In the last six months or so, I have suffered - or rather, experienced - some setbacks. In the interest of full disclosure, I had begun the process of becoming a Foreign Service Officer - a diplomat - for the Department of State. I made it all the way through the process, to the very last step, but didn't pass the Foreign Service Officer Assessment (the interview stage). The fact is, I didn't prepare well enough and I wasn't ready for the all day, intensive process. Lesson learned. I was a little bummed about the outcome, though it was no surprise to me in retrospect. I let life get in the way of preparation and the natural order of events just took over. Since the setback, I have spent some time re-evaluating what will happen to me at the end of my tour here in Vietnam, scheduled for the latter part of this year. I have some plans in the hopper, and I am not placing all of my hopes in any one position or location. I will keep it close hold for now, so as not to jinx myself, but I have faith that things will work out.
I recently returned from a work related trip in the border areas of central Vietnam. I took my Olympus with me and captured some photos that I was pleased with. I had lost interest in taking photos for a while, whether for lack of opportunity of being otherwise engaged, so it was good to feel interested in the hobby again.
|Asking Blessings from Heaven and Earth|
I particularly liked this photo I took in Tan Trach Village, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province. The local ethnic minority of this region is the Van Kieu (Bru). I like to think they are named "People of the Clouds" because of the morning fog common in this mountainous area. They slash and burn in their cultivation methods, meaning they will clear a piece of land, plant it for a couple of seasons and leave the land to renourish itself. This "altar" was placed to ask blessings from Heaven and Earth (Cung Troi Dat). It is a simple and understandable concept that they would look to God, Fortune, Fate, or a Higher Power to find favor with them considering the hand to mouth existance they live. A bad storm or arid year could mean the difference between life and death for these people. This primitive fact of life for these locals puts my life in perspective for me and is a reminder of how blessed I am to be in this position that I sit.
I am not sure how much I will be posting on this blog at this point in my life. I may be enjoying my last days here in Vietnam too much to sit down and gather my thoughts. We'll see.