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11 Lies About Living in Vietnam

Vietnam Student Work
by Jacqueline Kehoe Oct 16, 2015

1. “I can totally live on $300 a month.”

Yeah, if you want to poop into a sketchy Turkish toilet and sleep on a cot covered in Care Bears with Grandma Nguyen by your side. Remember how you’ve been caving to your weekly $7 burrito at El Gato Negro and that three-night-a-week $4 Heineken? Let’s not get too carried away here.

2. “I’m only shopping at markets and eating from questionable holes-in-the-wall 24/7.”

This lasts for about the first three months, and then you discover that the Big C has Nutella. All your friends are al fresco-ing at Barbecue Garden and apparently the flan at L’Usine is on point. Do you wanna meet up at Fly for cupcakes later? Yes. How many am I allowed before regret sets in again?

3. “I’ll lose so much weight just eating pho, rice, and veggies. So easy.”

That’s before you realize white rice is just carbs in a bowl and that 5th cà phê sữa đá you just chugged down means you basically drank a can of condensed milk. It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong; no one blames you. If you want the coffee on the side next time, we all understand because we’ve been there. You just might wanna go “không đường” once in a while.

4. “My Vietnamese is gonna get SO good.”

Well, at least it’s going to be better than when you left. And you’re going to get super good at saying, “Em ơi!” and “trời ơi!” and pretty much anything with “ơi” because you’ve been waiting your entire life for a polite way to say “Hey, you!” and now you just can’t find a reason to stop.

5. “Nah, I’m too smart about that stuff to get mugged. It won’t happen to me.”


6. “I’m a pretty good haggler. I don’t think it’ll be an issue.”

Remember that one time you paid 70,000 VND for that coconut? You were so cute and naïve back then.

7. “Life is just going to be so exotic and stuff.”

Your friends are going to be super jealous of all the pictures you post on Facebook of you spending time in the jungle and eating rice on floors and talking to pineapple salesmen and eating duck fetuses. Oh, wait. Is this entire album of you at some beer club with a tower of beer in front you bobbing along to some female “DJ” with a Macbook in a short skirt? Show us more.

8. “I love rain. Can’t wait for it to get a little colder.”

Driving a motorbike in two feet of it is great, too. I hear engines love water.

9. “My tan is gonna be totally bitchin’.”

From your knees down, that is. Traffic is a great time to work on that tan of yours, and your knees and shoulders look gooood and you know it. Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, baby.

10. “I’ll be roughin’ it, but it’ll be worth it.”

You get a maid one week later.

11. “I’m not too easily grossed out. What could happen?”

Enter the cockroach crawling up your leg. The ant in your tea. Or the pile of roaches that you have to shower with. At least once you’ll take an entire one-minute long shower on tip toe and just lived with a soapy residue that wasn’t worth washing off.

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