Today, I say goodbye to Hanoi, my home for the past two plus years. It was a hard decision, but I knew it was time to go after the constant coughing and getting angry while sitting in traffic far outweighed the potential money-saving I can do.
Telling my classes goodbye was very difficult. I waited until the last 5 minutes of my last class to tell my Saturday/Sunday morning J1B class I was leaving. The TA later told me one of the girls spent the entire day very sad because she thought everyone (me, the TA and the JA) were all leaving. My Monday/Wednesday J3B class on the other hand, I just told one girl. And that was after I gave her all my secret badges.
My first goodbye came at work. The running joke heading to my last day is that I’ll return to the school. I kept vehemently denying this and even made a bet with the head teacher that I won’t come back. Alas, my planned quiet last day didn’t exactly happen.
My HN4 bestie asked me if I wanted to go to the bakery. Finding any way to procrastinate, I said yes. As we walked, she said that the school wanted to get me a cake, and I got to choose the cake. Of course, I took a detour and took full advantage of free food.
Since my last day was not a busy day, not all teachers and TAs were able to partake in the cake eating (minus Humpty Dumpty). But I did see Ngan, who kept making me pretend to use my computer at my seat so she could take pictures and Huybert, my fake bad British accent buddy, who I owed dinner to for the last time.
The cake was an unexpected surprise. And I was actually sad when cleaning out my locker and finding random notes. Also, when I started taking down the cards I got over the years.
Robb and I decided that we had to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, especially considering we live right across the street. We got there an hour before closing. The usual line that snaked around Ngoc Ha wasn’t there, so we thought we would be in and out in 10 minutes. So when went through security only to find a huge queue. But it went fast. At the end, we spent 30 minutes waiting and being yelled at to put away our smartphones. Then we saw Uncle Ho. He looked a little plastic-like. But we can now check it off our list of things we had to do before leaving.
It was also time to bid farewell to Vietnam Investment Review (VIR). Even though my time there was all of 3 months, I learned a lot. I got a taste for being an editor and working for a state-run newspaper in which half the articles are paid.
We had a get-together from our centers. It was nice to see almost everyone outside of work… Even super reclusive HN4 bestie came out!
And digging deeper, I met up with and said goodbye to my favorite TAs from old HN1. Huyen will be off to graduate school in Korea, Mai just returned from grad school in the UK and Hai Anh is now a ‘famous’ reporter for VTV4. Amazing how quickly time goes by!
Robb’s first day of unemployment led us to Old Quarter for one final shop of fake sporting goods. Our next destination is going to be the complete opposite of what we have known temperature wise.
I dropped by HN4 one final time to return some things (thanks for the blue tack and crayons!) And get a document that I had been anxiously waiting for. Also one final favor I had to ask of Ly… She’s the best!
2.5 years in Vietnam has been crazy. It had its highs and lows, but that’s everywhere you go.
Tạm biệt Hà Nội