Thank you for your interest in my life. I arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam in November 2009 to a world vastly different than anything I had ever known, and I cannot say that I was not more than a little afraid at the prospect of a new language, a new culture, and a new life. After nearly a year, my struggle to adapt, progressively, and at times painfully gave way to the blossoming of a genuine enthusiasm for the fast paced, ever-evolving city that I am now proud, and at times sentimental, to call home.

Currently, I am fascinated by the contemporary arts scene saturating the downtown city center. Dozens of art galleries, cultural spaces, and exhibit halls lie within mere walking distance from one another. Painters, writers, and connoisseurs socialize in the varied languages of artistic expression. The 21st century seems to clash strongly and at the same time fit perfectly with ancient temples and soviet-era monuments. An urban landscape of colonial architecture surrounding deep green lakes make for a timeless experience that requires no effort to treasure. I enjoy the freedom granted to me by my Honda motorbike, the lurch of the machine as I shift gears, the loud and constant hum of the engine and the current of vehicles that carry me away to new adventures every day.

"The West Lake Review" is dedicated to the evolution of art, literature, and culture in Vietnam. I hope that through my experiences you will also come to know and understand just enough to think upon Hanoi with fondness.

Zac Herman
Hanoi, Vietnam, 2011