It’s been 3 days since I landed in Vietnam. The flight from Heathrow to Dubai was 6 hours and I was blessed by the flight gods when I realized there was a spare seat next to me; perfect to put my feet up and sleep. When I landed in Dubai and left the plane, there was a man waiting for me to take me to the next flight, due to the short stopover and a delay in disembarking the plane. I was super excited when I realized I was being put onto one of those airport buggy’s to get to the terminal (Dubai airport is effin massive). I was cruising along, waving to the peasants as I passed them, feeling like a Kardashian.
The second flight from Dubai to Hanoi was quite turbulent, which resulted in me being woken up in a daze, feeling queezy to say the least, by a much too smiley flight attendant who informed me my bags hadn’t made it on to the flight. Anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely despise being woken up, and I have to say, the first word that came out of my mouth was ‘fuck.’ The poor flight attendant tried to appease me by saying my bags would be coming on a flight tomorrow. Tomorrow I thought, fucking brilliant. I put my eye mask back on and slept for the final 2 hours of the flight to avoid the fact I was that poor sod who’s bags didn’t get onto the same plane as them. In fairness, it hasn’t happened to me before so I guess everyone gets their turn.
When I arrived at the hotel I slept, Jesus did I sleep. I think I’ve had around 40 hours of sleep since I got here, not just because of jetlag, but because sleep is my go to if I’m feeling overwhelmed or out of my comfort zone. I’ve met so many lovely people already, who I am excited to be living with for the next 5 months. I find I have to be very considerate of my mental health in socially overwhelming situations, such as the one I am in now. Luckily my roommate is an absolute diamond which is a real blessing.
There is a lot of responsibility to make small talk when you’re at an orientation week with 140 other teachers. I’ve never been great at faking interest or at social obligations, so this is something I need to consider and manage carefully; I think I’m doing an ok job so far. It has been easy for me to get wrapped up in negative mind reading patterns in the past, so I’m checking in on myself frequently.
I guess I just want to show some vulnerability to everyone who has said to me ‘you’re so brave’ or ‘I could never do that’ when I tell them about this trip. To be honest I’m not even sure I can do it at times, but for growth and self-development it is so important for me to keep pushing my boundaries. My counsellor once said to me, if it feels uncomfortable to you then it’s probably worth doing, because that generally means you’re breaking old behavior patterns.
When I told my counsellor I had signed up to 90 days alcohol free she told me to be kind to myself, which is something that’s rattled around in my head since arriving. After the bag fiasco, I allowed myself to drink on Saturday night and I had a great night. I’m now back to the AF challenge, as a personal mission to change my relationship with alcohol ongoing; this might be 80 days out of 90 without alcohol and I’m fine with that.
We will be going to our placement area on Saturday; I’m going to be in Hai Phong. It seems to be quite rural which I’m glad about, and also near to the beach. This week is orientation which will hopefully leave me feeling a bit more prepared. Vietnam is great so far; the people are nice, the roads are manic and the food is good. I’m keen to see where I’ll be living and teaching.