17 Jan This Is It
We’re half way through our time in Hanoi and there are just 18 weeks of the semester left before we leave Vietnam – how did that happen? I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions but this has led me to a startling realisation. In short, our experience here, which seemed to stretch onwards forever when we first arrived, now feels like it’s running out fast. This is it – we have just a few months left of our life in Vietnam and we need to make the most of it.
If you’re heading to Vietnam then you’ll probably need an invitation letter for your Visa On Arrival, we recommend Vietnam Visa as they provide a professional, efficient and transparent service.
Taking Things for Granted
Last weekend we had dinner with a British couple, Hannah and Ben, who have just arrived in Hanoi to begin their own adventure teaching in this crazy city. While we chatted to them over delicious Mexican food about our life here, I realised just how far we’ve come since we arrived in Hanoi in August. Back then we had no idea about English teaching, Vietnamese public schools, where to buy our groceries, which restaurants to visit and how to ride a motorbike. However, as we answered their questions and related some of our teaching tales, I realised just how much we’ve achieved in the last few months. The path may have been a bit rocky at times, but somehow we’ve built a life here – a very busy life.
In fact, our lives have been pretty much ruled by our jobs and although we’ve tried our hardest to enjoy Hanoi and get out and explore Vietnam, the reality is that our waking hours are usually spent either working or lesson planning. In the time left over we’re often too exhausted to do much more than lie at home on the sofa or wander into the Old Quarter for a massage. Great for our bank balance, which is increasing fast, not great for our wellbeing. This needs to change.
Making the Most of our Time in Vietnam
Our recent trip to Cat Ba Island reminded me of how beautiful and diverse Vietnam is. There’s so much more to see beyond Hanoi and although we’ve visited some of the main hotspots like Hoi An, Dalat and Ho Chi Minh City, I feel that we’ve barely scratched the surface of this incredible country. We need to make the most of our meagre school holiday allowance and see as much as we can over the next four months.
With that in mind, we’ve now booked train tickets to Sapa for the TET holiday in February. We have two friends coming over from England and we’re excited to show them around Hanoi and then explore the rice terraces of Sapa with them. We’re also researching trips to take over a National Holiday week in April and when we finish our teaching contracts in May.
Most importantly, I’m trying to make the most of daily life. How many of us struggle to appreciate the now and instead dwell on the past or live for the future, counting down the days till our next break, holiday or adventure? I know that I find it incredibly hard to really live in the present and it’s something I’m determined to work on doing this year.
I should make the most of all my favourite classes and appreciate every smile, scream and Hello Teacher! I should try not to let a rubbish lesson get me down and learn not to stress over things that go wrong. I should make the effort to hang out with the other teachers more, rather than collapsing on the sofa on a Friday night. I should walk as many of Hanoi’s streets as possible, discover new corners of the city, sit in more cafes, re-visit the museums and make time to just soak in the crazy Hanoi-ness of it all because this is it, the last few months of our time in Vietnam.
Do you struggle to live in the moment?