Daniel Hauer, an English teacher living in Vietnam, has just pointed out some normal things that are considered normal in Vietnam but would be considered strange to an American.
Men “displaying” their bellies
“You will find this quite normal in Vietnamese street-side stalls. Men often pull their shirts up when they drink iced tea on a hot day”, said Daniel.
He had seen men in China, Malaysia and Vietnam do so, but people in other places. He stated that people could feel hot in some parts of the upper body such as neck, armpits and chest on summer days rather than the belly.
Constant phone calls
According to Daniel, young people in America and Western countries only call each other when they need to talk about long and complicated matters or get phone calls from long-distant relatives. Therefore, if people just want to invite someone out, share some news, or ask a simple question, they always text.
On the contrary, Vietnamese people can call about all kinds of stuff: “Have you waked up? Have you eaten yet? Have you gone to the bathroom yet?”
Daniel said this is more than a right- wrong situation; it is just a different habit. However, it’s a habit you- as a Vietnamese people, might want to consider changing if you want to make friends with a Westerner, otherwise they will find it very strange, and you might jump right to the top of their list of annoying people.
“Americans will look at you like you are crazy if you put some ice to cool the beer.” Daniel said. In his country, people often put beer in the freezer and wait, but never add ice directly to the beer.
Daniel comes from the state of Washington, which produces 70% of the apple for the whole country. Some of them are also exported to Vietnam.
He was surprised to see the Vietnamese peeling apples. It is possible that Americans and Vietnamese people can agree on peeling most things such as mangoes, papayas etc., but the apple skin, because most of the nutrition of an apple is in the peel.
One more thing that Daniel noticed was how Vietnamese people hold the knife to peel fruit: holing their index finger on the peel and pushing the knife blade away, while the Americans would do the exact opposite: holding their thumb on the peel and pulling the knife towards it. He tried to teach his Vietnamese girlfriend his way and vice versa, but both of them just cannot get used to it.
“If only I looked younger…”
This is one of the things that make Daniel surprised about Vietnamese people: very young people wishing they looked even younger. For example, a 16-year-old boy told him that he wanted to look like a 13-year-old one.
This situation is totally opposite in the West. People in their teens or early twenties, they want to look older. A 14-year-old American girl will treat it as a compliment if someone says, “You look like 17 years old.” She wants to look older, more mature, more independent and attractive as a woman, she does not want to look like a kid anymore.
However, in their 30s, Americans would want to look like their real age and then they hope to look youthful forever./
Translated from: vnexpress.net