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An Origin Story

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Hello everybody! This week, I've got a story, a mistake to correct, and a new video!
 
July 15 · Issue #17 · View online
TibzLetter
Hello everybody!
This week, I’ve got a story, a mistake to correct, and a new video!

Also, I graduated from high school 8 years ago... Crazy how time flies by!
But first, a story...
As most of you know, I’m ¼ Vietnamese — from my grandfather on my mom’s side. My grandfather actually left Vietnam at 17, back in the late 1930s. The eldest amongst five siblings, he was drafted by the French Army, back when Vietnam was still a colony as part of French Indochina. And he never went back to Vietnam. He passed 11 years ago.
But seven years ago, the family on the Vietnamese side, my grandfather’s brother, and his children and grandchildren found us, in France. At the children-level (i.e. The generation of my parents, and aunts & uncles), some of them had moved to Germany.
Over the years to follow, we would keep up with that side of the family mostly through Facebook, up until last winter, when we planned to visit Vietnam and reconnect with the side of the family that had stayed there. Thanks to a few of my cousins, we were able to plan a visit to the Vietnamese family home in the heart of Hanoi, and meet our long-lost relatives: my grandfather’s younger brother, and his children and grandchildren. A very heartwarming and emotional time for everyone who was a part of the trip.
However, my German-Việt cousin Kim (and her parents) were not available during that trip, so despite helping us reconnect with that side of our family, we hadn’t had a chance to meet. That is, for me, up until earlier this week.
After ten days in Sydney, a roadtrip to get to Melbourne, and ten days in Melbourne, I finally landed in Brisbane last Saturday, to finally meet that cousin I had been talking with over the course of the past seven years.
After picking me up from the train station, Kim took me out for drinks!
I’m typing down this email from a little cosy café in the city of Toowoomba, in the state of Queensland, Australia, where she lives with her boyfriend Rex. Kim’s studied across Germany and Australia and currently works at the local hospital. She’s just a year younger than me and was kind enough to offer to host me for a week or two. So it’s been really great to connect, both of us as young adults at the beginning of our professional lives, in Australia of all places.
Let me recap this: I’m French. And I’m meeting my German cousin, on the Vietnamese side of my family. In Australia. For the first time. After more than seven years chatting on the internet.
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(No, this is not a catfish story, far from it. But if someone adapts this story in some sort of movie, please credit me as a producer —or something?!)
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By the time I’m planning to send this email, I should be back in Sydney for 48h, before flying to… yes Vietnam. However this time around, I will be going to Saigon (otherwise known as Ho Chi Minh City — HCMC if you’re trendy or too lazy to write it entirely).
Over the last few years, I’ve been meaning to go to Saigon, and stay in the city for a few weeks. I wanted to see the development and the modern Vietnamese life with my own eyes. I’ve been to Vietnam twice before, but on both occasions, I was traveling with my family, and visiting as a tourist. This time, I want to give it the chance to experience life a little more like a local.
Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
But perhaps more meaningful than any of this, the reason for my being in Saigon at this time is to accompany my girlfriend Shana, who’s on a quest to reconnect with her side of her Vietnamese family. That’s right: while having completely different circumstances, she does have a family story of being apart and trying to get to know this side of her roots and origins. I’m going to be there for support, and I have a feeling this will not only be a great trip, but also and especially a very meaningful one that may get us even closer together.
I will be spending about ten days with Shana, and then 20 days on my own before leaving for another destination.
Wait and see, my friends…
With Shana a few weeks ago, in Korea
ERRATUM
As I’ve mentioned previously, I had a quick correction to make: in my last email, you’ll have noticed that the same Vlog got posted twice: #40 from Busan, South Korea.
Please accept my apologies: you will find Vlog #41, from Sydney, here: 
Vlog 041: Exploring Sydney, Australia
Vlogs on Vlogs on Vlogs
Finally for today, talking about my traveling vlogs, the last one was just published a few days ago — this one is all about that gorgeous roadtrip I took between Sydney and Melbourne. You can normally drive in-lands over the course of 8 hours, straight. However, I decided to take my time, drive on the scenic route along the ocean, and take a total of four days to make that journey.
You can see it for yourself and enjoy Vlog #42 below: 
Vlog 042: A Roadtrip between Sydney and Melbourne
That's all folks..!
A longer email this week, but a meaningful one nonetheless. I hope you’ve enjoyed this one, and stay tuned for my next email — straight from the Motherland.
—Tibz
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Written in Dublin, Ireland