Shortly before the New Year I found this 1966 Vespa and couldn't pass it up. It is a little bit of a cliche for an expat to be driving these, given that nostalgia and all that is what brought us back. But, if you know me, vintage Italian or vintage whatever has always been akin to my heart. And, I've been following my heart quite a bit lately. In doing so, I experienced extreme highs and the lowest of lows this past year.
Finally realizing my dream of moving back here was one of those extreme highs. Selling off most of my belongs and moving out of my apartment was really sad but then attending all of those going away parties with all of my friends more than made up for it. I was even lucky enough to spend time with my nieces in Tuoloumne Meadows-one of our favorite places in our little world, before moving over.
On the day that I flew out though, I heard about the passing of my good friend John Bachar. John was a mentor who fully supported this transition and one that I very much looked forward to sharing this new experience with. Luckily my last conversation with him was one of those highs. He was overflowing with compliments and well wishes as we said our goodbyes, knowing that it would be a while before we saw each other but not knowing that we never would again. I've been missing him tremendously the last half of 2009.
Which brings us back to this blog, or whatever you want to call it. This is what I've been doing the last six months-running around the north of Vietnam with all my friends, new and old alike. Living the dream as my good buddy Brad always says. I've been on three motorbike tours, four Ha Long Bay climbing trips, three Hoi An visits and one Ninh Binh recon mission. All along the way there was great food. I've gotten to know Hanoi really well and have made some new really good friends. This was all expected and welcomed.
What I also knew would happen but was not looking forward to was the passing of my Mom, making it my lowest moment of the year. (see the posting....Tin Buon.)
As for the New Year, I've got great adventures planned again. I promise to write more about my life in Hanoi to give you a more detailed, insider's view of the place. I promise to introduce you to all my friends here too. I have to start working again this year so I'll let you know how that goes. Oh yeah! I'll let you know about Tet in Vietnam, which will take me back to my home town in the South. A place I haven't been to yet since coming back to Vietnam. And Tet is the Vietnamese New Year. Luckily for me, if I cannot make a good go of it in the Gregorian New Year, I have a chance to start up again in the Lunar New Year.
One thing for sure, I will accept the ups and the downs as gracefully as I did in 2009.