No longer living in Hanoi — just living

Arriving in Hanoi without responsibilities is akin to freshers week revisited — even if, as I was, you’re well into your thirties.

You arrive with little self-awareness of your reaction to your new home. Your observations may be old and your opinions un-educated but within the right crowd they’ll be indulged.

Time passes. Your friends are those who arrived when you did and didn’t leave. Though they continue to do so. What you have learned along the way distances you from newcomers.

The more you come to accept Hanoi — the more you make a commitment to the city — the less it dominates your life. You are no longer living in Hanoi. You’re just living.

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