Thursday, July 12, 2012

one year... reflections

Well... reflections... and pumping myself up for another year!

Tomorrow is my one-year anniversary with Vietnam! Wow. I’m impressed with myself, even.

I arrived back in Saigon a couple nights ago and have been filled with a mix of emotions since. Mostly… I’m fine and it’s quite ‘normal’ to be back… normal in a completely un-normal way, as Vietnam is truly a different world than back home in the States.

My first morning was filled with feelings of jet lag… loneliness, depression, fear, and contentment. It felt simply 'normal' to be back in Saigon... yet I do feel as if I could have stayed home in both Rochester, NY and Denver, CO longer. Part of me kept asking myself why I would choose to return to Vietnam 3 weeks early instead of soaking up that time with family and friends back in the States?!

…BUT then I tell myself that I have more adventures awaiting me here. …And if this is going to be my last year in this part of the world, then I need to get going on those adventures! In less than a week I head out to BALI! …Then, two days after returning from my exploration in Indonesia, I’ll be picking my mom up at the Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC on my motorbike! Her visit seems like the hi-light of my summer :D

Like this past year, my summer break in the States was incredible. I was filled with an appreciation for all of the wonderful people that I have in my life… more so than I’ve ever felt before. My friends and family give me such amazing support in this endeavor that has become my current life. Through many conversations and time together with great people, I reflected on myself and realized once again how much I’ve grown and changed… maybe not changed as much as it feels like I’m blossoming into myself more. Pretty incredible.

My time back Home, of course, came with some disappointments… but not nearly as many surprises and love! I really could not have had a better time in Rochester, NY or Denver, CO.

Part of my feeling scared and somewhat down when returning to HCMC had to do with feeling so far away… away from those I care about and who I want in my daily life... a natural feeling I think. BUT… then I made myself remember what it felt like my first week in Vietnam one year ago and how I dealt with that. …I kind of amaze myself! Ha. I felt stronger then than I did yesterday. It was pretty awesome to remember how brave I was when I first arrived in Saigon… determined to figure out the little things day by day.

My first day in Saigon I was not able to successfully get myself a cell phone. I remember how frustrated I was in not being able to figure out how to communicate what I wanted to. I had thought English would be more prevalent in this city. …I researched that night back in hotel room and went back the next morning… and I still have that same ‘cheap-cheap’ Samsung phone!

With getting extremely lost (and sun-burned!) my first full day in Saigon… having two men on motorbikes both try to grab my purse in my first week… and literally not knowing anyone in this city – it helped a lot to think back to somewhat hitting bottom when I first arrived… and only going up from there!

I can only hope that this coming year is as good as the last. …And I have two amazing trips coming right up to help kick that off!

I’m going to really miss some of my dear friends from last year that are moving on to other parts of the world… especially Sarah and Patrice!! BUT I also have some amazing people who are sticking it out for another year with me… and a new group of teachers coming in! As I decided a year ago on my flight from LA to Hong Kong… Saigon better be ready for a spunky redhead with crazy hair!

I am Brave.

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