Sunday, August 8, 2010

One year in Vietnam

Well how quickly was that! A year, living and breathing Vietnamese life, has past us by and we are left with the re-occurring question; where does the time go? It is a bit scary, to be honest, to find another year passing by but if we sit back and take in what we have experienced and learnt we can start to appreciate our little adventure as an overwhelming success.

We have seen, experienced and achieved many things over the year and I personally don't regret a second of it. Firstly, we have learnt to be teachers and I think good ones at that. We have built great relationships with many schools, some who are asking for us to return as soon as we finish our holiday. We have bonded with our students and learnt a great deal about Vietnamese culture from them. Some of our adult students have become great friends and we have enjoyed countless nights eating and drinking in the Vietnamese way.

We have mastered, I use this term loosely, how to ride a motorbike in Hanoi. The motorbike is the heartbeat of the city and once you are riding with confidence you feel like a local. We have visited all the famous, and not so famous, sites and know and understand the city streets well.

I have eaten and tried all the weird and unusual foods of Vietnam which has been an experience in itself. We have also eaten all the local speciality dishes and can order Vietnamese food with ease. This was helped dramatically by our Vietnamese lessons which we have once a week and now Celine (me not so much) can have basic but extended conversations with the Vietnamese. We know a heap of vocabulary but the pronunciation is a killer.

We have travelled to Mai Chau, Ninh Binh, Haiphong, Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island, Sapa, Thai Binh, Ba Be Lake and will soon to a cross country motorbike trip taking in the rest of Vietnam. We have also had holidays in Thailand and Malaysia.

We have lived with a great Vietnamese family who welcomed us into their home and showed us many things. The Grandma of the house lived through the war, was given an award for bravery and personally met Ho Chi Minh. We have also lived in 3 other houses/apartments over the year; all in different areas of town.

I have been to a Vietnamese wedding and dressed up as Santa for 1,200 kids. Celine has started Kung Fu and explored traditional medicine. I have improved my French and had a chance to read some interesting books on Vietnam. I have started University again and even had a few travel writing articles published.

It has been a great year; one of discovery and change. The people and experiences we have I think help shape your character and it has been truly rewarding. The above are just a few things we have done in our year. We are starting to think of the next challenge and have a few ideas in mind. We have a great cross country trip planned for September and have a number of things to do before we will be completely satisfied with our stay here but all things considered, it has been an awesome year.

For some awesome photo's of our year in Vietnam CLICK HERE

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