Monday, January 7, 2013

Entering the third year

Oftentimes I have something I think I should blog about, but don't get round to it because I don't have a picture available just now right this second. But then months go by and never a word is peeped.

It is now January 2013 - we have been here for 2 years and 3 weeks already.  Far from the our original position of 'stay one year and see how we like it' - we've moved on to 'stay one more year and see how we like it'.  Huh.  They seem pretty the same, when I write it down like that....

Entering the third year does feel a bit different to how it felt entering the second year.  We are definitely settled now. I can say confidently that we know how to live in Vietnam, and a lot of things that might have bothered us once - well, they still bother us, but perhaps we deal with it a bit better, or something.

Some things bother me now that didn't used to bother me quite so much - I used to be charmed by all the little kids yelling 'HEY-LO!' at me on the street - but now, sadly enough, I get sick of it.  I've been here so long now that I feel like I ought to blend in, but of course I'm just as conspicuous as I always was.

I used to sort of enjoy my xe om ride to work, but now I hate it with a deep resentment.  It's ok in the morning, because nobody is in a rush to get work in the morning, so the traffic is fine.  But at night time, everybody is in a rush to get home, so everybody takes more risks, and the roads are so much more dangerous. I often get little bumps or scratches, but thankfully Mr D is careful and so far we haven't taken a spill - I've even managed to avoid burning my leg (touch wood!).

I think we're reasonably acclimatised - I can comfortably wear jeans most days - but it's still hot.  Part of acclimatisation is just learning when it's a good idea to go outdoors, and when it's not.

We both still get sick all the time.  I don't know if our immune systems will ever catch up to Vietnam. The food poisoning is a constant battle - even good restaurants are sometimes dirty...   But worse are the respiratory infections.  We've never had so many colds and flus and sinus infections. Air conditioning is a factor - and so is general air pollution.  But most of it is simply the fact that there are so many viruses here, and the population is so dense, and we have no immunity - we are still foreigners.

But it's not all doom and gloom.  The great thing about being here has been the people we have met.  We finally do have actual friends - and enough of them that I think we could say we have social lives - independently of each other, too. We have been so blessed to have so many visitors. We've met amazing, interesting, talented people that I think we wouldn't meet or get to know so well if we had just stayed at home.  We have a fairly open door policy for travellers - if you know us and you're in town, then give us a call and we'll give you a bed.  Having people to stay forces us to look at this amazing city through a new lens each time as we show people around.  We are proud to be part of Saigon - in all its filthy bloom.

Our jobs are fabulous.  I am so lucky to have the opportunity to do work that interests me, and that I'm good at, and with people I like.  How many of you can say the same? 

And the travel!  Bangkok is in our neighbourhood - in fact we're off there again this weekend. We've been all over Asia the last couple of years, and we're not done yet. We haven't planned our trips for 2013 yet, apart from a few weeks back home in February - but it's wonderful to be able to pick exotic looking places off the map, and just go if we want to. 

I don't really have any resolutions for the third year.  Maybe to write some more here?  My perspective has changed a lot since those early days, but that doesn't mean there's not still some interesting things to say.


  1. Keep up the writing, I really enjoy your blogs
    Mrs Robyn

  2. I found your blog through the expat forum. Really enjoy your humor. :)