from then to now

I’ve been in Vietnam almost a week. Means I have three left. Saigon was 3 days of seeing two friends, putting up with the things I dislike there and enjoying the few I like. Then it was Hanoi time. I flew in on 30 December and found my way to my room. The same room, same house, with my wonderful friend Van. She cooked last night for us. Having a home cooked meal is something for me. Not too often do I have the luxury. This time was wonderful Vietnamese foods topped off with talk, laughter and some fair amount of teasing.

Wonderful evening but it ends so I go. I guess much like the weeks will end in 3 more and I will go on from here. So in the meantime there is the unwelcome feeling. I left Vietnam almost 2 years ago. I felt in a cloud of failure. Not able to start a new digital technology company. Facing the loss of one place that had become home. I explain this yet again because those renegade thoughts still surface.

As I sit in Highlands I play back what my friend Van asked when she heard I was coming in December.

you will come home to live with your family here uncle Mike?

There are things which still sting from years ago. I found a wonderful life I will be happy to go back to in Cambodia. Friends. Perhaps a woman. A lifestyle I love. Then I am in Hanoi. This city at sunset and morning forever stuns me. It took some part of me. When I left it did not return it.

Forever standing as some sunset goes. Photos and memories like Croce could have said. But not a woman like he misses. For me this city. Yeah I love this whole city. And like some love we know by it’s essence and path we can never have it.

So I face that down now. I feel that fleeting touch. When Hanoi touches me so deeply. Like the lady standing there as some sunset came. And I have my Hanoi. Right here. Right now.

It can never be like my wonderful Van asked. Some things we want and know we can never have. I think it makes the wanting and feeling run deeper.

the moment and the one to come

Yep. The moment. This moment lets me taste it all. And then knowing again I will never accept it. But I will live with it. I’m made of imperfect star stuff and never learned acceptance. What I have learned is to simply live with a thing. Let it come back like now. Let it leave in the next moment.

Now I know I will be happy to go home to Siem Reap in weeks. Hanoi is this marker of learning yet again to live with a thing I could not have then. Now is different.

Thanks for reading. I feel ready to go find my Hanoi today.

January 3, 2023