Today Tien and I sat at the market where her family store is and talked a long time about language, world culture and classical music. I tried to also explain some things about computers and networking, which was preceded by my saying that I was intrigued by the problem of making a better network for a place like this village and was succeeded by my explanation of the word intrigue. While we were talking it began to rain pretty heavily, like a flash flood. We sat near the edge of the market and watched gallons of water pour off the tarp roofs of the stalls outside and I told Tien and two other girls about how cold the rain was in Colorado and how it made hail. When the rain died down Tien and I strolled the 2 blocks back to her house and had a very anime lunch.
When I say anime lunch, I mean it in the romantic comedy sense of anime. Picture Tien's mom and a neighbor woman of the same age bringing me a tray of fresh cooked food as I sat on the couch. Tien's niece, who is ever sweet and thoughtful even at 4 years old, brought me water like she often does. Two of Tien's sisters, two nieces, her mother and the neighbor sat there around the table watching and smiling while Tien fed food from the tray into my bowl. They all looked at me and smiled and made jokes and talked about my looks and asked if the food was good and asked about my wife or girlfriend and said a lot of things that Tien didn't translate for me. Then in typical dorky anime guy style I broke the chair I was sitting on when I got up to get some medicine from my bag. (Lord knows I couldn't get up to get anything but what was exclusively under my control, the women would have to get it for me.) By this time three other girls had come in, so there I was breaking the chair I sat in while about 8 asian females watched and laughed at me. The food was delicious though, and I ate it with chopsticks from a bowl. They all smiled at me and watched me eat until I was full, sitting next to that broken chair. Then they made me go take a nap, but when I went to lay in the hammock the frame of it fell backwards and I nearly broke the glass in a cabinet while pulling a muscle in my arm and dropping my laptop on the floor. Of course everybody around laughed at me, and I taught Tien the word "klutz."
Is that not so cliché anime? All I could think of was Kimagure Orange Road or Tenchi Muyo.
After I finally got safely into the hammock and Tien and I finally agreed that neither of us should feel bad or embarrassed about what just happened we sat and talked for another long while about cultural differences, the mix of culture, non-ethnically defined culture which is often found in America, and the difficulties encountered when cultures blend and break. A lot of this stemmed off of a common idea that Tien and I might get married, which isn't going to happen of course but Vietnamese culture leads its people to that conclusion when they see her and I together, and the difficulties between men and women of different cultures. For instance, I would've loved to stop talking to make out with Tien but her more conservative Vietnamese culture won't allow that to happen, so instead we just talked about how difficult and frustrating these things can be and then I took a nap, which wasn't nearly as fulfilling as making out would've been.