What the hell happened? New years 2011 I remember pulling Tarot cards that were a bit ominous, the Seven of Swords or something, and getting so drunk I kinda blanked on what me and my friends got up to in the secret attic-den in the back of our apartment. Deep shit or acrobatics or just guitars and whiskey sours, probably. But the point is, I once lived with 8 (+) people on a key street corner in the Mile End part of Montreal, and life was easy and thoughtless. I had a boring job I was perfect at. I had a boyfriend who was intriguing but not quite right for me. I saw my family intermittently and I went out dancing sometimes. It was a good life. I had time and space to make art.
And then. Something huge. It would test the limits of casual blogging to really explain how it happened, but I fell in love harder than I’ve ever before, and I’ve loved a lot of people. My roommate actually… and the world transformed overnight. We nestled in bed and on mountaintops and cast intensely dreamy spells for a few months and then promptly decided to move to Vietnam. My career wasn’t going anywhere, his was impossible to start in a French-speaking town, and for the love of all that’s worth living for – we were BORED!
Then the middle of the year came, the ominous Tarot cards reared their terrible heads, and a lot of shitty stuff happened in this part of 2012. Bed bugs. Estrangements. Family problems. Ill-fated vacations. Refugee status. I shan’t get into it. We made it though, waved goodbye to the city we’d known for seven years and – like a switch getting flipped – stepped onto that airplane.
Fast forward, and allow the requisite sparkle-eyed newbie fascination with an incredible country. The dark of the summer made way for september lights like comets to blast through our cramped heads, letting an even bigger sky through. I now have a job that requires me to make money for my boss, and not sandwiches. The bf has a job that’s polishing and nurturing the intellectual nascents of Vietnam and they are very lucky to have him. And speaking of sandwiches, there’s stand outside our righteous apartment that sells a pretty good Banh mi (and plates of fresh fruit with chili & salt) for 50c, and in these ways – among truly countless others – life is good.
It’s also kinda come full circle lately and I can sense some parts of the person I used to be returning, now that the shell-shock of the first few months of expat-dom have abated, mostly. I’m playing music again, eating whole grains, talking to people and forgetting where we are, putting on poses for no reason, pizza has entered the easy midweek dinner rotation, and indeed, we went out dancing for New Years. Yes, in Hanoi! The city of no nightlife threw a metallic confetti’d rager that careened on until dawn, and I was wide awake to see 5 am peak over streets so silent they seemed made of ancient petrified paper. I wasn’t even drunk, unless you count Red Bull.
An improvement. The first of many, even if I can’t see four weeks ahead of me, even now. It’s just a feeling, like standing at the edge of a huge dark meadow, absolute mystery inside, but I’m there, not somewhere else. Real adventure. And hopefully, an even wilder year than the one before it.
Happy Gregorian New Year.