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An Expat Opinion

Why I love the nanny state

Why I love the nanny state

Thanks to living in Vietnam, I love the nanny state more than ever. In fact, I look forward to rushing back into her protective arms and giving her a great big cuddle, writes Tabitha Carvan.

'Fartshion': the joy of shopping in Hanoi

'Fartshion': the joy of shopping in Hanoi

At any given moment on Tạ Hiện street, Hanoi you’ll find a tourist photographing this window for the Creative Oriental Crafts Kingdom (aka COCK). This sign is clearly no accident, but an excellent business strategy, as confirmed by the store-owner in this blog. As it reported: “As it turns out ‘COCK’ stands for ‘Creative Oriental Crafts […]

Fear and self-loathing in expat-land

Fear and self-loathing in expat-land

In Vietnam, I am, and always will be, a "Tây", meaning "westerner". I’m not offended one bit by this label. Not even when I had new passport photos taken and the shop filled in the "Mr/Ms_________" section on the little receipt with “Ms Tây”, and filed it away under T.

The Vietnamese transport motto: two wheels good, four wheels bad

The Vietnamese transport motto: two wheels good, four wheels bad

Because the Vietnamese pretty much drive out of the birth canal on two wheels, they miss out on a formative experience we take for granted: adapting to four-wheeled transport.

Why your guidebook is ruining your holiday

Why your guidebook is ruining your holiday

From a comprehensive study of our friends, we’ve been able why friends seem to get the wrong impression of Vietnam. And it's the guidebooks fault, says Tabitha Carvan.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Tếtness

It’s beginning to look a lot like Tếtness

For a foreigner, Tết is a stressful time, and not just because of the traffic and the short supply of individually-wrapped snacks. It’s also a cultural minefield.

The year in review from Hanoi

The year in review from Hanoi

With the new year just past, I find myself reflecting on 2011. It was a year in which Hanoi taught me many lessons, for which I’m truly grateful. I present for you some highlights of What I Learned In 2011: 1. Your eyeballs can sweat A year in Hanoi can be divided into three parts: […]

Christmas without the tradition and religion? Welcome to Vietnam

Christmas without the tradition and religion? Welcome to Vietnam

I don’t really like Christmas. Several years ago, channelling my inner fourteen-year old, I stormed out of a family dinner and swore I would never return home for Christmas again. And because my inner fourteen-year old is about as stubborn as my outer thirty-something, I’ve stuck to my guns. This year, I’ll be swinging in […]

So long, and thanks for all the sour cream

So long, and thanks for all the sour cream

“You’ll get bored,” she’d said to me, with such certainty that I wondered if it might be true. ‘She’ was my boss, and they were her parting words as I walked out of my office, family photos from my desk and farewell card stashed in my bag, three years in a country I couldn’t even […]

I cock-a-doodle-do

I cock-a-doodle-do

Introducing a new regular Back in a Bit author, an Aussie expat living in Hanoi…  Tabitha Carvan writes: This, my first post for Crikey comes at a particularly significant time for me in my two-year stint in Hanoi, being as it is only months away from my wedding. My partner Nathan and I are both Australian and […]