Tips for the holidays in Vietnam

You need a plan for Vietnam’s extended holiday season! If you don’t… well, look forward to boredom, frustration, delays and other debacles. Long term expats and savvy locals know exactly what I’m talking about. The next eight to twelve weeks has unexpected twists and obstacles that we often forget from last year – or simply are not aware of. So in the Christmas spirit of giving something good to everyone, here are a few tips. The list is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive – I’ll bet someone in the pub will say, “Ah…Stivi forgot to mention about…”  Probably, but then again I’m more accurate than Donald Trump’s tweets. There are lots of tell-tale signs that the holidays will affect you. It starts off innocently enough when your English students or company staff begrudgingly admit that they didn’t do the homework or turn up for work on time because of a “__________ (name of holiday) party”, accompanied by some very insincere groveling and unconvincing apologies. Saying sorry while you’re grinning from ear to ear doesn’t cut it with the teacher or boss, kids. Other signs including your housekeeper, best friend or partner disappearing at all times of the day, usually to help out the family raise money for Tet (Vietnam’s Lunar New Year holiday – the 16th to the 20th of February, 2018) or cover another family member’s job while they do the holiday shopping. This slowly translates into an economic slow-down that starts cutting into your life – and your sanity… [Read full story]


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