That title isn’t clickbait. This is really happening guys. At least now you know why I’ve been so quiet and distracted lately. I’ve been preparing for my move to Hanoi! Time is absolutely flying by and I can’t believe I’ll be leaving Australia in less than 30 days.
How on Earth did this all come about?
It has always been a long-standing dream of mine to be an English teacher in Asia. For years I’ve been craving adventure and imagining myself finally quitting my job and just going for it. However, I always had a mortgage to pay, a responsibility toward my dog and a HECS debt that needed to be taken care of before I could leave the country. That’s not even taking into consideration how much I would miss my family. My parents live only 15 minutes from the house I bought. They’ve always been close by whenever disaster struck, so how could I ever live without them? But my mindset had shifted. I needed to go on a travelling adventure, the one I never went on in my twenties.
It took me two anxiety-filled days to figure out what I would do. Despite all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing me, I was going to follow my dreams and move to Hanoi to be an English teacher. If I wanted it badly enough, I would make it happen. Funnily enough, as soon as I made my decision, things started falling into place like magic. I’m not joking. The moment I decided to move overseas, my luck did a complete 180. It’s as if the universe was giving me a sign: moving to Hanoi is the right thing to do.
So what’s the plan when I get to Hanoi?
Besides being one hell of an adventure that will no doubt satisfy my wild fernweh desires, my plan is to teach English as a second language while working towards one day being a freelance writer or self-published author. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing so much research on the topic (teaching English in Hanoi), that my head has exploded. Quite literally. My mind has splintered into a thousand tiny fragments and floated away into the stratosphere.
And oh… do you know how hard it is to move overseas?? Like… really effing hard. I had to rent out my house and move in with my parents, pay land rates in advance, and a million other things. There are subscriptions to be cancelled, luggage to be bought, banks and other government departments to be notified, TEFL courses to be finished, visas and travel insurance to be sorted, other documents to be organised and phone plans to be changed.
I would like to say I’ve become something of an expert on the process of moving to Vietnam, except I’m not in Vietnam yet. Once I get through border security and have time to soak in my new home for a few days, I’ll tell you all about it. I’ll be staying at an Airbnb in Hai Bà Trưng for the first month, during which I’ll hopefully get a job and find an apartment.
When it comes to living overseas, I have done it once before when I studied South East Asian Development in England during my early twenties. But that was different. Living in England was temporary, as I went over as part of a six-month exchange program for my degree. Moving to Vietnam is a whole different kettle of fish, especially as I’m not even sure when I’ll be coming back. I’ll also be facing a few extra challenges, namely, the language barrier. However, I am determined to actively learn Vietnamese, not just to make my life easier, but because I don’t want to be one of those foreigners who lives in a country without making any attempt to learn more about the culture or language.
I have been told that Vietnamese is one of (if not) the hardest South East Asian language for English speakers to learn. The day I discovered Vietnamese tones, is the day I died a little inside. But still… challenge accepted!!
How has my family and friends responded to the news?
Now before anyone says anything like “but have you really thought this through?” and “is it even a smart thing uprooting your life and moving overseas on a whim?” Well… that last one will probably be addressed in a super long blog post one day, but the first? Yes, I have thought it through. Sure, I’m letting my dreams lead the way, but I like to think I’m doing so with a fairly level-head. I’m certain I can handle the challenges that are no doubt headed my way.
One thing I absolutely have to mention is my parents. Not only are they letting me (and my dog!) live at home until I can move, they have been completely supportive and excited for me from the start. They are a little nervous of course, which is understandable considering their child is moving to a foreign country she’s never been to before. They also know I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t go.
For the moment, I am refusing to think about how much I’ll miss my family while I’m in Vietnam. I’ll leave that for when I’m in Hanoi!
So I haven’t been to Vietnam, but have I travelled anywhere in Asia before?
I have a confession, guys… I’ve actually never been to Asia, which is a tad embarrassing considering I grew up in the tropics of the Northern Territory, just a stone’s throw away from Indonesia (I even learned Indonesian during primary school). That’s not to say I’ve never wanted to go, seeing Asia is very close to the top of my bucket list.
As it is, there’s nothing I can do but embrace the crazy-fun (and unknown) adventures that are about to come my way… and the food. I am so damn excited about the food and coffee. As a coffee snob used to strong Australian brews, I was overjoyed to hear about the serious coffee culture over there. Good, strong coffee is almost a given I’ve heard – as long as you know where to go. I’ve also heard Hanoi is known for egg coffee, which struck me as something I’d probably not enjoy from the sound of it, but it’s apparently delicious.
I’m looking forward to trying a few of the other local dishes like bánh Cuon, xoi xeo, bún riêu and bánh mì. Oh and I can’t forget I’ll have easy access to my favourite dish in the entire world – phở ga! Phở ga for breakfast. Phở ga for lunch. Phở ga for dinner…
I’ll be in Heaven.