Where do I begin? The past two weeks have been the craziest, happiest and most exciting time of my life. Moving to Hanoi from a small countryside village in North Wales has been one big surreal whirlwind …and becoming a TEFL teacher is probably the best decision my 23-year-old self has made so far!
Hanoi is surely a wonderful treat for the senses. From the vibrant colours of lanterns to the exotic smells of street food bursting from street to street, you certainly don’t get bored here!
For the short period of time I’ve been here, Hanoi already feels like home. This is down to the warm welcome received by the lovely locals, offering everything from ‘pho’ (a traditional Vietnamese soup which is delicious) to free beer as we joined them to watch a football in our local bar – you couldn’t ask for friendlier people!
One of my favourite days here so far, was visiting a traditional Vietnamese village named Bát Trang, whilst greeting the locals with my best attempt at pronouncing their mother tongue, and receiving cheeky grins as a way of saying ‘good effort girl, keep trying’. Waking up the next day with sore cheeks from laughing all day, whilst giving pottery a go (and failing miserably) is a memory I will remember forever. By the end of the day, I was covered head to toe in white chalk, but it was all worth it for the satisfaction of walking out with a piece of pottery (looking like it had been made and decorated by a six year old kid…despite this, I will treasure it forever!).
Something that will never fail to surprise me here, is the infamous Vietnamese traffic! The whizzing of motorbikes and Vietnamese tuk-tuks emerging from every angle possible is a sight that I could watch for hours. I certainly will never forget trying to cross the road for the first time (taking at least 10 minutes to do so) with a rush of fear, sweat and adrenaline buzzing through my body. I made it to the other side of the street alive and still in one piece somehow, but you get used to it. Kind of!
From receiving Vietnamese language lessons to joining the gym (which is located on the 65th floor of a building with incredible skyline views) and attending a ‘Mystery Mountain festival’ in the woods, it has really been a blast!
I have already made friends for life, who I consider as my family out here in Vietnam, and I can’t wait to see what the next 4 months have to offer. Hopefully a lot more of energetic and excited students, coconut coffee and a shed load of fun!