It’s becoming harder and harder to explain what living in Laos is like to people who live in America. It’s very much like a creative writing assignment I was given in fifth grade. The task was to describe a ball point pen to an alien from another planet. I was to assume this creature knew nothing of Earthly inventions or ways of life, but apparently that they did speak and read English. Even at ten years old, I saw the flaws in logic.
Life in Vientiane is that ball point pen. Very little about my life here looks at all like my life three weeks ago. When I attempt to put it into words, it sounds like gibberish. I send pictures to my friends and family to show how beautiful parts of it are. I also try to take pictures of the realities I deal with such as immense amounts of garbage lining the streets. I want to give an accurate portrayal of my new home. I don’t know why it’s so important to me that everyone understands that it’s amazing but also very difficult. It’s that ten year old in me – always the realist.
I remember really struggling with that fifth grade writing assignment. I wanted to give an accurate description of that pen. I wanted to bring it to life in the mind of the alien.
So, for all my aliens out there following my adventure… please know I’m trying to find the words. I would love to give you an honest and real depiction of Vientiane. Deep down I know that until you really live in a place, it will always seem like another planet.
In other words: This is just to say I don’t know how to say what I want to say (yet).