I have been back “home” in Saigon for a little over a month now. I haven’t posted because the shift from experiencing a new culture to just living my life in a new place seems pretty complete. Though I still marvel at the number of people sharing motorbikes, tremble as whatever cab I am in approaches unpredictable traffic patterns, and feel mystified by the languages spoken around me, I am home here. Navigating the routine tasks of living seems easy. Finding a routine at work happened quickly. Fitting in exercise and time with friends and reading for fun is possible in ways it just wasn’t last year. Perhaps the fact that I fell victim to some terrible cold virus for two weeks also impeded my desire to write or have new Vietnamese experiences, but mostly, life is just as it should be.
After some crazy negotiations between my human resources housing officer, my old landlord, and my new landlord, it was decided that I get to stay in my apartment until July! I celebrated by hanging up some photos and throwing a massive dinner party.
Some of the newness has worn off, but I am enjoying all the old haunts, trying new places, and spending time with awesome co-workers.
In some ways, this year has been an interesting transition from just feeling like I was on a vacation from my real life to feeling like I have found a new life that could be sustainable for the foreseeable future. There are moments that make me question the validity of this feeling. I am sad to be missing the wedding of my beloved twin cousin. I feel far from home when the people I love are sick or maimed (stay on your bike, Dani!). But, I also feel happy that technology makes the world smaller, lucky that I get to travel so often, and excited to explore the possibilities of an expat life. My friend Rebecca just posted a quote on Facebook that rings true, “You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
So, Saigon is home (at least for now), and Beavertown and Baltimore are still home, too. Can I still claim State College and Moorestown, and all the other places my loved ones reside? I am a lucky soul to have so many places that fill me with joy. Soon, I will tell you all the tales of the travels to come, but for now, rest assured that I am happy to be home.