There’s something about a stoic, silent figure that inspires the poetic in me. What is their mission? My neighbor is usually on her tiny balcony, watching over the alley. Unfortunately, I know little more than that. Here are some haikus I’ve constructed to help myself make sense of you, elderly Vietnamese neighbor grandma. A year and a half of enjoying you enjoying your little balcony has finally produced something.

Also, I’d been struggling to find a way to incorporate some modern and traditional art in my blog – taking pictures of art museums is pretty passe – and this presented an opportunity for me. Vietnamese art is the product of complex forces within Vietnamese culture and society, and these are a few of my favorites! There are a few galleries in Vietnam that deal art to international clients, which is where I’ve gotten most of these pictures of the works. Sadly, most are privately owned and my pictures of the art museum were pretty much crap.

And thank you for not calling the cops on our awesome stereo setup on the terrace, neighbor. (And that goes for anyone living in our vicinity who may be reading this, thank you!)

Xin cam on ba.

13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad

13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad
13 Haikus for the Elderly Vietnamese Neighbor - ABenAbroad

Plot twist: Is the elderly woman me? Am I actually in a panopticon?? Did I really see those dolphins constructing that 6-toed statue on the beach with my own lying eyes???

This last one is a picture of my maternal grandparents on my gramps’ motorcycle. My family on that side has been really, really in to cars and motorcycles for as long as I can remember – I’m hoping to craft an unforgettable experience for my cousin Chris and I this summer, as we motorbike across 700+ km of northern mountains! My grandpa would be very proud, I think, and maybe even a little secretly jealous.

Stay tuned, for who knows what! This has been your daily dose of spontaneous poetry about neighbors and random Vietnamese art.

Signing off,
Ben