The best laid plans of mice and men…

So, we arrived in Ha Noi almost three weeks ago with the intention of immediately renting an apartment and finding an English teaching job for me.  The goal was to live and work in Ha Noi for about three months before beginning a month long tour of the rest of Vietnam.

Yeah… that was the plan.  That’s not going to happen now.  We’ve decided, after much thought and discussion, to begin our tour of Vietnam right now, rather than remain in Ha Noi.

We came to this conclusion for several reasons.  It’s really polluted in Ha Noi and I found walking around caused some yucky coughing.  We found an apartment we liked, but it wasn’t in our favourite part of town.  Finding non-dodgy English language schools was proving harder than we anticipated.  And, the weather.  It’s been grey and damp and cold almost every day since we arrived.  We’re still getting out and making the best of our time here, but we didn’t pack for this type of weather.  I’ve worn nothing but my fleece jacket and a pair of jeans since we got here.  This isn’t really what we signed up for.

This isn’t to say that we haven’t had a blast in Ha Noi.  We have really enjoyed our time here.  The street food is incredible, fresh and cheap. The people are very kind and friendly and welcoming.  The city is fast paced, fun to walk around and full of tucked away temples, pagodas and cafes.  Ha Noi is a great city; it just isn’t for us.

 So, instead of sitting in Ha Noi for three months whinging, we’re going to hit the road now!  Our new plan (which may yet go awry…) is to work our way south down the coast until we find a town or city where we’re comfortable.  Then, we’ll stay there for a while.  Or… maybe not?  It’s all very loose and fluid right now.  This type of travel doesn’t really come naturally to us.
Andy and I are both Type-A planners who like to know what’s going on and prepare ourselves accordingly.  However, I feel that being more flexible, more responsive to each other and more honest about whether we’re happy where we are has been good for us both.  We’re pushing ourselves in new ways, which is really what this year in the world is all about.
I’m sure that the minute we leave Ha Noi the weather will warm up and the sun will come out.  And that’s ok.  We have loved our time here and will look back happily on the hours we’ve spent exploring the Vietnamese capital.  I haven’t added any pictures to this post because I didn’t want to go back through our photos looking for pics of damp days and polluted skies to illustrate my writing.  That’s not how we’ll remember being here.  Instead, we’re acknowledging that this isn’t the perfect place for us right now, and we’re going to search until we find that perfect place.  Wish us luck!