So Happiness to Meet You

By Karin Esterhammer
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Coming July 2017

Paperback | $16
ISBN 978-1-938849-97-8

ebook | $9.99
ISBN 978-1-938849-98-5

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Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam

In 2008, Karin Esterhammer was jolted awake from the American dream when she lost her longtime job in a massive layoff. Saddled with credit-card debt, a self-employed (read: non-earning) husband, car loans, and a mortgage as big as the GDP of Liechtenstein, she convinced her husband to sell nearly everything they owned and move with their autistic eight-year-old son to Vietnam.In a country where you can get a great meal for eighty-five cents, she figured they could get jobs teaching English, live frugally, and ride out the recession. She figured they’d return home in a year with cash in the bank. She figured the global economic meltdown wouldn’t touch them in Vietnam.

She figured wrong.

The only housing they could afford was a nine-foot-wide back-alley house in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s poorest districts, where neighbors unabashedly stared into windows, generously shared their barbecued rat, and kept cockroaches for luck. The money issues didn’t go away, and pretty soon they couldn’t afford to go home even if they wanted to.

Yet something unforeseen happened: They ended up only too happy to be stranded in Vietnam. Their new neighbors became like family, and these new friends helped Karin find joy without Western trappings. Even hot water.

In the great tradition of Bill Bryson and J. Maarten Troost, So Happiness to Meet You is a captivating travel memoir that’s as rich in heart as it is in vivid, hilarious observations about Karin’s life in one of the world’s most fascinating places.

About the Author

Karin Esterhammer is a travel writer whose work has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, Orlando Sentinel, The Standard—China’s Business Newspaper, and more. Her diary-style article in the Los Angeles Times about the move to Vietnam earned more letters to the editor than any travel story the paper had ever published. Karin has also had essays published in the Chocolate for a Woman’s Soul series, and she once won the grand prize in a romance essay contest for Harlequin Books. After their years in Vietnam, Karin and her family are now living again in Los Angeles.

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