people! Keep the great stories coming 🙂

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