It started……it started…..when did it start? I could say it all started when Mike said ‘Hey..’…but that’s another story for another time….. This particular chapter of that story started somewhere around November 2011.
After 10 years of self-employment, Mike sold his landscape business – he’d had enough….but that, of course, meant he needed a new source of income. He’d been a teacher years before and thought he’d give online tutoring a try. After web-searching the possibilities, he began teaching English to South Korean kids and loved it. Ideas about actually traveling overseas to teach began to infiltrate his brain…..and he began web-searching those possibilities. The long and short of it is that Vietnam looked to be the best option for job availability, interesting culture, beautiful scenery, lovely people and, well, just that little touch of the Wild West….or Wild East, as it were. Having made the personal decision to take the plunge, he wanted to ask his best friend (that being me) if she thought she’d like to go and teach, too.
I remember the day he asked me – sometime in January 2012. He’d been talking about possibly going overseas to teach. It had surprised me somewhat to hear him say that – he’d never seemed terribly interested in long distance travel before. But what concerned me even more was that if he went overseas for any real length of time at all, I’d miss him terribly. While on the one hand feeling this way, on the other hand I tried to be encouraging. I wanted (and want) to see him do everything with his life that he can.
So, getting back to that day in January – he approached me about it…somewhat tentatively. He wanted to ask me, but didn’t want to pressure me….he wants me to do with my life as I wish, as well. He began by asking if I’d consider going with him, but then immediately said, “Think about it…..it’s a big decision….you don’t have to answer right now….I know it’s a big step…..it’s okay if you don’t want to go….”….and on and on…… and I just sat there waiting for him to shut up so I could say, “YES!” Are you kidding? OF COURSE I would love to go! I love travel. I want to see the world. I want to explore and (at least try to) understand different cultures….and I could do all this with my best friend?…..YES!
So, my decision made, I figured I’d better get my act together and learn how to teach English as a second (or foreign) language. Unlike Mike, I’m not a teacher. I found what I think was a very good online course that gave me not only some basics about teaching, but refreshed my memory on (read “completely re-taught me”) English grammar. Good lord, English is a difficult language!
Anyway, having successfully completed the course, I packed and moved all my belongings and put them into storage (oh, I make that sound so easy…I had incredible, enormous help from my kids. Not only did they help in the moving of the things, but also in the storage and care-taking of everything. Thank you once again, Sweethearts….all you Sweethearts!).
So, after months of preparation, planning, quitting my job, moving my stuff, selling my car, jumping through innumerable hoops for visas, certificates and whatnot, waiting what seemed an eternity to see Mike again (he’d already left for Vietnam 3 weeks before me and I was missing him like crazy), then taking the most ungodly long airplane flight of my life…….
…….here I am in Hanoi.
And loving it……
Then I went traipsing about town!
I found that my camera lens was steaming up from the heat and the humidity. It’s often hazy in Hanoi – partly from the humidity, partly from the smog….but the buildings are still amazing and beautiful….
See what I mean?!
Imagine what it would’ve been like 100 years ago….
…no motor bikes….
….but that’s what gives the city its energy….so to speak…..
A very rambunctious, energetic, mysterious city, Hanoi. Can’t wait to see more.