Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Last Goodbyes

Well, time flies when you're having fun, but I'm pretty sure someone mucked up my calendar because I still haven't come go terms with the fact that I'll be on a plane home tomorrow. I may be out of line saying this, but I don't think the other girls have had as much of a positive experience in the home stay department. As Hue CONSTANTLY tell me, she is "the best host sister I could ever meet". And she really is. She's made this trip infinitely better. I don't know what I could ever do to repay her and her family for the kindness and generosity they've shown, and their genuine acceptance of a random white girl into their home. We had our last dinner tonight, and it was a bittersweet occasion. Hue was translating everything the parents were saying. Things along the lines of me having to bring my entire family back to Vietnam, and Hue's mum telling me that I'm her second daughter, or more affectionately, her 'white daughter'. I've had to pinky promise Hue about 6 times that I'll come back. Which means I really DO have to come back, because I mean, I can't break a pinky promise. Those things are legit.

I had to say goodbye to everyone at school today as well as the Aussie teachers we've become quite close to. Two teachers in particular, Maddy, who was always happy to chat with us, and let us hang in her classes, and Bevan who guided us throughout the entire trip. If either of you ever read this, thank you for everything. You've been so wonderful to us. Saying goodbye to students we've struck up friendships with was sad too. We got a few gifts and lots of hugs, and I'll miss seeing their smiling/gawking faces every day as the white girls walk past.

So it's been a month. It's been amazing, scary, fun, tough, challenging, rewarding, enriching and completely and utterly unforgettable. If I take one memory out of high school, it won't be my ATAR, or even what I learnt in my classes. It will be this trip and Hue and the incredible hospitality they showed me. To know that I'll always have a friend in Hanoi is beyond awesome and I've told Hue she's always welcome at our house (that cool, mum? Yeah? Great.)

On top of everything, I was given a beautiful parting gift by my family. A stunning silver bracelet. It was beyond amazing of them, and the only thing I could think to do when the mum gave it to me, was to give her a giant bear hug.

The beautiful gift I got

While this trip has had its ups and downs, I regret not organizing to stay for longer. This country continues to astound me and amaze me and I can't wait to come back. All I can say is, Vietnam hasn't seen the last of me yet.

The Family

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