Goodbye phở now but not phở-ever

It may be a bit corny but I love you Vietnam

Never have I felt so welcome in a foreign environment. When I walk down the streets I am guaranteed to be met with countless ‘hellos’, smiling faces, street food galore and a range of unusual activities to keenly observe. Vietnamese people aren’t afraid to hug you on your first encounter, invite you in for a meal, hand you a beer at 11am, laugh at you or immediately ask personal questions (Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want a Vietnamese boyfriend? How much did you pay for that?). Vietnam is a nation who likes to wake up early, wear their pyjamas outside, hide from the sun, share food, celebrate loudly and treat friends as family.

How can you not love a country which has stores that just sell remotes? I'm not sure how competitive this market is so can't endorse investment at this point.

Some reasons why I fit in well with the Vietnamese culture: - We both like a good deal - We both like fresh food - We both like to get up early - We bot…

Vietnam upfront – you never would have Nguyễn it

It’s been 7 months living and breathing Vietnam, with a touch of Laos and Thailand. I still have a ‘what the hell Vietnam’ moment most days which only increases my curiosity and understanding of the culture’s intricacies. Whether it’s a swan lake performance at a Vietnamese wedding or being gifted the chicken head and feet for my birthday, there is always something to laugh about.

Here’s my latest insights:
1. The street seller is the rawest form of business to be admired
Street sellers are trade in its most pure and honest form. The farmers who bring their produce straight to the market cut out all middle-men in the value chain. Street-side food stores buy their goods direct from the markets, reducing the value-chain to 2 parties. No land ownership is required and all their assets can be contained within the one mobile cart, or packed onto a motorbike. Minimising parties involved in bringing goods from the producer to the consumer maximises profits and reduces complexities. This labori…

A phở-real 5 months

Schools out! I have now finished my university semester in Hanoi. Over 5 months I’ve saddled more people on the back of motorbikes than I feel is appropriate to number, accidentally used skin whitening shower gel, changed my iPhone language to Vietnamese and narrowly escaped death multiple times on Vietnam’s hectic roads.
Hanoi has certainly been unforgettable.
I can now add a couple more items to the ‘Never have I ever…except in Vietnam’ list: - Changed footwear 3 times to get to the bathroom (living room, kitchen and bathroom sandals) - Been obsessed with condensed milk (fresh milk is hard to come by) - Sang ‘Thank you I love you’ after every yoga class - Been told to put banana on my skin to get rid of my freckles - Drank snake’s blood (see proof below)

Top Lessons Learnt (Part 2)1. Time is a constructExpect everything to start early, but also expect delays. For example, one of my lectures started at 6:45am every Monday morning. However, the 2pm bus may come anytime from 1:50 - 3pm.

2. Ma…