by Lauren "Ren" Workman
on November 1, 2017 on 11/1/17
Walking down the street, you see many people but not many faces. You see the tops of heads which are buried in phones. Immediately when you meet people, they are adding you on Facebook before you even know how to pronounce their name. The busy cities of Vietnam are controlled by technology just as much as those in the U.S. I have not figured out if it’s a good or bad thing yet. Not everything is black and white…
Technology has never been my best friend. Constantly struggling with the fight of not wanting to be on my phone too much, I have grown to despise the culture that has been created around social media and texting. I get frustrated when people are on their phones too much (myself included), and just wish that more people would talk in person rather than hiding behind a screen.
Though these frustrations are real, I have also tried to find some good in it all…
My favorite part about all of the technology is connectedness. I am able to send photos and updates to my family almost instantly when something exciting occurs (or if I just want to show them a cute dog that I run into). Sharing these experiences with my family is extremely important to me.
My family is the reason that I am here. If it wasn’t for their constant love and support throughout grade school and college, I would not be the successful person that I am today. For those of you who have been to any performance of mine at HWS, you know the Workman/Wilkinson squad is always half of the entire audience. They deserve to see the beauty that I am able to, because they are the ones that made it all possible.
My family did not have the same opportunities that I do. I am incredibly lucky to be sitting at this cafe in Hanoi right now. I am lucky to be just months away from graduating from undergrad. My parents have always said that their only hope is that my brother and I end up better off than they are. With my brother happily engaged (congrats!) and doing what he loves, and me pursuing a degree that gives me butterflies, I would say that my parents have met their goal, don’t you think?
Though the technological world can be frustrating sometimes with everyone being so preoccupied, I have found a new appreciation for it during my time here. Photos allow my family (and friends) to see the beauty that is Vietnam. It almost is like they are here with me, and I always wish that they were.
Since this has turned into a post about appreciation, I am also incredibly grateful for the Fund for Education Abroad and my best friend who helped me get the scholarship when I was unable to do it all on my own. Because of this organization and this person, I am able to travel and study what I love, free from financial burdens and stress. I can never say thank you enough.
With only one month left in Vietnam (happy November!), I am starting to feel overwhelming feelings of… I don’t know what. All I know is that I am looking forward to four more weeks of adventure, followed by seeing my favorite people in the world!
End Note: Much of this post is about sharing photos with friends and family. The photos you will see below are from the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, which is totally unrelated to the topic. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy.