In retrospect I guess I kind of painted myself into a corner when I named this blog "Six Months". Henceforth let this blog be known as "Six Months in Hanoi (& Beyond)".
The occasion for this loophole is a little plan I hatched in October to put me back in Hanoi for the holidays. In one week I'll be somewhere high in the sky in transit limbo on the way to Hanoi for a three week visit. I'm thrilled to be returning. I'll be mostly in Hanoi but will also be spending a few days in Bangkok and three in Sapa. This time Jon will be joining me, but only for two weeks since he's got to stick around here a bit longer than I do. I will blog the trip as much as possible. I imagine much of it will likely be written upon my return. It will be a whirlwind of visits; I don't know if I'll find much time to write.
I am returning only after ten months. It has been long enough that I have settled back in but brief enough that I still have all my connections. I expect it will be at least a little surreal to enter back into that world. Time felt foreshortened when I returned to Canada. I imagine I will have the same experience coming "home" to Hanoi, as if I'd only just left.
It is starting to sound like my arrival will be a kind of fugal repeat of my arrival in August 2005: Viet will be meeting me at the airport and taking the cab with me to Andrew's house in Bach Khoa where I'll be staying. Of course I won't be quite as wide-eyed as before. Viet recently told me that he sensed in me a fear and caution when I first met him in the arrivals hall as he picked up my bags and led me to a cab. I am embarrassed to admit he was probably right. I was throwing myself into the hands of a virtual stranger. I was exhilirated but so uncertain.
Now it's not the arrival but the anticipation of the subsequent departure that makes me wonder. Everything about my departure last winter anticipated my return, because I was not ready to leave. The last thing Viet said to me was "You are not going away. You are just going on another trip - but this time much longer." Will my next departure anticipate yet another return, or a reluctant and probably unconscious closure? The former I hope.
Anyway I'm getting ahead of myself. For now I have so much to look forward to.