Nice dress

The traditional Ao Dai (Áo Dài, pronounced “ow- yahy” in the south, “ow-zahy” in the north) is a beautiful, form-fitting outfit shirt, paired with loose pants. One of my locally-engaged staff member colleagues says she hates wearing them because they are too tight. Someone once observed that they “cover everything and hide nothing.”  Just now I witnessed a little wardrobe trick that shows how one person gets hers tight enough.

Nice dress. How’s you get it to fit so well?


“Easy. A little help from my reliable friend…


…Miss Binder Clip.”

I got to diplomat in Chinese

The U.S. Consulate recently held a small reception for the diplomats who work in the Chinese consulate.  Several officers at post speak Chinese, and we were recruited to be part of the reception team. The evening was definitely work, not play. It was what we call a “representational event,” meaning that it was a party, but our job was to be the host, not a guest.

Still, it was a fun evening.  I like to schmooze. Plus, my Chinese is much better than my Vietnamese, and diplomatting in a language that I’m comfortable in felt great.  Plus we had a nice meal, al fresco, overlooking the beautiful Ho Chi Minh City skyline.

My job usually isn’t elegant and glamorous,. but sometimes I get a small perk.