I’d started this post four days ago, and from then and now, it seems like million hours have gone by. And while I had started writing because I wanted to hold on to those moments, I am now posting the draft along with this more for my sake than for anything else. Just so I never forget.
There. I said it.
Yes, we’ve leaving. Something that we had been planning for quite some time now, and something that suddenly is now just two days away. And even as I sit here writing what looks like my last blog post from Vietnam, I remember my very first day here. And how I sat right here, writing about my wind chimes and my new house and the new country and what not. Seven months have gone by, and I have moaned and wailed about how difficult life is out here at times, and now suddenly, the prospect of leaving this place and never coming back makes me a little sad.
While I had planned on documenting everything that I witnessed in this amazingly interesting country, I now realize (a little too late) that in these seven months I have been sporadic at best when it comes to writing. I wanted to write about the rice hats and the women wearing rice hats selling fruits and vegetables on baskets slung across their shoulders. I wanted to write about the crazy traffic here, how motorbikes reign supreme on the topmost place in the traffic hierarchy, and about cars that keep moving lopsided on pavements and dividers, traffic rules and sometimes even laws of physics be damned. I wanted to write about exotic fruits I had never seen before, leave alone taste, and I meant to dedicate a whole separate post on rambutans and longans and dragon fruits and mangosteens. I meant to paint the prettiest picture ever of the hustling bustling night market and the colorful wares one gets to buy there, and I meant to write about silk scarfs and paper filigree paintings and tea cups that looked like they belonged to a doll set instead of the center table. I meant well, I did. But somewhere between meaning to do it and actually doing it, while waiting for a “right” moment to do it, time passed me by. And here I am, past waiting for the right words to come to me, relying on nothing but a good memory to paint those pictures I had meant to.
Regret is sad, I see. It is also pointless. And now as I sit here, while the house starts looking more and more like the aftermath of a hurricane, all I can think of is the people, the wonderful people I met here. From amazingly helpful Ms Thao, who not only taught me all the Vietnamese I know, but also literally took my hands and taught me to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the wet market, to my students during CELTA, who still keep in touch with me, and make me feel loved and oh so special. From doting Trang Chi, who made me realize that friendship knows no boundaries of age or country of origin and Thanh, who introduced me to food I had never known I would love, leave alone eat, to Hai Anh and his wife, who have helped us with everything, starting from the most trivial, like getting us a cab to the airport to the most important, like getting me medicine when I was down with a terrible cold. And how can I forget Quynh, the young girl who had to work at our place to help pay for her tuition at the university; who brought me Vietnamese fruits and drinks to help me know them better; who sat and talked with me about herself and her family and at one point got so overwhelmed that she started talking in Vietnamese despite knowing I wouldn’t understand any of it.
This is where I had stopped the other day, more because I couldn’t find the right way to word the state of my mind than because I had the grueling task of packing a whole house into boxes. It’s been four days, and I am no longer in Vietnam. I don’t know if ever I will be going back, but what I do know is that the place has a way of creeping into your heart, and making space for itself, so that some part of my heart will always crave for the home that I had called my own for the last seven months.
Someday I will write about the events that happened in the four days. Someday I will talk about how everything that could have gone wrong went wrong during those last days. Someday I will come to accept that I am not going back to that place again, and that it is no longer my home anymore. But today is not that day. For today, I put my hand upon my heart and thank the fates that gave me the gift of Vietnam. And the friendships that I made there.