Expressive Endeavors

living in joyful & kind inspiration.


Marina from Argentina

Tell me about yourself.

I’m 23 years old, from Buenos Aires Argentina. I study psychology and work in the afternoon and evening. I’m a traveler, I love animals, I’m interested in people. For my family, I moved out right after high school. It forced me to have the tools to face life. I have strong opinions and I can’t look away when something bothers me. It can be really difficult to move out.

Tell me about your country.

It’s a mess. Nothing ever works, but we’re very happy. We’re so used to things not working, so we don’t stress about it. Things never work out but you’ll find your way. There are so many complaints – there’s a lot of corruption, but nobody can say bad things. It’s nice to not stress, but that’s also the reason for no progress. We don’t worry about it. It’s the difference between us and Germany. There, they work hard to fix their problems. But for Argentinians, we love our country. When traveling, if we find another person from Argentina in the world, it’s an instant bond. We are very passionate about everything – everything is life or death, love or hate.

What are some stereotypes people in your country have of the USA?

So big! Stereotypes – the fat guy or redneck with a gun, haha. I think the USA is very progressive with rights, like human rights, gay rights, etc. I think it’s one of the best countries for women. We also have the stereotype of Americans as workaholics. But we love the USA, and consider Miami is the capital of Latin America. We hate that you call yourself “Americans.” We are Americans too!! America is a continent, not just your country. Another stereotype – you think you’re the center of everything. I think it must be strange to be so exposed. Like all the world knows everything that happens in your country and everyone has an opinion. Isn’t that a strange feeling? For us, not many people care, and that’s okay.

Also – your drinking age! What is with that? So stupid.

What is it like to be a woman here?

It’s a fighting moment!! It’s really not good, but getting better, I think.
All the women I know are constantly afraid of human trafficking. It is so real and it is every single day. It’s not normal for it to be so common. Many people I know, including myself, have survived kidnapping attempts. Everyone knows someone who has gone through that. My friends and I all track each other using “Find my Friends” app. We always call each other when we get home and take this very seriously.

There’s a silence culture around violence against women. Lots of victim blaming. But now there’s a new movement called “Ni una menos” which means “not one woman less.” It was started in Argentina but is now in many countries. For every death of a woman, we march. We fight the silence culture and give women and victims a voice. There’s a new feeling of sisterhood.

What is something a mother/aunt/grandmother figure taught you?

No . . . I made myself. I have the fighting spirit that makes me want to work for injustice. I want to work for people without a voice. I cannot stand it.

I have women I admire, but not in my family. But women fighters inspire me. They can fight to do what they want. I admire a lot of teachers. I have had teachers who really helped me in the past, they gave me a strong model.

Mai from Vietnam

Tell me about yourself.
I’m happy, single, 33-years old. Grew up in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). I studied educational systems, but I’m a tour guide for my passion. My family was strongly involved in the war. My father worked for South Vietnam government/the Americans, and my mother’s family sided with the North. My father had the chance to go to America after the war, because of his help to the Americans, but he stayed for love of my mother. He spent many years in a re-education camp. My family and others that were on the losing side of the war still face discrimination. Young citizens in communist Vietnam are raised to be very proud. Now in modern Vietnam I have the chance to meet travelers. I feel very connected to Americans. And I like to support women – on my tours I try to bring tourists to help support women businesses.

Tell me about your county.
Vietnam has a very interesting history. There are 54 ethnic groups. We have a strategic location on the map with the sea. There is lots of tourism and we have famous food. Our people have a different character, we are very adaptable and survive. Being so adaptable helps the economy.

What are some stereotypes people in Vietnam have of the USA?
I think the USA has independence and freedom to do what you want.

The US didn’t colonize. They tried their best to keep their world in order. There was controversy, but give it time. During the war, most Vietnamese really did not understand why the USA was so against communism. We only understood after the war was over, and real communism began. Many people here criticize the US, but in their dream they want to go there.

Before the election, we were all praying for Hillary to win. Every Vietnamese saves their money in US dollars, then changes to Vietnamese dong later. It’s more stable and secure. So we care very much about the US President Trump says crazy things. Crazy things about women! It’s an American right to do that – nobody else {no other leader} in the world could do that and get away with it. No matter who is the president, Vietnam will make sure we have a strategic friendship with the USA.

What is it like to be a woman here?
There are more jobs for women in Vietnam than in the USA.

Women have to work very hard. It’s the 2nd job of the woman to be a mother and a babysitter to her husband. We believe that is our job. Men now have more awareness about sharing jobs, but it’s still for the woman mostly.

In Vietnam, for every 100 men there are 112 women. So women have more options and power, since there are more of us now. The big tour company I work for has only women working there. But men can go higher. Sometimes I feel down because if I were male I would have more options. But I want to just do my best. We believe in karma, so we don’t hold a grudge. For example, the Vietnam war we believe is karma for something prior. So no animosity for the Americans or French.

What is something a mother/aunt/grandmother figure taught you?
My mom told me to stand on my own legs and be independent.