He held up one finger and said “One day” and I did my best to have a look of sadness for having to cross the border a day late. The border official in the green and red uniform sat my passport down on the table and proceeded to make me wait for him to process every other passport by the other people behind me in line. I just stood there waiting patiently for him to stamp my passport so I could leave. I only felt some impatience creeping in once, my foot started to tap the floor but it only took a couple deep breathes to move past it. I often gain personal insights into my emotional state by watching my own body language, its odd what I don’t know about myself.
I was laughing inside because it was such a silly situation. What could he really do? kick me out? I would certainly hope so.
A friend of mine a couple weeks ago was telling me about how he thought that the people who behave rudely are only making a fool of themselves. Its just not a cool thing to do to make fun of someone who doesn’t understand you or can’t fight back. I’ve had people try to say rude things to me in languages I can’t understand but ever since I heard that from my friend its been much easier to see how no matter what they say it only lessons them, it is a childish thing to do. Only a weak person attacks defenseless people, and not being able to communicate properly can be seen as the lack of defense. It also made it so much funnier to see this border official try to intimidate me through making me wait. I didn’t know if I would have to pay him a bribe but I wasn’t worried about that, I just wasn’t going to let myself feel defenseless.
He handed me back my passport when it was clear that he didn’t have enough else’s passport to process. Just like that, no bribe, no yelling, he just handed it to me and I had no apparent consequence for being in Vietnam a day after my visa expired other than waiting an extra 10 minutes.
I’ve now been in 11 countries outside the US. I’m personally excited for myself by that.