I have a confession to make. I was horribly, horribly depressed upon returning to Hanoi. My first weekend was ok, because it was the excitement of seeing everyone again and them being excited to see me that kept my adrenaline jumping, but after that wore off I sunk in to a state of deep despair.
Despite my presence on twitter and in the blog world, I consider myself to be a strangely private person...I rarely tend to discuss my emotions or "put myself out there" so I spent my days of gloom essentially locked in my bedroom avoiding the outside world. I've always figured that no one really wants to hear your problems anyway, especially when your problem is largely a case of self pity, which mine was. It all started going downhill when I was at a party and I realized that I knew a lot less people than I thought. This happens in the expat world, because people come and go. I seem to have a knack of choosing friends who are here for the short term instead of seeking out the expats who've established a life for themselves here. I spent the entire evening thinking about my friends who left, the ones who are planning to leave and doubting whether I'd be able to find more friends. I'm actually pretty shy by nature and don't often initiative conversation or contact.
So I literally spent 36 hours feeling sorry for myself, refusing to go out, canceling all of my plans and leaving emails and texts unreturned. a Real joy. But as I said, I hate "sharing" or forcing my grumpiness on others. I was convinced that I had made the wrong decision to return to Hanoi. That my life, was in fact, in New York, and that's where I should be. I wondered countless times why I would leave something so incredible and what I was thinking coming here.
However, at some point without my realizing it, Hanoi won me over again. Its navigating through the windy and overcrowded streets didn't make me feel anxious and angry but comfortable and content. Being shouted at by ze om drivers stopped irritating me and I started to absorb everything that was going on around me. All the Hanoi has to offer, from culinary delights to culture, or the melting pot of people that bring different perspectives, it's eccentric charm that can leave one frustrated and exhilarated at the same time. Fighting over how much something costs, playing charades to explain what you want, shooing away an overfriendly ze om drivers hand on your leg (does anyone else have to deal with that?) are all par for the course, things I've come to expect and and enjoy. That somehow, somewhere all of the things that make Hanoi chaotic and stressful are the things that make me love it the most, and establish why it is that I came back.