The Venn diagram between America và Vietnam

January 19, 2012 in Jeanie"s Blog by Jeanie Nguyen | Permalink

Remember in elementary school when venn diagrams were all the rage? Let’s get back into that mentality.

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1. Southern California trumps wherever you are – similarity

Sorry I’m not sorry for being born and raised in the best place on this & any other alternate universe. I may no longer technically live there or spend much time there, but I’ll always identify with its casual culture. Và with regards to its endlessly sunny weather, ignorance is bliss. C’mon, where else can you surf khổng lồ school?


Here’s a snapshot of my man Kobe at the Vietnam airport: another not so subtle reminder that SoCal runs the world.


Cosmetics, Chocolate, và …



the States & Vietnam have seriously got them on lock. The coffee is actually special coffee. It was one of those times when I was really glad my parents withheld information until after I tried & liked it! I hate to be living evidence that college catalyzes a caffeine addiction, but my affectionate feelings for coffee began this past summer due khổng lồ the delectable and exquisite taste of Trader Joe’s coffee – so it doesn’t technically count, right??

Vietnamese coffee is practically a brand of its own though. Its power ingredient is condensed milk & it’s infamous for being really strong. Ease into this gateway drug, kids!

3. All of the lights – similarity

Thanksgiving 2011 was the first time I was in thành phố new york City during the holiday season. I got to watch the Thanksgiving Parade live and leisurely roam the lengthy avenues at my pleasure. Even with all the hype & high expectations about the city lights, it surely did not disappoint with its meticulous detail và ornate décor. 


Vietnam rings in 2012 with Tet about a month after the US does although they bởi vì not hesitate khổng lồ celebrate with the States with their New Year as well. Downtown Saigon is currently resplendent with its various main roads & roundabouts brightly decorated. The main mode of transportation here in the đô thị is by motorcycles, or as the locals call

them, ‘Hondas.’ Between my sister & me, it took about a week khổng lồ pressure my parents into driving us around in Hondas even though rules of these Vietnamese roads are highly questionable. It’s so much easier to appreciate the lights on the back of a motorcycle (compared to lớn a taxi) and I find it way more culturally immersive lớn have my mom lean over khổng lồ a nearby biker at a red light to lớn ask for directions.


But what is more culturally immersive is driving a motorcycle on my own! What up Asia

The topic of motorcycles brings us to lớn our first few differences.

4. Tomato, potato; living room, garage – difference

Like thủ đô new york City, Saigon’s real estate is limited, causing architects to lớn exploit the third dimension of height. Most of the houses I’ve visited in Saigon have at least three & up khổng lồ five floors! They remind me of depsangtrong.com entryways (which are like normal dormitory floors, but vertical & connected by a staircase). Due lớn the low supply of land, houses here don’t have garages! The Vietnamese with cars/Hondas use what Americans would gọi a living room as a garage. People just drive into the first room of their houses!! Most restaurants have valet parking, but some restaurants will let you drive right into the restaurants, which is actually the best kind of security for your car (in my opinion) +1 Vietnam.

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5. Road Safety prevents Road Kill? – difference

As mentioned above, most Vietnamese people get around via Honda motorcycles. This method is not only more gas efficient, but also uses space more efficiently – I haven’t seen parking spaces for cars as of yet, unless of course you park on the side of the road, close your eyes, & hope that the other Hondas dodge it.
All of these efficiency advantages fall lớn their death,

however, when you factor in travelling with your family. Kids can be seen wedged in between adults, which naturally seems lượt thích the least dangerous option, but standing up?? Also, here, plastic bags don’t seem to be too much of a safety hazard. I understand that you’re much more vulnerable to lớn toxic gas emissions on a Honda compared to lớn an enclosed vehicle, but using a plastic bag over the head as a preventative measure seems lượt thích risky business. I admire the Vietnamese for fearlessly confronting death, but not enough to lớn let Vietnam win this one…+1 United States.

6. The FDA: The Food-Death Argument – difference

Go big or go home: why just confront death on the road when you can confront it at meal times too? I won’t believe you if you tell me this isn’t a question that’s been forever lingering in the back of your mind.


During my first night in Vietnam, I freaked out about seeing lizards chilling on the walls of restaurants. Good thing my aunt reassured me early on that lizards are seen as a “good intruder.” Lizards apparently eat ants, mosquitoes, & other gross things that are categorized as “bad intruders.” Now my scientific side would +1 Vietnam because major snaps for being green và exploiting the ecosystem but my leniency regarding cleanliness only goes so far.


I’m going khổng lồ turn the other cheek & just blindly believe that the green liquid in the plastic bottles is soap that will be used to wash these dishes. I applaud your transparency Vietnam, but I do lượt thích the letter A’s not only on my report card, but also on the front windows of my favorite restaurants. Thus, +1 America.

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7. The Health vs. Taste Controversy – undefined


Viet BLT, hold the L&T anyone?


A "bo bia ngot" street vendor: wrapped sugar sticks, shredded coconut & sesame seeds

Now I’m a level-headed, young woman of the Y2K+12, so I’ll compromise some cleanliness in order to please my taste buds. I’m an advocate for the growing popularity of food trucks in America so I’ll be a faithful advocate of street vendors here in Vietnam. I’m pretty confident when I say street vendors give you more bang for your buck & belly, but my confidence dwindles with regards to your digestive tract because no amounts of deliciousness validates an icky sicky day. Let’s just say my father will pay my tuition with less hesitation after some UHS (depsangtrong.com University Health Services) travelling sickness pills – two months ago when I went in khổng lồ get vaccines in preparation for Vietnam, they helped me make sure that all my bases were covered!

As with most controversies, no clear winner is apparent at the moment, but bonus +1 UHS!

8. You are what you eat – too many variables

My mother openly voices that I’m approximately 3 magnitudes uglier when I’m tan. My determined endeavors lớn soak up the sun may seem like residual teen rebellion, but this recurring clash is truly a cultural one. Throughout history, Vietnamese people have appreciated lighter skin tones because it symbolized wealth since reduced sun exposure most likely meant you didn’t have to go outside and work. I, however, have adapted the more mainstream American way of thought that rã lines represent a sporty & adventurous personality. Even though some people have resorted to lớn artificial means lớn imitate tans, surprise still struck me when the soap aisle at the supermarket could have been called the bleach aisle.


Although the featured ingredients of aloe vera, milk, và licorice extract seem khổng lồ compose of a balanced diet, they also apparently help brighten your skin. This has made me weary every time I use unidentified soap khổng lồ wash my hands. If only I packed a month long supply of Purell…