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5) Having a good, well-paid job is not enough (for me).

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We all need money, that’s the reality we live in. But while for some people having a lot of money might be among the top priorities, it has never been like that for me. I have realized this here more than ever – even though I had a good job that paid enough so I could cover all my living costs, live comfortably, and still save enough money to travel after just 8-9 months of work, I wasn’t satisfied. Continue reading

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6) The quality of relationships with people around me is my primary driving force.

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I always knew that I am a “people person”, but the realization never hit me as hard as it did during the time I spent living in Thanh Hoa. Having people to hang around with occasionally has been nice, and I did make some good friends that will remain in my memory, but none of the relationships I established with the people here has reached the point of connection or closeness that is necessary for me to feel like I’ve really made a strong, lasting bond. Continue reading

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7) Loneliness comes from within me, and it is damn hard.

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Very soon after starting my life in Thanh Hoa, I began to feel lonely, and this feeling has only grown deeper and harder as the time went on. I did make some friends, but just as Jung’s quote says, my loneliness wasn’t coming from lack of company, but rather from lack of deep connections and communication of the things that I wanted to explore and talk about. Whether I was sitting alone in my small hotel room, or sitting in a bar, drinking beers and chatting, surrounded by people, it didn’t matter – I felt lonely either way. I was devastated to find that solitude I once cherished had become a burden to me. Continue reading

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8) Falling in love just can’t end well if it becomes your only real source of happiness.

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We all go through this sooner or later in our lives. Sometimes we fall in love even though we know it’s not right and we keep trying even though it obviously doesn’t work. Continue reading

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10) I actually kind of like working with kids!

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Contrary to my expectations, I’ve come to a realization that working with kids is something I can really like. While I was studying at the university to be a teacher, a part of me dreaded working with young kids in the classroom and hoped to work in high schools with teenagers or even with adults. Moreover, when I was coming to Vietnam, I expected that creating a life here would be easy since I already lived abroad, and that my first teaching job would be a real hard challenge. It turned out to be completely the opposite! Continue reading

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11) Last but not least: listen to your gut – if you keep feeling like something is not good for you, you’re probably right.

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When I first came here, I didn’t have any money of my own and I had to borrow some to arrange my documents, buy a plane ticket, and get through the first month until I got my first salary. So I wasn’t able to leave because I wanted to give that money back sooner rather than later. I also didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I would leave this place only to escape somewhere else without checking it out properly first. Continue reading