December 12 marks the two-year anniversary of Bagheera and Mowgli packing up our bags and saying a tearful farewell to our home of over a year.
Before leaving Southeast Asia, we had one last hurrah in Thailand. It included a stop in Bangkok where we toured the beautiful palace and adjoining wat, a long bus ride north to Chiang Mai for some zen and a 2-day meditation at Monk Chat, and crossing the country one more time to end our vacation on the beaches of Ko Chang. The trip included a near crumbling of Thai democracy upon our initial arrival in Bangkok, buying 7Eleven food for a dog, a monkey stealing Bagheera’s coconut from beside her on the beach, and chartering a sleepy chauffeur to drive us from Ko Chang to the Bangkok airport the morning of our flight so we could spend an extra day and a half on the beach.
We returned to HCMC to spend a couple of days with Tammy who so graciously hosted us and put up our extra luggage while we were travelling and to say goodbye to our life.
We had a farewell committee of 4 of our favourite Vietnamese teaching assistants waiting for us at the airport. It was the strangest feeling. Due to the nature of the Vietnamese government, our friends had to wait on the opposite side of a barrier while only those who had passports and boarding passes were allowed to enter the airport. I will never forget the image of their faces as we looked over our shoulders, teary-eyed, one more time to wave goodbye to our dear friends. We didn’t know if we’d ever see them again.
Leaving HCMC that night in 35 degree heat, I was shocked into hibernation when we landed in Toronto in a -35 degree storm. After a harrowing drive, Notorious B.A.Y. welcomed me back with open arms and I spent Christmas with my family. It was worth coming home for… especially these mook faces on my bros. However, my hibernation earned me the less-than-flattering title of “Cave Bitch” and these numb nuts were haven’t let me live it down.
In the intervening two years, my life has changed greatly. I’ve been working for the college here in my hometown as an English as a Second Language professor teaching students from all over the world including two Vietnamese students: one from Hanoi and one from HCMC. I’ve been enjoying it greatly and I’m in the process of finishing out the semester.
Bagheera and I have also been reunited since her return from London last month. We celebrated her official results as a Master this week! Bagheera, M.A.!
In terms of my personal life, there’s a lot to be said for that as well. I’m currently prepping for my LSATs and applying to law schools for this next phase in life. Wish me luck! I’m hoping I get in.
I’ve learned a loooooot about myself in these past two years which has led me to some pretty cool things and people. I’ve learned that staying put is not such a bad thing and neither is my hometown. I will forever be grateful for my return here as it has afforded me quality time with my parents and brothers and a job teaching English again.
Vietnam taught me a lot. It has formed me both personally and professionally and my friends, well, they will remain lifelong family.
Till the next time… Tạm biệt ♥