What a year! I literary cannot count my blessings, I can only be grateful for the incredible moments, be they tough or extraordinary! It was a year full of travelling, adapting, growing, learning, following, and leading. Also a year going deeper within with each step that I was making, with each decision that I was taking, and every relationship that I was going into.
Vietnam- Life in the city:
I got a job as an English teacher in Hanoi for a period of 6 months. This is where the adventure began. I took a 18 h flight from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the UK to Hanoi, Vietnam. This was the first time I was going to an Asian country, so I was quite excited. The reality of being in Vietnam is quite different from the expectations. Wait, I din’t have any expectations, but as I am saying the reality of daily life in Hanoi is quite extraordinary. All the smells, all the noise, all the motorbikes, all the unexpected things that can come your way from any direction. People stopping you on the street and wanting to take photos with you, as well as trying to practice their English, was indeed an overwhelming experience. One of the most impressive/culture shock things for me was how things, people, shops, restaurants, karaoke bars, shopping stalls, animals, motorbikes, cars, temples, etc., can be in such a close proximity to each other. On top of that, it was very interesting experience to walk long distances in the city, as there are no sidewalks. Therefore, one has to walk on the street with hundreds of motorbikes passing by literary on inches next to you- this is one of the moments when you realise how little you control in your environment, as a motorbike can hit you at any second. Here are some photos of the urban environment:
Vietnam- teaching English:
I don’t know how are children in other places, but one thing I realised about Vietnamese kids is that they are full of energy, so one has to quickly adapt to their pace, or else one can get overwhelmed really quickly and eventually burn out. Due to my lack of experience, I burned out literary on the first couple of days. I got really sick with high fever. Anyhow, due to my blessings and the kindness of my colleagues, I was able to overcome the disease in a few days. I had to adapt quickly to the kids and the most important thing that they taught me, was to actually go with the flow, as people say, and be responsive to what children like and dislike. The easiest way for me, I realised, was to adapt an accepting attitude, in the sense, that whatever was going on in the class, I would just accept and don’t try to change anything about it. It took me a little while to actually become practical in terms of this principle, but once I understood how to relate to the little humans, teaching became way way easier. Here are some photos of my colleagues and students:
Vietnam- Natural Beauties:
One thing is certain- Vietnam has one of the most beautiful landscapes and natural beauties that I have ever experienced and seen. Moreover, it is a country with beautiful beaches and coastal cities, such as Da Nang, UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Ha Long Bay, caves and jungles, rice fields, mountains, lakes, and natural parks. Well, Vietnam has it all in plenty. Again, I was blessed to go hike, swim, travel, and drive in all of these natural sites. Life somehow becomes a gift at every step, when you travel so much, in so little time, and when you change your environment so many times.Every month, or every few weeks, when I could take a few days off, me and my friends, would go on some adventure together, exploring and learning about this amazing country and culture. You can look at the photos below, just to get a taste of it all: