A month already !

When I first started the blog I honestly thought I would contribute weekly to it, however, life in Vietnam is much busier than I imagined it would be. Now one month and it’s time to catch-up ! I can’t believe that I’ve been living in Asia for that long already. Although in the last post I mentioned that I felt like I was settled in, this time I’m happy to say that I have a routine and I’m even more oriented in Hanoi. I’m currently writing this post in a “Highlands Coffee” (it would be the equivalent of Starbucks in Vietnam) just up my street. I’m enjoying a nice cold fruit tea, given that it’s rare that I order something hot in this country.

2014-06-14 17.24.27What can I say about the past month besides busy ?  So far I’ve explored a bit of Hanoi, I’ve gone to a play (in french) put on by the Institut Français, and I’ve explored the markets. There is still so much I want to see in the city such as the Citadel, War Museum, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum among other sites. The next few weekends I will be staying in town being a tourist/local in the city. Pft local, I still get bothered by the motorbike and taxi drivers, I don’t think I’ll ever be a local. It’s funny how different it is when you’re wearing business clothes and when you have a backpack.

Work has been great, I’m loving every moment of this internship. I am learning so much from everyone, they are such sources of knowledge. The projects I’ve been working on match my interest perfectly (history and migration). Crazy to think I’ve just completed my 4th week. Image

Last weekend, Emma and I (the other intern) went to Laung Prabang, Laos. It was recommended to us by every who has gone and I understand why ! It was so beautiful and peaceful. Although it was a busy weekend the village still had a relaxing vibe. I really would like to see more of Laos. We spent a day with the elephants, we did the mahout training and even went swimming with them in the river. On the second day, we woke up early to go see the offerings to the Monks. Something you must do in Luang Prabang, even if it happens at 5:30 am. Following that we went to the Kouang-Si Waterfalls, it was truly beautiful ! We even hiked up to the top and swam. The water was crystal clear.

Living in Vietnam is truly enriching, not only from a professional standpoint, but also from a personal one. Before arriving in here,  I believed my previous experience living abroad had prepared me for the latest endeavour. However, the rich diversity and culture brought with it new discoveries, insights and understanding. Hanoi is fast-paced city where there is always something new and different to see or do. And I can say I’m officially not “chicken” when crossing the street. It’s funny how fast you adapt.

À bientôt  !

Here are a few more pictures taken in Luang Prabang 🙂

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Weekend in Mai Châu

I was invited to join a couple of friends to go explore a bit of Vietnam. I will be honest it was great to get away from the craziness of the city for a weekend. The scenery was beautiful in Mai Châu and little did we know our accommodations were great, we got to sleep the night in a stilt house.

Weekend in Mai Châu

First week in Viet Nam !

After 12 days living in Vietnam, I’m finally sitting down in order to write about them. So far I’ve been really busy with exploring the city/the country and work.

I must say the two day trip down to Asia was quite timely, however, everything went well and I arrived on time in Hanoi.  When I arrived I was greeted by the embassy driver and he drove me to my new apartment for the summer. I must say I was shocked about the traffic in this city. I live in a great neighbourhood, very authentic Vietnamese and I must say there are not many ex-pats living in the area. 

The first day in Hanoi was probably the hardest. As much as I had been warned about the traffic in the city, I was still shocked at how many people drive motorbikes in the city and the method in which they drive. Well I had been told my multiple people to just walk across the street at the same paste when you want to cross, for some reason I did not believe that and I had to ask my landlord to show me how. Later in the day I went over to the Embassy to meet the staff where they invited to a wonderful welcome lunch. It was great to meet my supervisor in person after the couple months of email correspondence. 

Over the course of my first weekend I was grateful that Emma (the other intern) took the time to show me around the city.  She spent most of the day Saturday just trying to orient me in this extremely confusing city. Later that day I tried to walk myself back home like a grown man, however, I ended up at the other side of Hanoi and had to take a cab home. Lets just say I’m kinda embarrassed to say that I got really lost.

My first week at work was great, I got to travel to Ho Chi Minh for a workshop. The two day workshop really gave me a better understand of the project I will be working on this summer. The development aspect of international affairs is really an aspect I’ve always wanted to develop and I am grateful for this opportunity. 

As many of you may ask … the food has been great. I’ve been trying new Vietnamese dishes. There is more to Vietnamese cuisine then pho, in which here we eat that for breakfast. I must admit my first trip to the grocery store was unsuccessful, I came out of there with only yogurt and a baguette. I really need to take a cooking class… although food is so cheap here I think I might stick to eating out. 

I am happy to let you know that I am really already feeling comfortable in this new city. I am ready to live a wonderful summer in Hanoi and a great internship experience. I will be honest, I still can’t believe this is real ! 

Packing for Hanoi, it’s not easy packing work and leisure clothing when you know it will be so warm. I’m very excited for this adventure and somewhat nervous, wish me luck on my 20 hours of travel.

See you in Asia.

À bientôt !

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On Wednesday I will be heading off to Hanoi, Vietnam for a 3 month internship !

Follow my adventures and experiences here throughout the summer.