Most of my work for National Geographic came from ideas I pitched to the magazine. In 1994, as the twentieth anniversary of the United States leaving Vietnam approached, I pitched a story on Saigon as a way to mark this historic milestone. My father, career Navy enlisted, served twice in Vietnam; his last tour in 1973 was in Saigon as US forces started to close down their participation. Vietnam was beginning an economic transformation that would dramatically reshape the country, even as it retained a communist political system. Younger people wanted to emulate Western styles. My translator found Tran Kim Quy, a young woman working in the central market, who was about to get married and dressed in a Western-style gown. Following local tradition, she visited the house of her husband, where her new grandmother-in-law kept a sharp eye out for interlopers who might want to participate in this gathering.