We have been back home for exactly 24 days now and I have finally overcome my resistance to getting back into ‘normal’ life. The first week back was hard mainly due to weather changes and housework (for me anyway), but the second week back was the worst. I had no idea how difficult it would be for me to get back into ‘normal’ western life. Each time Steve would call me during the day from work, I’d say, ‘have you booked the plane tickets yet?’ To put it mildly I struggled in the first two with the isolation and order of our life. There was no one out on the streets, everything was so quiet and too orderly. I didn’t realise how much I loved the chaotic nature of street life in Vietnam.
Last week I decided it was time to stow away the packs. After giving them all a good shake and removing the last physical evidence of Vietnam, I packed them away up onto the top shelf of the laundry cupboard. And there they rest until…well, another time. More on that later!
So in those 24 days we have been up, down and at times simply flat-lined it! The kids have really basked in getting back into school, and Steve has been sucked away into the working world in the city. And for me…well I have some writing projects on the go. The most exciting is a uni assignment – turning my Vietnam blog into a book. Yup…watch out folks it’ll be launched and available to purchase in November this year. It’s a coffee table book that I am working on – uploading, editing, choosing pictures, proofing and sending off to the printer. It keeps it alive.
On the fundraising front, we have been in contact with sister Anne and sister Agnes in Hue and Mr Phong in Ho Chi Minh City and they are all doing great. We have been communicating with Jackie from Hoi’An and her day centre via Facebook and have had wonderful news that with our money she has secured a teaching assistant for the year – yay! This is the update from Jackie in Vietnam:
Thanks to Lisa and Steve Cole (www.sixbackpacks.com) who, whilst travelling through Vietnam with their 4 daughters, went out of their way to track us down and find out how they could help and are now sponsoring one of our wonderful teaching assistants.
Khanh Ly, seen here with 2 of our children who have Cerebral Palsy, is part of an important team that work directly with the children and makes the difference to their daily lives.No matter how hard it sometimes gets, she never stops smiling.
We have still got some donations coming in which is awesome, so our legacy of giving to these children will continue on. Somewhere online I read this quote which is exactly how I feel about the Six Backpacks fundraising effort.
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remains as your legacy.” Kalu Kalu
On the home front, I have noticed some positive behaviour from the kids at home: more helpful, keeping rooms clean, better communication and being considerate of others (especially with me when I’m under the pump). We are back eating western style food and miss the noodles and rice dishes we enjoyed for 5 weeks while we were traveling through Vietnam. Charlie, Dacey and I will have to get into the kitchen and cook up the meals we made in our cooking lesson in Hoi’An.
Billie is going to send a letter and photo of her little pen pal, Thu. Father Joe from Salesian College has offered to assist with translations and maybe even giving Billie some tutoring in the Vietnamese language so she can continue writing to Thu in Hue. We have also been in contact with our English backpacking friends and they finally arrived back home in the UK this week from being away for a whole 12 months with their three sons. I cannot imagine how hard ‘normal’ life will impact them.
The other night we watched the repeat of Top Gear as the boys attempt to travel up Vietnam in 7 days on motorbikes. Steve and I laughed so hard at their journey because that’s exactly what it’s like over there! It was nice to experience it a little again. If you haven’t seen that episode before, it’s must see entertainment and insight into life and traveling in Vietnam.
Until next time…