Sunday, May 9, 2010

Making moments in Hanoi...

It's been really hot this past week. It started Monday I think and progressively got worse until it reached a point of insanity: the hot weather is really humid and my hair either sticks to my face or just gives up and flies around my head like feathery craziness. The dust of the city glues itself to the sweat on my skin all day long and no matter how many showers I take I just get sticky and filthy again after 5 minutes in the street. Our house gets really hot, and hotter as you go up the stairs. Our room is on the top floor and I swear it is the hottest room in the house. We don't have AC in there (yet, but we've found a good deal on one and we're getting it installed next week) and at the moment its hard to breathe throughout the night, even with the fan placed at the foot of the bed, staring right at us on maximum power.

The good thing about this heat wave though - the only good thing - is that the sun is out. After 4 grey morose months, we now feel excited from first thing in the morning to see the rays of suns shining through the windows all over the house... you know the feeling, it just makes you want to be out all the time, sunbathing or sipping ice tea near water points.

But here's the thing: all this brightness and resulting longing to be outside is happening right when Dan and I both have to do a lot of work from home. He's studying for his Uni degree by correspondence, and I am working on a project from work which involves up to 30 hours a week of work face to face to my laptop. How frustrating, spending such bright days closed in with the windows shut to try and block some of the oven-like hot air from coming in. We work hard and don't play, at least it's what it's felt like this week.

So yesterday, we decided to organise our time better to make the most out of the fact that we are indeed working from home, which is supposed to be a great thing. So after 3 hours of teaching in the morning followed by a visit to the bank, a lunch break searching for AC in the busy city and an intense two hours Vietnamese lesson at home, it was 4pm, we were exhausted and it seemed that the day could pretty much be over for us. But we mustered what was left of our energy and went to an outside swimming pool overlooking the lake, had a nice swim, a quiet moment of reading and a couple of drinks while the sun was setting down. So relaxing. (Thang Loi swimming pool overlooking West lake, 5 mns from home)

We decided to try and do something like this everyday. It was still nice and warm in the evening so from the swimming pool we drove to a local restaurant where tables are set in an outside garden with a little river, and had fresh tuna nicoise salads and lemon juice. We played games and laughed with the staff, it was only us two in the garden. We didn't want to go home but today we both started lessons at 8am so going home to bed was not optional. It was amazing though, how little things like this can improve your overall impression of the day. From now on, moments like that will be a must, work or no work, there's always room to make time.
We applied this new principle as soon as tonight after classes, where instead of driving straight home to pack and organise our trip (we're setting off to Kuala Lumpur first thing tomorrow morning) we stopped at an improvised bamboo style cafe on the shore of West lake and shared a beer and a lemon juice, our feet up on the railing surrounding the lake, watching people bathe in the sunset and the beautiful lightnings in the sky, like fireworks. It was only an hour but now I feel relaxed instead of stressed and I don't even care that I'm not packed yet!


  1. Hi Dan:

    We thought it would be a perfect fit our InterExpat site: and it is now searchable through the blog search on the website; we hope it will bring quality traffic to your interesting blog.

    It would be great if you could link back to us as well to let people know about this new website :)

    Simple link or if you prefer you’ll find a series of more colorful widgets - stickers on this page as well

    (the search results page opens in new browser window so your readers will stay on your blog even if they use the widget.)

    I hope the blog search will allow for a better way to share the local experience!

    Let me know if you need anything

    Kind regards


  2. It's funny because I'm soooooo happy that it finally feels like fall here in Sydney! What are you guys up to in KL?

  3. Celine
    What a beautiful photo at the top - its gorgeous.

    Looking forward to seeing you in January.