In the early spring Iris and I were at Co-op Mart the local grocery shop when Iris said to me, “Rhonda there’s a foreigner looking at you”. Since Iris is a Filipino she is often mistaken for being Vietnamese so, when someone says to me there’s a foreigner looking at you what that really means is that there’s a non-Asian person looking at you which is not that common around here. .And sure enough there was. He was in the check-out line and we were just walking around the store. Our eyes met at the same time and we both said simultaneously “where are you from”? and that is how we met Grover who comes from Georgia. Grover is a young man in his early 20s, very tall and slender who was working for an NGO in Vietnam whose head office was in Hanoi. This NGO was tracking a rare breed of turtle found in Central Vietnam (read: Quang Ngai province). Grover had been here for over 6 months and his life passion is turtles….I think the teenage muntant ninja t-shirt was the give away. And if you ever asked Grover what he did…boy could you learn a lot about turtles. So over the course of the next few months we had the chance to hang out with Grover a few times and we introduced him to a few of the eating places we knew of. Grover had become quite ill several times with food poisioning while here and he was hospitalized a couple of times as well. He really didn’t have much opportunity to speak English, as the staff he worked with had limited knowledge of English except for his boss who he didn’t see on a regular basis and a staff member in the Hanoi office.
We introduced Grover to Mrs. Thao and in early September Mrs. Thao treated all of us including Grover to a barbeque chicken dinner to mark the end of the summer which in turn meant the end of us all having Sunday’s off together (sad). So here’s a picture of Grover eating french fries (yes, they were very good) a la Vietnamese style …..that is with chopsticks. Grover is now back in Georgia, his goal is to pick up some work and then pursue his masters. Once I’m able to get access to Facebook, then I’ll send a friend request. We had a few laughs with Grover, and it was great sharing our time with him………….