People warned us that the rainy season in Hoi An begins in October. Well, I think they were right. For the last two days we’ve gone to sleep with the sound of rain thundering against the roof and woken up to either rain or huge puddles outside of our door.
We lost power yesterday but desperately needed to work, so Ben and I took Whit to school together so we could then spend the day at Hoi An’s coworking space, Hub Hoi An. Riding through light rain, Ben and Whit covered in a giant poncho and I in a rainjacket, we sang silly songs about the cows, rice paddies, small stores, and motos we passed. Whit tried to be grumpy then laughingly joined in with his own ideas. It was a moment I wished could last forever.
We had a similar experience picking Whit up to go home. We stopped at one of the local food markets and ended up with 4 of the batter-covered fried bananas that sustained my heart and soul while living in Cambodia 10 years ago. Riding on the moto passing fried sweetness between us is the sort of thing I’ve come to live for.
Thinking of those sweet moments just 24 hours past is actually making me tear up. I hope I never forget how much we love each other and how much fun we have doing stupid, meaningless things as a family.
I think part of the reason why they meant so much is because yesterday marked the beginning of our fifth month traveling and I am starting to realize that it’s taking a toll on me.
I’m constantly amazed at the seemingly ordinary things I get to see and experience on a daily basis, but it’s also an exhausting way to live. For months I’ve had to navigate foreign languages, wondering if I’m being understood and having to resort to hand signals or just accept being ignored. I’m always trying new foods without the assurance that there’s a recognizable restaurant down the street which have the cookie-cutter type of comfort food I’m used to as a backup. Walking around strangers who don’t bother to hide their curiosity of me and being treated like a child who can’t figure things out based on the color of my skin. Trying to just figure out where I am and needing to stay alert until I get to a comfortable place.
It’s exhausting having to be aware of everything all of the time!
For the first time I’m starting to miss home. Not my physical house or bed, but the people, shops, and foods I’m used to. I’m starting to feel homesick for Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. For lazy Sunday afternoons at my sister’s house joking with my niece and brother-in-law. For daily runs to the grocery store because I have a new craving. For driving. For knowing how to act in public, knowing how others will act around me, and fitting in.
I was warned that I’d start to feel homesick around 6 months into our trip, so I’m not surprised these feelings are here. They’ve just settled in a month early.
This admission has led to some decisions about where to go next, at least. Last week we were trying to decide if we should stay in Hoi An for another month or move on to a new country. We finally decided that we’d like the opportunity to live on the beach, so we asked around for an apartment near the beach in Hoi An to rent. We agreed that we would give ourselves the two weeks that remained on our apartment lease to find a beach house for an additional month here or we would leave for Thailand. Well, no beach house has come through. So we’re moving on.
But not necessarily to Thailand.
The other day I was working on an article on the top 10 travel destinations around the world and it made me crazy. I want to go to all of those places and more! I want to go everywhere!
But not Thailand. I’ve been there. And after 3 months in Cambodia and 2 months in Vietnam I’m feeling over southeast Asia for a while. I need to shake things up and go somewhere new.
I told Ben how I was feeling and he was shocked but supportive. He agreed that we could look into reasonable flights going anywhere- not just automatically head to Thailand. So naturally I started looking into taking a cruise to Antarctica. Kidding not kidding.
I still don’t know where we’ll be on October 11, but it’ll be fun to figure out!