Seeing my little brother for the first time in months as we landed at the airport, our clothes already sticking to us and tears pricking the backs of my eyes. Who knew? Ironically I spent most of my childhood telling him to leave me alone but as I saw his lanky late self appear in the sea of Asian heads I suddenly realised I had missed him.
The first sight of the ocean heading along the coast road towards Mui Ne. Bear and I had hung out in Ho Chi Minh city for months, we had toured the city, checked out museums and the nightlife but now, it felt like the city itself was closing in on us so we booked ourselves a weekend at the coast. No, we didn't know it was 8 hours away but seeing the glistening ocean was like Christmas morning.
Speaking of Christmas morning- our Christmas dinner in McDonalds at the airport in Kuala Lumper was particularly epic. A celebratory feast of mcnuggets and fries was definitely a memory. Not that I didn't miss my parents and Gran sitting around the Christmas table and of course presents and stockings, there is something awesome about wearing shorts and a vest on December 25th.
And of course Christmas trees and sunshine!
Hue was another piece of fantastic, like stepping back in time to a century or more ago. With gas lit lamps and no wifi! A simpler time, with simpler food and a curfew. Hue was where we took our trip to the DMZ and Bear got some Khe Sanh sand and I felt like an extra in a Vietnam war movie. We sweated buckets for three days and I developed an unhealthy addiction to cornettos.
Waiting for Papa to arrive was like waiting for Santa- I had a countdown to 'Daddy Day' and I don't think I'll ever feel so overjoyed again, the way I felt when I saw his head bop head and shoulders over all the Asians at arrivals. I could have clung to him for hours like I used to as a child but I knew he'd be be embarrassed so I choked back tears and led him to a taxi. Some of my favourite memories of being away are from the two weeks I spent with him. Bussing it through Cambodia, crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels and climbing to the top of temples at Angkor Wat- I mean how many of us get to see the one the ancient wonders of the world with their Dad!!?
Celebrating my birthday for the first time without my parents should have been melancholy but thanks to Bear, his visiting parents and my super friend Kyla- I had the most awesome time. Dinner at a French restaurant where on Miss Kyla's assistance they rang a bell in my honour and afterwards to a jazz club for a saxaphone fix!
Hoi An is one of the most special places I have ever visited. The entire town is trapped in a time warp like so much of Vietnam but Hoi An has something more enchanting than any of the others. Specialising in tailoring and lantern making, I bought three beautiful silk lanterns that I can't wait to put up in my new home.
Naturally, I can't talk about my time there without mentioning some of my kindergardeners. So many of my classes were the best fun and most of the time they were such fun. Most of the time. But who can resist these faces?!
But the best thing about going away is the coming home- and one of my favourite life memories is the look on my Grans face when I surprised her coming home. Bear and I had some great adventures i Asia- now on with the adventures back home!