They say after spending a week in a new place, it feels as if you could write a whole book about it. The longer you stay, the less you have to say. That’s supposed because it is in those days that we take things in very emotionally and absorb the most. I feel that being thrown into a new universe lets us notice all the differences between the one that we’re used to. We observe, we filter and think we know everything. Only after some time, we begin to realize that in fact, we know nothing. The second glimpse, a deeper and fuller insight changes our perspective and lets us lose our whole scope. The more we learn about the place, the less we have to say about it. On the other hand, we lose our freshness, we get used to new things, our senses become weaker. The new has now been tamed and surprises no more.
Today marks the end of my second week in Vietnam and is most probably the last moment, to sum up what I might never be able to notice again. It’s not my first stay here, but this time everything is different. It is not limited by any boundaries. I didn’t come here thinking about the finishing line as I did before. I came to feel at home, learn, work, eat and to live. To be here and now.
I see Hanoi as a somehow familiar place which I’ve already tasted and where I know what to expect. Yet each time before I was only able to get a quick glimpse through the curtain before getting back to my ‘real’ life. This time I’m entering the game, taking my life with me which somehow changes the perspective. I feel it most by the rushing urge to learn the local language. I have never felt this before and believed that English-Vietnamese phrasebook did its job well enough. Now I feel how ridiculously insufficient it was. I also feel how my chances to really understand the place are limited without understanding its people. The second difference is that I’m no longer in a rush. This often tiring need to taste, touch, try or take a picture is now gone. Hati-Hati – there’s plenty of time. The rush has been replaced by a different thing though, a kind of mess which I didn’t experience while I was just passing by. The whole chaos I was running away from followed me all the way to Hanoi. Nothing to be surprised with, deep inside I knew it was something in my head rather than the place I was. Maybe I just hoped that the new place will be a remedy which it obviously isn’t. However there’s one thing I’m sure about – I’m in the place where my Trip might come to its closure, letting go of all the patterns and fears which have been limiting me thus far. I feel the new paths opening, the energy flowing with only a tiny bit still stuck in a foggy alley that needs some fresh air to be let in. That’s where I came to complete what I couldn’t manage to go back home. My own drummer awaits me somewhere here and I just can’t wait to meet him.
I wrote the first draft of this blog entry in my notebook which I carry with me everywhere. While leafing through it the other day I noticed something a bit odd, a trifle really, yet it made me wonder. The pages were filled with a few different kinds of handwriting. My thoughts, my words all had different shapes, short and tall, round and tiny, straight or bent. The style changed every couple of lines. I guess that accurately illustrates what is going on inside my head and what is tiring me. While what I want is to unify myself, to create one final idea of who I am and what my voyage is all about. My daily life seems to have caught up with me eight thousand kilometres away from home after just a fortnight. Plenty of occasions, duties, meetings, things to cross out from the ever-growing bucket list. How come I ALREADY HAVE SO MUCH TO DO? How come I’m already running around to check the next task off my list instead of living, breathing, and moving forward.
So cinnamon scent country, shall we venture on this trip together? I want to see you with fresh eyes one more time. I want to feel excited, not distracted, take small bites rather than gulp you down, get carried away slowly without speeding up. I can feel serenity, mindfulness and harmony waiting for us just around the corner.