My last full weekend in Hanoi for a while has come to an end. Saturday night was the type of night that won’t soon be forgotten. I spent it drinking wine and flavored vodka, eating at one of my favorite Italian spots in the city (Pane e Vino), and wondering what I’ve done to deserve such fine company in my life at just the right moments.
One of the recurring conversations I’ve found myself having throughout the years is how difficult it is to find closeness, no matter where I’m located; how hard it is to connect with people; and how cold I’ve seemed to become because of it all. I’m realizing now, though, that those conversations usually take place with the few people who I care so very much about and with whom I enjoy more than pleasantries.
It’s a bad trait, to put constant attention on relationships that don’t work out and people who lose touch instead of the people who are right here, right now. Instead of focusing on not being understood or feeling at times like a lone wolf—like father, like son—a more productive use of time would be to appreciate every single second with the people who come into my life that I grow to adore so deeply.
Then again, maybe saying “no one gets me” to someone across the table who does get me isn’t a way of saying that I’m not present in the moment or appreciative of their presence, but rather a way of saying, “I’m telling you this because I want you to know how important you are to me, and how utterly happy I am to have you here. No one gets me, but I think you do, and no one’s close to me, but I don’t want that for us.”
I stopped talking about being an expat or what living in Hanoi feels like a while back because it’s been done to death. But one thing I’ll probably always mention in one form or another is just how difficult it is to find stability with the people around me. Either they leave and I stay, I leave and they stay, or our friendships fade out and take their natural courses the way they would anywhere else in the world. I knew it’s what I was signing up for before taking this life on, but knowing it and living it are two different beasts.
This will probably be the last time I write about the not-so-glamorous parts of living the way I live for a while, but it’s nice to share it now while it’s fresh on my mind.