Almost a year has passed since I came to Saigon and more than half a year since I left. From the day I left until now, feelings have been mixed. At first I was not missing Vietnam and Saigon that much, maybe cause I was happy to be back home for a while and see my friends and family. However, month after month, I realized I was still always talking about Vietnam and I was getting more and more emotional about it. This is a clear sign of how much time there meant to me. We never realize how beautiful things are ’til we do not have them anymore, its not news. I liked Vietnam when there, and now I realize I loved it. I still do.
Something so simple like driving a motorbike or eating in some Vietnamese food restaurant in the city where I live now in France brings me back huge amounts of memories and feelings. Even sunshine, when strong, reminds me of Vietnam. The smell of hot humid air does, too. Actually, countless things do.
This is nice, you would say, and in fact it is, I do agree. The problem comes as soon as I am tired, since I get more vulnerable. Sadness about not being in Vietnam is something that I feel pretty often before sleeping.
Why did I love it so much? Beside people I met and been with, I would say that I miss Vietnam so bad cause being there not as a tourist was like a dream to me. I always dreamed to live in a far away land, at least for a while, surrounded by local people and local flavors. Being one of them. This happened in Saigon. Getting lost with my motorbike in the middle of the city. Living the city both night and day like it was mine. Stopping in a coffee shop in the outskirts of Saigon where no one knows my name and speaks english, before starting my work shift. Giving directions to tourists as if I was a local. Being greeted by some students of mine in the streets. Shopping for food in local markets. I am happy all these things happened and I am glad Vietnam and Saigon have been the scenario of this dream of mine coming true.