I sit here nearly one month before planning to leave Vietnam (at least temporarily) in my favorite coffee shop in Hanoi - a coffee shop where I have often found refuge by being in a social space, yet alone in my thoughts. I consider what I have learned over the past years that I have traveled back and forth to Vietnam, how I have changed and how my ongoing relationship with Vietnam has changed me. What I find to be the root of my journey is an ongoing search for myself, for meaning, for happiness, for life.

         It has been a long search it seems - arduous and at times exhausting. But, actually only a mere segment of the long journey ahead of me, the long journey of life, the roller coaster that we are all riding. For some, however, the emotional ride isn't as turbulent, isn't as volatile. By nature, I am ruled by my emotions which certainly add a lot of dynamism to this ongoing adventure.

         The journey, I must admit, has been blissful and painful, peaceful and turbulent, enriching and thought-provoking. Moments of clarity woven with periods of brooding. It has been my journey in and out of Vietnam over the past few years. Underlying this adventure has been the search for myself, my family, my understanding of life and love in a context that is both familiar and unfamiliar at once.

        Please read the rest of the story in THE SORROWS OF WAR AND PEACE.