Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Got a headache? No problem!

The first year when our family traveled to Vietnam, our suitcases contained shampoos and conditioners, deodorant, vitamins, and all sorts of medicines among many other things we did not think we could find in Vietnam. Four years later, most items we bring with us are Caleb's homeschooling materials. We still bring vitamins and some meds, but I have learned to get the basic common ones here in Vietnam. For a mild headache, I would take Panadol which is equivalent to Tylenol. But for a bad ache, one can actually find Advil and Aleve here, but not in a new bottle. I go to the local pharmacy and tell them I would like to get some Advil, then they would go to the back of the store and bring out this big dusty bottle (most items you buy at the stores here are dusty) of Advil that has been opened, ask you how many you would like, and cinch them up in a little plastic bag with a rubber band. I do ask to see the bottle to check for the expiration date and ingredients etc. And the bottles do look genuine and are in a recognizable packaging from Advil. So there, I get my Advil for my cramps and Andy gets his Aleve for his back pain.


Getting Gas

For over four years in Vietnam, I managed not to have to call to order gas when it runs out since each time it happened Andy was home for the rescue. (Here people cook with portable propane gas stoves.) Yesterday Andy was out taking a student back to her hometown two hours away for an emergency in the family. In the middle of cooking dinner, the fire went out, and I knew what I had to do... I called the number on the tank and ordered a tank of gas. That I managed to say, plus our address. But when the lady asked me what color the tank was, I realized there are different ones like red, blue, and gray etc. for different sizes I believe. Ours was the gray one, but I didn't know what "gray" was in Vietnamese! But, I did know "red, blue, black, and white." So I told her literally, "Not color red, not color blue. Color black and white." Voila! A grey tank of gas was delivered within a half hour! Learning to survive in Vietnam still...