I arrived to Vietnam a few days after my class with Tiffany, whose visa arrived just in time for my second rescheduled flight. I thought I had a fear of flying, but when searching for fear, did not find any but the fear of fear itself. The flight was smooth. The only terrible part was a white ‘murican man who overheard me discussing anxiety with the flight attendant so that I could sit in the empty row to help prevent anxiety. While the seatbelt light was still on, he moved to the empty seat fron the row directly in front of mine, and absolutely within earshot of my conversation with the flight attendant. During mealtime, I approached him to negotiate a deal. Before I could open my mouth, he said ‘get away from me and stop harassing me.’ I was in shock because we were on a plane with hours ahead over an ocean, he was accusing me of harassing simply for being near him…. on a plane?
This is a prime example of the unfavorable, privileged/entitled, ‘all of the terrible things’ attitude that US Americans carry with them around the world. While this man heard me speak of my mental health concerns, he felt the right to sit there simply because he ‘beat me to it’ fully aware that it had been negotiated for. Furthermore, the most frustrating thing yet was the fact that he knew that the polite, Asian female flight attendants would not stand up to him. Even after the flight attendant asked him to return to his seat, he refused until the last two out of thirteen hours of the flight. As an Asian woman, which I’m sure other Asian women can too relate, I am essentially bullied simply because of my small stature and perhaps assumptions of my culture. Take my seat, sure. Blatantly disrespect the flight attendants requests solely due to subscribing to negative stereotypes and who you are as a shit person— despicable.
I am now in Vietnam, and I will aim to avoid biligaanas so that I may do what it is that I’m here to do— to learn, enjoy, and grow my relationship with this homeland of mine. It feels good to be in the North. While I’m not a city girl, the mountains of the North feel… right.