I can only write this now that I have been living in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, for four months. If this had been written before I had left England, it would have been full of negativity regarding my prospects and the future I was facing there, alongside a desperation to just be here already.
Now that I’m living and working in Vietnam, no longer in a situation which somehow felt suffocating, I have the advantage of distance and time. I can see what my life in England was like, with the clarity of no longer being in that situation.
If you’ve read my Leaving teaching in the UK post, you’ll already know about my feelings towards the job I held in England. It regularly made me cry and I didn’t feel like it was a sustainable way to live. I used to feel such a sense of dread every weekday morning and I completely blamed myself for that. I felt disappointed in myself that, as lucky as I am to have a good education and strong opportunities, I had chosen a path which caused me so much upset. I didn’t want to walk straight into another profession to have another go at being happy in my job. I need some space first.
So, those feelings of complete consumption from a job I didn’t enjoy, alongside an overwhelming need to see more of the world, are what led me to Hanoi. It was fueled by negative feelings, but with an overriding notion of how brilliant it would be. Thankfully, Matty was on the same page and so it wasn’t something which either of us had to convince the other to do. The idea was grown as something that we were going to do together and I’m very grateful for that.
I didn’t want to go travelling and then return home to the same situation but a couple of thousand pounds down. It needed to feel more permanent than that, like I was trying on a new life to see whether it fit me or not. I needed to know that when, or whether, I return to England is optional and I’m not bound by fixed plans. No return ticket required.
After a lot of research, Hanoi seemed like the perfect mix of a strong ex-pat community, good work opportunities with the chance to save money, and a city absolutely full of individuality. Now that I’ve been here for a couple of months, I completely stand by the decision to come here. It’s everything that I expected and more (with better food than I imagined).
Even after just a short time here, I’m convinced that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s still sometimes a little bit scary, and I miss the people I’m closest to, but it has already changed my perception of not only the world but how I can fit into this world in a way that will make me happy.