Easy like a Sunday morning

Yes. I mean it like the Faith No More song. Because it is a Sunday. Even though it is not morning anymore. But what the hell, my curtains are drawn and there’s oriental music drifting in from someplace outside and I am all alone, and I could pretend it is any time of the day I want to.

When we first came here, I couldn’t really take all the noise from the drilling and welding from the nearby construction site, not to mention the massive crane with six humongous lights glaring at my face all night long whenever I made the novice blunder of not drawing the curtains before going off to sleep. I wished they would take a break and give me mine. Seriously! It doesn’t matter if it is three in the morning or ten at night. These people work *all* the time! Add to that the Bahn Cuon sellers who cycle around the locality with a recorded message blaring from their speakers searching for buyers way past midnight and I was ready to scream out loud and pull my hair. Whatever’s left of it, I mean. Most of it is gone, anyway, thanks to the water here. But well, now, I am all zen. Even though it is mostly because of forty-five minutes of foam bath and scented candles and relaxing music, everyday. I still toss and turn in bed each night wishing for silence or at least, more “night-like” sounds, but I have accepted all the noise and disturbance as a part of life out here. Just like I have started to accept everything else.

So what do I really know about this place after nearly three weeks? Not much, but enough to just get by. Plus, there’s always the blessed internet and my best friend, Google. Starting from where to get a haircut to where to find dumplings, I have obsessively scanned reviews and comments and replies to those reviews and comments. I had deliberately refrained from reading about Hanoi before coming here, hoping to form my own opinion without it being affected by anything or anyone else, and I am glad I did that. At least I got to find out most of the things on my own.

Like the fact that Hanoians love their karaoke. I think every sixth building has a karaoke bar in it. There are three bars in my street itself and I can see at least five more from my bedroom window. They also love their foot massages, by the way. Maybe more than karaoke if the number of massage parlors in my street is anything to go by. And they love to display everything in flashy neon lights. From signboards screaming out names of shops to string lights draped on trees, it is all very showy and festive. And I like how I can almost hear the streets sing “Look at me! Look at me!” to me. Wedding photography is a hot thing out here, like I already mentioned. It is not unusual to see brides in white flowing gowns and grooms in white suits giving dramatic poses in public locations while the photographer clicks away, jostling passersby if he has to. And oh, these people love their bikes. From teenagers to office goers to heavily pregnant women (honest!), they all prefer traveling in bikes than in cars. Even in my belly dancing class I must be the pampered housewife who takes a cab to and from the class while the other girls put on their smart helmets and take out their chic bikes and “vroooom” off. Which reminds me, yes I joined belly dancing class. And they play Bollywood songs during the warm-up sessions. Tiny packets of bliss these people keep sending my way, I tell you.

I think this place is starting to grow on me, you know. Each night when the husband and I go out for our post-dinner walk, I see people sitting on low stools on the pavement, enjoying their snacks and fruit juices and cut fruits, and I see friends chilling and chatting and laughing, and I feel a pang of homesickness. I am immediately drifted to my university campus, surrounded by all my favorite people, singing and cracking jokes and talking about everything under the sun. But then a crisp fresh scent floats to me in the pleasant autumn breeze and I am brought back to the streets turned orange due to the streetlights, and I realize the streets are finally starting to look familiar. And each time I open the door to our house, I finally feel I am home.

Which brings me back to where I started. It is easy, just like a Sunday morning. This whole falling in love with this new place and accepting the homesickness as a bittersweet accessory. Sometimes all it takes is a good song, a long foam bath, and siphoning off all the thoughts to an unnecessary blog post.

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