World traveler, father, graphic designer, linguist, translator, writer...
cristophm has written 41 posts for BlackPassport

tion ever?

HO CHI MINH CITY – Yes, this is the worst internet connection I have ever experienced. I don’t know if it is just my building or the whole country (and considering how posh the building is, I’m leaning toward a national issue…), but there are days when the internet is cutting out every few minutes. … Continue reading

Is this the worst internet connec

First few days in Saigon a whirlwind

HO CHI MINH CITY – Two days into our new life in Saigon, and we got hit with the first typhoon of the season and the first typhoon to hit Ho Chi Minh City in many years. The winds were howling, the rain was pouring, the electricity was outing and the trees were falling. http://tuoitre.vn/Chinh-tri-Xa-hoi/485076/Bao-so-1-quat-nga-cay-coi-khap-Sai-Gon.html

Good morning, Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY – 23 hours of flights and a week and a half after leaving DC (including a friend-filled stop over at home in Tokyo), and we have arrived in the bustling heart of Vietnam. Arriving at the surprisingly modern Than Son Nhat airport was a strange experience: largely empty on the inside, … Continue reading

Fall into fall

A quick trip to Asia and back

ARLINGTON – The Washington area has a number of sizable immigrant communities, two of which are near and dear to my linguistic heart: the Vietnamese Eden Center in Falls Church, VA, and the H Mart Korean supermarket further down the road in Fairfax. Both are like mini-immersion trips; in fact, my Vietnamese class is scheduled … Continue reading

What is bipolar in Vietnamese?

ARLINGTON – One of the reasons (a pretty big one, in fact) that I wanted to join the Foreign Service is that I absolutely love learning new languages – especially particularly difficult ones. I mean, I already speak the two languages the State Department classifies as the most difficult: Japanese and Korean. Taking on a … Continue reading

A day in the garden and a trip to hell

WASHINGTON DC – The White House opens its gates twice a year to let the general public stroll around the grounds, to get close enough to the seat of power that one can almost touch it; try it, though, and they’d probably shoot you. If you do get shot, maybe you’ll go to Hell, where … Continue reading

The Vietnamese war, or…go to sleep, stupid

ARLINGTON – Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not that hard to obtain a certain level of fluency in a foreign language in a matter of mere months; it just takes the right study habits, good instruction and a lot of exploration with the language you have already learned. I’ve done it with Korean, and am … Continue reading

Designs on love

PHILADELPHIA – The city responsible for the birth of the United States of America is richly layered in history, architecture and culture. It is a city that would take more than my short visit to uncover, because there are treasures hidden beyond Independence Hall, Philly Cheesesteaks and Rocky. It is a city caught between America … Continue reading