March 30-April 1 , 2010 – Days 460-462 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
You might expect the last few days of a trip like this to be stuffed with last minute sightseeing, shopping, and other culture seeking activities. We saw what we felt like seeing already and now we are under pressure to do some things that just must be done. Preparing to return to life in the States is as big a task as leaving it was, and just as stressful.
Lately, all we seem to do is write and rewrite resumes, pour over endless job listings, and preview DC apartment listings. We are slowly unpacking and packing, throwing things out as need be, getting airport transport worked out and making sure we take out only enough local currency to get us by until we get to the airport. We are feeling increasingly anxious, resistant, and generally stressed about our return. Thinking we could both use some nice relaxing massages, we went to a local spa one afternoon and came out 2 hours later with major spine realignment, some possible bruising, and sore temples. It was anything but enjoyable and certainly not relaxing; it was incredibly painful.
But at the same time, we are trying our best not to waste these last few days. Walking through tiny alleyways lined with old Vietnamese people who look like they might have been squatting in that same position for the last 40 years, looking out onto the dangerously chaotic traffic from a sidewalk cafe, dodging mopeds, buses, people, bikes, dogs, trash, and taxis while walking in the street because the sidewalks are only used for moped driving or parking—these are things that you just can’t get at home. And though they may not be fun, they are definitely different sights of the world and these kinds of things we are really going to miss. How will we ever adapt to orderly, quiet, mannerly, full sentence, clean life at home?