We’re back in Saigon in anticipation of our next trip to the northern region of Vietnam. My cousin has planned an 11 day vacation for us and we depart in a few days. Tom and I, our kids, my mom, my cousin and her husband and their two boys, ages 6 and 10. The literal English translation of my cousin’s name is Snow White. Even though SW has graciously handled every detail and prepaid many of our expenses, I’m a little nervous about the trip. SW, who’s about my age, is probably my favorite cousin in VN right now. She’s sweet, fun-loving, and likes to tease. I’m still self-conscious about my language skills so I can’t be as comfortable and talkative as I would like to be around SW and her husband, Hung. I’m worried about how the upcoming trip will affect our relationship. An 11 day vacation is probably the ultimate test of compatibility.
I worry that SW will mistake my shyness for dullness, or worse, think that I’m sullen and unappreciative. I worry that I’ll hate her kids. So far I don’t have the best impression of them. I worry that I’ll hate my kids. They’ve proven to be pretty terrible on vacation. I worry that accommodations and food are going to be unappealing or patently offensive. I worry that partway through the trip we’ll realize that no one is having fun and everyone is in fact thoroughly miserable and only destined for more misery because we’ll be trapped with each other until the vacation runs its course. I worry about tension, awkwardness, resentment, boredom, frustration, alienation, or God forbid open hostility and declarations of war. Vacationing with my mom is always a risky proposition and she and I are on the outs right now due to a recent fight so that doesn’t bode well for this venture. Basically I worry that this trip might turn out to be like our last trip.
My expectations are so low that I’m just hoping we don’t end up hating each other. It would be a bonus to actually have fun, but I’m not holding my breath for 11 days.