We are currently 1:05 minutes away from landing in Taipei. I’m already tired, my only salvation being the copious amounts of weak and milky coffee on the airplane. We’ve been traveling for exactly 23 hours. It seems already so far away that thirteen other students and I set off from Hawken in a charter bus towards Toronto, bright-eyed. I gaze across the cabin now looking at these same people, eyes now weary and fatigued. It‘s a 16 hour plane ride from Toronto to Taipei, followed by a 4 hour layover and finally a 2 hour flight into the northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi. The traveling is long but I am certain worthwhile. It keeps me going right now, imagining the beauty of Vietnam. Right now I am envisioning my first bowl of pho on the ground in Vietnam, the luscious steam enveloping my senses and the warm broth inviting me in for more. But right now it’s back to the drudgery of the airplane. It’s honestly not awful. The plane is awesomely large. There have been three meals, orange and apple juice, tea, coffee, and aromatherapy mists in the restrooms. It is not these creature comforts that will be memorable on this trip, but it’s worthwhile to mention it in the interim.
I’m more excited about being without the creature comforts, without the control that I am so accustomed to. Being lost in a busy Vietnamese market, unable to communicate and hungry, but being OK. Perhaps that is what I’m most looking forward to, developing my resilience to the unfamiliar situation. I predict that this will be Vietnam’s greatest gift. Besides that, I am enthusiastic about immersion in a new culture with different customs, ways of living, food, and societal structure. As well as Facebook, I will try to provide updates here periodically, with pictures, of course.