Published: May 9th 2012May 9th 2012
Shadows in love
Time to say goodbye. As so many times in the last years I will have to move on once more. This time my goodbye goes to Hue city, the former imperial capital of Vietnam where I have spent more than a year working for a local university.
When I first came here I did not know that my girlfriend (at the time working here) would have to leave soon for a PhD in Hong Kong and was quite suprised when she did, but now I will join her for the same reason in the Special Administrative Region. When she left another good friend of mine joined me here from India and, all in all I did not have difficulties with the place.
Of course the Vietnamese culture is almost impossible for a Westerner to comprehend. The total inexistence of privacy, very basic levels of politeness, obsession for football at 5am, karaoke in the evening, weddings all year long, over-the-top noise level of everything around you and ongoing struggle for a fair price can be exhausting and frustrating at times. A language which thanks to 7 different tones takes years to master does not help with adapting. Anyway, Vietnam has
The worlds most anticapitalist ATM
also given me lots and lots of great experiences.
I know I will miss the amazing food, long coffee brakes, mayhem motorbike tours, endless green rice paddies and amazing coastline of this still relatively unknown country. Furthermore, THH has helped me a lot with getting used to the place. Our study friend from Brazil moved to Hue shortly after and so we temporarily reunited in our Master Study friends group from the times in the Netherlands. Even if I have not been the most social person during this year (I am quite tired of expat communities after years in these circles), I have met a few people which I will for sure keep in my life.
When you conclude an experience, I guess you should have learned something from it. It is not always easy to summarize what Vietnam has meant to me and what it has added to my life. Some of the things which I have learned I might discover only when I move to another context, but I am sure Hue has given me a lot.
The splendor of the ancient tombs and citadel of Hue, the insanity of the Big C Shopping Mall,
Riding and riding
the smells, sounds, lights, colours of Vietnam, the madness of driving a scooter in knee-deep water during the rainy season, the feeling that time is standing still when you watch your coffee slowly dropping from the filter, the self-control required to handle classes of almost 100 students at the time, the amazing moments I have shared with my girlfriend, the endless nights playing pool with my friends and most of all... the feeling that in the hustle and bustle the whole country runs anyway in slow-motion.
Whenever I leave a place it gives me a little feeling of sadness while also a new inspiration to move on and discover more. Vietnam for sure has left a deep impression in my mind and I have learned a lot during this year.
Now it is time to go back to my hometown for a month and then move on to Hong Kong for my PhD... where I will reunite with my girl and will start all over again... with a little bit of Vietnam in my heart.
There are more photos below