Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Old Habits Die Hard

So I haven’t written anything solid in a few weeks for a few reasons, main one being that I am currently in Australia and I didn’t feel it was appropriate to write about my time in Hanoi, in Australia.
But I thought this is my blog and I can do what I want – it’s more about my personal experience and not necessarily about where I am.
Leaving to come back to Australia a few weeks ago, I felt so many emotions at once.

I was so excited to see my friends and family, yet so not excited to return to my small country town and see a lot of unwanted faces.

I was so excited to drive my car again, and cook dinner for my family again, but so exhausted at the thought that I would have to say goodbye so shortly again after that.

My emotions have been turned upside down. Turns out most of my friends are judgmental and shitty people who don’t understand anything about where I live and what I do and why I would want to do it – despite me explaining why I love what I’m doing so much.

I don’t know if they genuinely think that me choosing to live overseas and travel and love, over choosing to spend thousands of dollars and years tied down to university is a bad idea.

I have also received some amazing support and had some great conversations with people that are genuinely interested in what I’m doing and are happy for me, and I am thankful everyday for the people that are still there for me.
I have had people ask me the most ridiculous questions like; ‘so do you, like, have an iPhone over there? or do you, like, have to go back to a Nokia.’ and ‘are there like roads over there, or is it just like dirt, is it dirty? I guess it is gross because it is a 3rd world country, right?’ (wrong, by the way)

and people saying the most ridiculous and borderline racist things to me like ‘shut the door behind you, you’re not in Asia anymore’ and ‘so do you like drive really badly now that you have been driving in Asia. You must be a bad Asian driver now’ and ‘hahaha you’re taking a selfie because you’re Asian now omg hahaha’

For the record; all of these quotes will be recognised by the people who said them if they read this and no, I do not care, because what you have said is insensitive and has hurt me. So now you know how stupid you sound.

I do not live in a 3rd world country, and actually the idea of ‘first world, second world, third world countries’ is being phased out for so many reasons for more accurate descriptions of different countries’ statuses.

Vietnam is a ‘developing’ country and is actually (If word is correct) the fastest developing country in South East Asia. 

I live in the CAPITOL CITY of this country. YES I can use an iPhone. YES they have roads, some are better quality than the shitty standards of the country roads near where I live. YES we close doors behind us………..? YES everyone around the world takes selfies, stop putting Asians in this little stereotypical box when you haven’t even been to any of their countries to see if it’s true.
“Old habits die hard”. Things have changed about me since I left Australia, I speak differently, to accommodate to the sort of people and the standard of language of the people I speak to every day. I act differently toward people and think differently, I drive on a different side of the road every day, live completely independently.

So much was changing when I came back to Australia and I was anxious for reverse culture-shock to hit me hard. However I was very surprised to find that from the minute I stepped out of the airport, it had felt like I had never even left and been away for so long.

This was great because I fitted into my old habits so easily. Driving a car at 100km/h on the left side of the road wasn’t weird or scary, eating western food wasn’t even exciting, and even changing my sleeping pattern back hasn’t been too hard.

However this is very bad, because I actually have been away for a long time, and I didn’t realise how much I missed my old life. Being in Australia again after so long away makes me really appreciate the beautiful nature and culture we have. Something I didn’t see for what it is before.

People always say; why are you here I would love to go to Australia! I think both places are amazing and I love them both so so much.
Now I’m stuck. Do I want to return to Australia (yes, so badly), possibly work at the school mum works at as an aide, live back at home, move out, move to Melbourne and do bar work, save money for the future (which is… what?).

Do I want to stay in Vietnam indefinitely (yes of course), keep with my routine, make new friends, get more work, try to save the future (wtf do I want though), move to Saigon, travel more, see more of the country, move to a place with cheaper rent that I won’t be happy with, stick to what I know.

Or do I spend time in another country, travel temporarily or permanently, do I settle down as soon as I can, lock down the future, or continue down the beaten path of uncertainty.

This feeling is horrible and I can’t escape the feeling that WHATEVER I do, I will always wander ‘what if’. I guess the only thing I can do from here is chase my happiness, and hope it doesn’t lead down a dead end.

I want to see more of the world, but I want to just move home and settle, I am torn in two.
I am so lucky to have fallen in love with many places, yet so unlucky to have left my heart scattered around the world.

-Millie Burns

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