I am officially back home in America now. And it is quite a strange feeling. I still catch myself calling Vietnam ‘home’ because that is what it has been for the past 8 months. Now, it is like I am transitioning to a new home. But in reality, America has always been my home since I was born. Being able to call different places your home is what makes living abroad so rewarding. You combine multiple cultures and make them your own.
Before I left Vietnam, I was nervous. I cannot explain why but it was just a bizarre feeling of moving back to America after living somewhere for a while. I tried not to think about it all but it often came up. I was sad to be leaving all of my friends and students, even though I did not show it. I wanted to put on a brave face because I knew I would be coming back in the near future to visit. The floodgates finally opened when I was saying goodbye to Claire. Immediately when I went to hug her, I found myself crying like a baby and making everyone else tear up a little bit. I cried all the way from the guest house until the ferry. I think my driver was a little confused.
When I got to Saigon, I used the three days that I had to soak in my last days in Vietnam. I ate so much food that I think I gained all of my weight back. I could not help it but these last few days called for gluttony. I went shopping to buy gifts for family and friends throughout the city. I went to four different markets looking for different things. It was exhausting but worth it.
On the morning that I had to leave, I felt very nervous again. This feeling hit me again and I did not know how to deal with it. I listened to music for 2 hours so I would not have to deal with this feeling. Once I got onto the airplane, I burst out into tears once again. The flight attendant looked quite confused and I think that she did not know what to do or say because there was a girl sobbing on the plane. It was during this emotional outburst when I finally dealt with my feelings. I remembered all of the great things that happened, all of the people that I had met, and all the funny memories that I will never forget.
The time that I spent in Vietnam was quite unforgettable. It is the period in my life that I will always look back on as the game-changer. It helped me grow as a person and I was able to find myself. I know that this all sounds very cliche, but it is true. It is like I went through some sort of initiation into adulthood. I was forced to live outside of my comfort zone and to do things on my own for once. It all felt great and made me appreciate the little things in life. After my time in Vietnam, I will not take little things for granted because they are all little blessings in disguise.