Hanoi, 2002. I have so little time in Hanoi on this trip. It is getting dark out and I have only a little time to do some shopping before going to dinner with my group. As I walk out of my hotel I look for a cyclo. None around! Maybe they are around the corner of the hotel. None! I wait at the curb for one to appear. That is when I meet the Dreamer! He is a young Vietnamese man. He says "Hello. How are you?" in english to me. I know right away he wishes to practice his english with me. He has learned it on his own but needs to hear how english is spoken by an english speaker. He comes from a farm family about two hours drive from Hanoi. When he came to Hanoi life was very hard. He had a hard time finding any work in the city. A struggle just to make money for a place to sleep and food to eat. Today, he works in a hotel. The money is not bad but he wants still a better job. He works at night and goes to school during the day. I tell him that is good. Keep moving ahead. A nice person. Time went on and we talk and talk. I never made it to my shopping trip. I know a lot about this stranger. Not long ago in America, most people lived on farms. With new machines, family farms became harder to make a profit. Boys and girls dream of going to the city to find a good job so that their lives would be better and to help the family. And so the young people became the engine that made America move ahead. Some did well. Some did not. Around the world Dreamers think of America as the big city. The streets are paved with gold. All they have to do is get there and they will be rich! Alas, in America as in Hanoi, it takes a long time and much hard work to get ahead and only a few will be rich. As we ready to leave the hotel for home the next night, my friend, the Dreamer is there to say goodby. I tell him that when I see him again he will have a much better job. And I tell him that I believe in him. Long, long ago I was young. I too was a Dreamer. Some dreams came true and some not. All in all I've had a good life! Oh! When I was nineteen I dreamed of seeing a Vietnam in peace, where happy, healthy people lived. I never, ever thought this Dream would come true yet there I was, on a Hanoi street talking to a young man. Yes, my friend, Dreams do come true!
. . . Jim
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