Wednesday, September 12, 2012

As the rooster crows...moving to Vietnam

It is interesting to think of the changes in the sights and sounds as you move from one country to another. Sometimes the differences are subtle and other times they knock you over. I have picked myself up a few times since moving to is not England, New Zealand, Australia or America...all familiar territory. As the rooster crows this fine early morning in Ho Chi Minh City I think about the day ahead and what will fill my day. It is a strange feeling, to go from a scheduled environment when you were lucky to fill in something 'extra' just for you to waking up and wondering how you will fill the day. I imagine this is what 'empty nesters' think...except that I am not there, just yet. With a 12 year old son still at home (three have flown the nest) I have plenty of school years ahead of me.

Life in Vietnam feels like a dream. With the move, came a driver, a lovely man whose English words are few but he has a smile that says it all. A gardener looks after each and every plant with great care and a young woman tends to the house and cooks wonderful meals. What is a control freak to do?

I am a one woman, woman. That probably makes absolutely no sense but I like to do things way. My father used to say "there is the right way, the wrong way and my way". This was always said with a twinkle in his eye and his sly Irish smile. All I can say is that the apple does not fall too far from the tree on that one.

So how do you adjust from doing everything, being master of your own domain to letting go? Not easily. I have taken to riding my bike great distances to think it out. I am grateful for having this time in my life to enjoy these perks. When we move on from Vietnam, it will be life as usual. I have decided to embrace it for what it is and make the most of it. With each passing day, my separation anxiety lessens and I accept my new found freedom. I now think how I can fill those days with activities...keeping busy is essential. An idle mind has a way of playing tricks on you.

I promised myself that when we moved to Vietnam I would focus on my health, something that has been less than blissful these past few years. As much as I loved England...I seemed to spend more time in the doctor's office than ever before. I went from a woman who never got sick, much to my families amazement, to one who literally fell the seams or rather from the hormones. ( I always blame it on the hormones).

I am back to Pilate's, a gym routine, swimming, bike riding and am going to throw meditation in there.
I had a fleeting interest (all of five seconds) in belly dancing when someone mentioned it last night. We were sharing a glass of champagne over birthday celebrations. I decided it was the bubbles thinking for me and quickly let go of that notion.

On my list.... cooking, art and photography classes. But first, the most important of all, Vietnamese
lessons. I am keen to learn the language, the should be fascinating as I have no linguistic skills what so ever. My children wince when I attempt French...even with 'oui'. I am not a one woman, woman when it comes to language skills. It could be that at times I have the attention span of a gnat..something I definitely blame on the hormones! the rooster crows, I ponder life. I have been doing a lot of that lately. If you follow me at Collage of Life, you may have read my recent post...which would explain much of what I have written this morning. Just I know it this fine morning.

Speaking of life, here are a few photos taken during my bicycle travels yesterday....

I ventured into a new area, starting here...just riding along....

Passing ordinary sights..ones that have become very familiar.

What you pass one moment will look extraordinarily different the next...
yet they are a short distance from each other. 

Residence communities for expats and locals are everywhere. 
I love looking at the architecture...this one looks like it might require further investigation.

Interestingly...between many of the buildings you will see the sight below. 
This street runs parallel to the Saigon River. The river seems to sweep in and out..
I can only imagine what the foundations of the surrounding buildings must be like.

Across the street...more land waiting to be developed. 
Construction seems to be booming. 

 The architectural details are fascinating....a few of these will require my zoom lens.

A boutique hotel underway....

I am hoping for a spa in this one...

and there you have it...just a morning and my bicycle. 
I will declare that purchasing this Pashley bicycle in England 
was one of the best decisions I made. 
Loving the ride....

More on life in


  1. I am so enjoying your posts from Vietnam...including bouncing over to Collage as well. I stayed with you right through both posts because you write well and you have something interesting to say:) Glad to hear that you are taking better care of yourself (our kids need to see that) and that you are fitting in some meditation time too. I have found this "non-activity" to be the most life-changing for me...a hyper organized/do too much kind of gal like yourself. Enjoy it all, as this back seat driver....I mean passenger;), is enjoying it with you!

    1. Thank you glad you are along for the ride! :)

  2. Wonderful Jeanne - drink it all in (along with a regular glass of bubbly); absorb it through your camera and spit it all out on your pages here and elsewhere and know that you are the envy of all who read you! We all dream of having time on our hands (well I do - every day!)to do "all those things I never have time to!" This is your time for you - you have more than earned it - enjoy it for yourself and for us. And thank you for sharing so honestly. F x

  3. How to fill the day.
    Yes, that's a rare question. That's why I'm up past midnight, squeezing a few more minutes out just for me.
    Am I wrong, or don't I remember that you are a painter?? Seems to me you have an entirely new palette to chose from there.
    Email me your mailing address.
    I intend to keep it as full as I can.

    1. She remembers well...yes, once upon a time I did paint. Funny you should mention it, for along this ride, I saw a sign for a gallery/painting class in someone's home. I took that as a sign as to what should come next. Pick up the paintbrush again? Email on it's way to you....:)

  4. Jeanne, what a wonderful joy to have this moment in your life when you can focus on you. As a wife and mother it's hard to let someone else take over all the mundane responsibilities of life, but try to view this time as a present someone has given you. I'm slightly older than you, but when I entered the empty nest stage it was at the same time that I gave up teaching. I remember floundering and feeling very much "at sea". It took close to a year to get my footing again. Now just as suddenly that phase of life is gone and I'm back to barely having a moment for me as our children have married and new little people are joining our family. I think your time in Vietnam will be one of great growth for your spirit, and I'm so glad you have chosen to share it with us.

  5. I think following someone else opens a lot of space for self-questioning. Not in a bad way, just is.

  6. Hi there Jeanne! Not spending as much time as I'd like reading blogs at the moment, but I can never resist reading yours. It all sounds so familiar and brings back so many memories and feelings. Enjoy every moment. xx

  7. I know you don't even begin to know me…why would you? I don't even remember how I found your blog…i do know it was through another blog! Go figure! I have so many questions I want to ask and then I wonder if I'm allowed? First off…why are you here???? Why do you move so much and in so many different countries? I just cannot imagine it and yet it almost sounds peaceful to me! If you knew me at all you would die out laughing at that statement! I look forward to your posts and treat them as a precious novel that I only read when I have a few precious minutes…Are you not scared riding your bike around in strange places? I know I would be! Your pictures are incredible and you definitely should write a book! I bet you already have! If so, please tell me! I used to read blogs just for the fun of it and for the "surfacy side" to it…now I look forward to your blog posts because they are truly works of art in my opinion. I know living somewhere like Vietnam certainly lends itself to great photo opportunities, etc….but your posts that go along with those pics are truly wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your life experiences with all of us!

  8. And I forgot to address the Empty Nest stage! How could I? That's all I think about now as we ARE empty nesters as of a few weeks ago! Oh my! I'm only 48! This is really hard and yet it's fun! We are enjoying it and enjoying our youngest son's experience at Auburn…we actually just went to our beach house for a few days…because we could!!! ( that is now my answer to everything! Because we can! ) We are empty nesters!

  9. Jeanne:

    I've never been to Viet Nam so I appreciate your descriptions, challenges, triumphs, and pictures. You are generously sharing your life and I am grateful!

  10. This post really resonates with me - it's funny how the once-exotic can become so everyday. I see two-wheeled carts (like the one in your photo above) daily in Seoul and hardly notice them anymore, along with the tile-roofed hanoks that rub elbows with skyscrapers everywhere you look. Enjoy this season of rest in your life and the talent you've been given to record it so beautifully!