NOTE: I have been back in Hanoi for a week already but decided to let my Japan blogs play out as I settled back into life here in Vietnam.
(PICTURE: Huyen and me in our new apartment.)
After more than three months away, I can finally say, "It's good to be back."
Despite all its faults -- traffic, pollution, dirty streets -- I love Hanoi. Obviously Huyen being here is the cherry on top of why I love this city. I'm gonna take this first blog to tell an anecdote about how great my girlfriend is:
A few months ago, Huyen and I decided to live together when I returned to Hanoi. Her roommate was moving back to her hometown and it just made sense for us to live together rather than both of us finding a new apartment. As I'm sure you can imagine, a Vietnamese girl living with her boyfriend is extremely unheard of here. But, well, Huyen is without a doubt the most liberal thinking Vietnamese girl I've met so it made sense that she was willing to give living together a shot. On top of that, if we're going to take things to the next level I think it only makes sense to move in together. Its better to find out now about intolerable cultural differences than down the road when say there is a little Nguyen/August running around.
Over the last month or so, via the internet and friends, Huyen started to scout out apartments for us. As much as I wanted to live in my amazing house from last year, I didn't want us to live with strangers. My experience with the people I lived with before and after Ryan taught me that it is better to live in a smaller place than in a bigger place with disgusting slobs.
Huyen checked out a whole bunch of places and we finally settled on an apartment in a quiet neighborhood about five minutes from my old house (I'll blog about the apartment in the coming weeks). Before I left Japan, Huyen and I talked about our plans for the next week. First things first, we were gonna spend the day after I arrived moving all of our stuff into our new place. Huyen took a few days off of work so we could spend time together and get our house in order. Well, after picking me up at the airport, we headed straight to the new apartment. When we got to the apartment and the door swung open I immediately saw that all of my stuff was not only there but it was unpacked and organized. It only took me a second to connect the dots -- Huyen had single handedly moved everything into the apartment. Mind you, we live on the third floor of a walk-up and between the two of us we have A LOT of stuff.
I was in slight shock that Huyen had done this and can't adequately describe the look of pride and happiness she had on her face. I'm sure it was only matched by my feeling of pride for her and happiness that I didn't have to spend my first day back in Hanoi lugging boxes. By this act alone, I can safely say Huyen is gonna be the greatest roommate I've ever had.
It's good to be back...