The GoGlobal Blog

Childlike Imagination

Childlike Imagination

It’s been a little over a week since we returned from our last long excursion to the wonderful Kingdom of Cambodia. To put it lightly, I fell in love with Cambodia and was sad to leave. Since we returned to Saigon, we’ve been pushed back into the swing of school again. With only 4 weeks left in the program, it’s crunch time.

I’ve been a very avid student throughout most of my undergraduate degree: I do my homework, start research papers early and hate missing class. I didn’t know if senioritis was a real thing for college students until this semester. With the last four weeks of my BA upon me, it is bad to say, but I feel like I have sort of checked out prematurely. Real life, adulthood (although to we ever really feel like adults?) and all that doom and excitement await me on December 8th – the long-awaited last day of class ever. Wrapped up in these strange, adult things like graduate school applications and job searching, Emily and I were given the ability to be children again this morning and it was magnificent.

After a quick walk along the obstacle course that is Saigon’s streets and sidewalks, we arrived at the bus stop just in time to catch number 14. In true Vietnamese fashion, we hopped on the bus while it was still slowly moving forward, found two empty seats towards the front of the bus and paid the bus monitor 2,000 dong (9 cents) for the ride. In front of our row sat a young girl, probably around three years old, her mother and another woman. The girl was immediately very playful with us and started right in with a lot of smiling and giggling. After sharing some waffles and playing a few rounds of peek-a-boo over the seat  with us, she stood up on the seat, her arms resting on the top of it and began making strange hand motions.

It took us some time to realize what was happening but soon the motions looked very familiar – she was playing food cart. The back of the seat became her food cart and Emily and I her customers. She would gather imaginary ingredients (her cart must have quite the variety), put them all together and then hand them to us. In the spirit of childlike imagination, Emily and I played along, taking her food, holding it up to our mouths and making ‘nom nom nom’ sounds as we nibbled on it. She was thrilled and so we continued like this for a while longer. Before we arrived at our bus stop, Emily pointed out how cool it was to be part of a Vietnamese child’s imagination. In the U.S, children would have been playing house or drive-through. This little girl’s game of choice was food cart.

Study abroad is wonderful because of the grand adventure it is, but in reality, it is these little moments that make the experience complete. It is the little girl and her food cart and all the other little things that I will remember the most in years to come. Someday it will be watching my own children play imaginary games that will cause me to remember the four months I spent living in Vietnam and that one time on the number 14 bus that I ate the best imaginary food of my life, prepared with all the love and care in the world by Vietnam’s best imaginary food vendor.


A different ride on the number 14 bus but I'm sure you get the picture.
A different ride on the number 14 bus but I’m sure you get the picture!
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