Ngoc: A Portrait


I sat on the motorbike, holding on for dear life; one hand gripped her jacket and the other clung to the metal grip behind me. Her driving was impeccable – no danger there – but we were surrounded by hundreds (thousands?) of very erratic drivers, all powering their motorbikes through the narrow streets, and all angling for the front position at each stoplight. Ngoc’s driving wasn’t the problem – everyone else left me afraid for my life (or at least my sanity).

But as she drove us through the streets of My Tho in Southern Vietnam, masterfully navigating the streets and keeping us clear from the chaos all around us, my awe of her grew. And grew. And grew.

Not only is this (very beautiful) young lady fluent in at least two languages (English and Vietnamese; I can hardly even handle ONE), she’s also an entrepreneur, a hard working employee, a devoted sister, and – oh yes – a talented driver. She sells the most adorable dresses and handbags. She makes the most amazing paper flowers (SO amazing I thought she was kidding when she said she’d made it). And she has the sweetest smile.

And have I mentioned she’s beautiful?

We sat on the front porch, safely back in the comfort of my home-away-from-home watching the world go by, and I kept peppering her with questions. Culture. Language. Climate. Wedding. Life. Our worlds aligned. Normally 9000 miles apart, we sat side by side. United by our friend Hien, our mutual desire to create beautiful photographs, and a cup of green tea, I made a friend.

So, Ngoc, even though I had the hardest time pronouncing your name, and even though we’re again separated by 9000 miles, and even though I asked you to do the weirdest things during your photoshoot, I hope you know how much I truly and fully enjoyed getting to know you.

You’re beautiful, my friend.  

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