Hanoi, a city of modernity deeply rooted on interwoven traditions of multiple ethic groups. Its traditional housing architecture offset by skyscrapers and bumper to bumper traffic somehow just seems complimentary.

The hotel staff speak Vietnamese to me and when I reply in English they ask me where I am from. It’s an easy answer while I’m abroad but complicated when I’m home in Minnesota. This question – where are you from- often pretense from misconception and curiousity has been a source of annoyance and grit.

“Where are you from?” Thanh, the hotel manager, asks me.
“Minnesota, from USA” I reply.
“But you look Vietnamese.” he replies.
I smile at him and begin a conversion about my cultural roots, about the TaiDam. And in that moment, we connect.

Tomorrow we head to Dien Bien and our journey continues…

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