The prime reason for this blog is to inform friends and family about our decision to relocate to Vietnam for a couple of years and to show them the wonderful cultural experiences we know we will have there. How do we know we will have these experiences?
I have kept fairly quiet about it for a long time -- my year in Vietnam from October 1971 to October 1972 was the best out of my good life. My silence has partly been a matter of respect for the serious experiences of Americans and Vietnamese in the war. I did not see the war for the entire year I was in Vietnam although I travelled up and down what was then South Vietnam as a naval officer administering 21 construction contracts to Vietnamese contractors. However, some of these projects were in areas eventually overrun in the Tet Easter offensive of the North Vietnamese in 1972 and later.
It was my experiences working with these Vietnamese contractors that I remember fondly, and to what I have wanted to return. Vietnam was and is a very beautiful country, but it was and is the Vietnamese people, culture, and food that I enjoyed the most.
And of course I met my wife Hien in Saigon in early 1972, and we were subsequently married in 1973 at Newport, Rhode Island. Although her entire family also became refugees to America in 1975, she has always wanted to return.
And return we did to manage design and construction once again with Vietnamese architects and contractors. We are living in Ho Chi Minh City.
Update August 2009: We have lived in Saigon now for four years, and hope to continue living here for at least four more years, if not more.
Update February 2012: Hien and Mel have sadly divorced, but Mel is continuing his life in Viet Nam and intends to retire in Ho Chi Minh City.