Saturday, August 14, 2010

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

Stuck at home, sick, on a Saturday I realize that it's been a while since I've posted anything. My initial excuse would be that there hasn't been anything worth writing about, but is that fair? Perhaps then I should take it as sign that I need to be out there doing more interesting stuff or maybe I've been here so long already that I've lost the ability to find what makes the things in my life extraordinary. I'm inclined to think it may be a bit of both.

Not able to find things of interest to outside, I began looking in. I helped Daphne out by making her a website for her yoga: And also took some new yoga pictures for her, as she has just been sponsored by a local clothing company:

I looked even further in and started taking Mandarin on Rosetta Stone. I now know more Chinese than Vietnamese. Why am I not taking Vietnamese instead? Learning languages is difficult for me so I want to use my energy to learn one that I want to know forever, rather than just one that I'll use for a year or two.

I was fortunate to have three people this past month that pulled me out and reminded me that I was living some place different and special. The first was my university mate, Zane, who has just come here to do his CELTA[for which I got a $200 referral fee] at ILA and teach English here. He described things that to me were ordinary in a way that made everything glow. For him everything shined like the sun, while I was still squinting to see the stars. As we taught him simple words and numbers, and he told us about the things that he saw on his first day and the people he talked to, I felt nostalgia for the naivety that comes with being some place new and that I too felt just a year before.

Later that same week, our friend, Bret, who had done the CELTA with us came for a brief visit. He has been living and working in Shanghai and was now on a six week paid vacation traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia. He wanted me to take him shooting around Saigon, something I hadn't done since after my first couple of months here. So on his last day I drove him to District Five, China town, and we walked about all afternoon taking photographs. ...

[Bret shows these guys the photo he took of them]

[Vietnamese grannies are cute, no?]

[Obviously, he didn't get it]

[I took this with one of Bret's lenses. After he left, I placed a long overdue order for two new lenses of my own]

[Cupping, removes toxins from your body, leaves giant hickeys]

[These kids will sell you a lion mask for a good price]

[While I go through great lengths to take mediocre shots, I hand feed great material to Bret on the ground below]

Bret was hardly gone when Daphne had a friend from Singapore visit us on their International Day weekend. Yvonne is actually Taiwanese so we can forgive her lack of patriotism for leaving The Red Dot on its biggest day of the year. Since Daphne was working most of Friday, I was left alone with her friend on tour guide duty. I took her rock climbing for her first time, as well as a few of my other favourite places.
"Just for you reference, that was a red light."
"And just for your reference, a bribe is only ten dollars."
Whenever she tried something new for the first time, it almost felt like I was trying it for the first time, too. Food tasted better, the coffee was stronger and sweeter and everything was beginning to look fresh again.

Now that my contract at ILA is coming to a close I've had to spend the last few months contemplating on what comes next. Do I stay another year or try somewhere else? My three visitors were like prophets pointing the way, they showed what glitters when I was hard at seeing. I'm thinking it's stay.