As excited as I was to go home over Christmas break, a part of me was nervous. I remembered how easy it was for me to fall back into my old life, how comfortable it was. I remember breaking down in Alex's apartment on the day of my flight back to Hanoi telling him he couldn't make me go back. And I remember, most of all, when i got back to Hanoi being completely miserable. I sent depressing mopey emails to everyone back home crying that I'd made a mistake and didn't know what I was thinking.
The Hanoi slump is common among expats. At first, I thought it was just me, so i was embarrassed and kept it to myself. however, upon further discussion, I realized that MOST people have highs and lows here. The highs are very very high and the lows are dismal. A friend told me to "give it three weeks" and then I'd feel normal again, and she was right...within three weeks I'd adjusted back to my Hanoian life and state of happiness.
I was pretty sure the same thing would happen to me this time, and although at least I could anticipate it, there's no way of avoiding it...however something strange happened. I got home and for the first time it felt like I was a visitor. I was visiting Florida, I was visiting New York, and while visiting is fabulous it's a completely different frame of mind. I no longer felt that the city I spent three and a half years in was mine, and while I enjoyed every second I had there, I just didn't feel home. perhaps it was because I was sleeping on an aerobed, or that everyone was going out of their way to see me, but I stopped mourning the life i left behind and started looking forward to the one I've built for myself in Hanoi.
I will always love New York (and everything it offers) and will probably return there. However, these days, Hanoi is home, and I couldn't be happier about that.