Part 1

Visiting relatives

Do you often visit your relatives?

Once in a while. My parents do not have many siblings, so I don’t have a lot of cousins to visit. Also, owing to my busy schedule, I can only pay a visit to my relatives every two to three months.

What do you do when you visit your relatives?

Mostly updating what’s going on in their lives and keeping them in the loop. I am often asked to talk about my grades, future career or sometimes even my girlfriends, which can be uncomfortable at times.

Is this important to visit relatives regularly?

Yes, having some bonding time with relatives is important, especially in an Eastern country like Vietnam where people are collectivists and have a strong sense of community. It is also a way to show respect to older generations.


Do you like sharing with others?

Yeah. I share with my close friends funny stories or memes I found on Facebook on a regular basis. It is my way of bonding with friends.

What kinds of things do people not want to share?

Probably personal matters like health or financial issues because many people hate receiving sympathy. Also, to me, money is something that I will never share with others.

Do you think people will share their cars with each other in the future?

Sure, why not? I mean we can reduce the cost and have free company, right? I also heard that robots will drive cars in the future, and if that’s the case, it will be even easier to share a car.

Part 2

Describe something special you took home from a tourist attraction
• What it was
• When you bought it
• Where you bought it
and explain why you think it was special.


Let me tell you about the time I visited Namsan Tower, a famous tourist attraction in Seoul, Korea and took something really important home.

I visited Seoul for seven days during last year’s winter with my mom and brother. Although we tried a lot of delicious food and saw a lot of beautiful scenery, I was looking forward to the Namsan trip the most in order to accomplish a secret mission. Namsan tower
is famous for the ‘tree of love”, a designated area around the base of the tower where couples can publicly declare their eternal love by placing love locks. My girlfriend, who is a hopeless romantic and a huge K-drama fan, left there a pink, heart-shaped lovelock with our names on it a couple of months ago. My mission was to retrieve it and bring it back to her as a proof that we were meant to be.

However, I was at a loss for words when I saw thousands of lovelocks of different shapes and sizes, scattered around the “Tree of love”. My brother and I spent hours searching but there was no sliver of hope. We even had to video call my girlfriend to ask for more directions, but all of our effort was in vain. I gave up two hours later since the tower was closed and ended up buying a new lock back home for my girl, unreluctantly bursting her bubble of a fairy tale love story.

So the lovelock was really special to me just because of the funny story behind it. That’s all.


Part 3

What souvenirs do people buy from tourist attractions?

That’s a long list. From my experience, Westerners like to bring back home ornaments, postcards or mugs, while people from Eastern countries like to buy food. My mom, for example, often buys local specialties where she visits like seafood or fruits of the places she visits, which are more expensive than a T-shirt , for sure. This is because she must share the souvenirs with our relatives and neighbors, given the Vietnamese strong
sense of community.

Why do people like to take photos while travelling?

My initial thought was to capture the moments and happy memories to impress our future self when we revisit these pictures. But now I think about it, it seems to be far from reality. Most people now take photos to post on social networking sites and impress their online followers. A volunteer trip to an African village can totally change a Facebook’s profile picture. I’m not a big fan of this virtual lifestyle, though.

Is this good that locals sell things to tourists?

Everything has pros and cons. The advantages of selling local goods is that it will help promote economic growth by creating more jobs, especially for underdeveloped areas. Also, this will help preserve traditional values and encourage cultural interactionsHowever, some tourist attractions are selling overpriced products which creates a bad image amongst international tourists, so overall, I believe this is a positive development if managed properly.

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