Wow. What a busy few days.
I have spent the last week or so settling into my new job as well as my new apartment. Andoni, Jess, and I finally got to move into our gorgeous two-bedroom apartment in Royal City. It has a massive kitchen, dining room, and lounge. I also finally got my own bedroom and bathroom which is great. My room is small but manageable, equipped with a single bed, desk, and closet. I’ve tried to make it a little more ‘homey’ by putting up pictures and artwork. The apartment is in the same complex as the previous one, but a different building, so we are still right above the mall and gym which is very convenient (especially since Jess and I are on a workout mission).
Last week, I spent most of my time at work. Because I am teaching at a new centre, we spent the first few days recruiting students and organising classes. The kids are really sweet, making it easy to go into work every day. They all know my name now (they call me Teacher Dani) and I like to think I am getting to know all of them slowly but surely as individuals. Obviously it will take a little time though.
On Saturday evening I met up with a bunch of my work friends and headed to Hanoi Rock City in Tay Ho for an night of drinks and jazz. We had such a fun time out together. I love having the opportunity to meet and make friends with people from all over the world. Most of the people I work with are from the US, but I’ve also met people from London, Norway, and – of course – Vietnam itself.
This week, I’ve found myself finally getting into a routine. Every day, I wake up, go to gym, get some food, prep for class, and then head off to work for my evening lessons. Having everything planned out like this has made me feel even more settled and at home in this new country. I’ve also booked a little trip to Thailand on 24 April for a visa run. Unfortunately I won’t get to spend much time there because of work and finances, but it’s just so that I can get my business visa (I’m still here on a tourist visa) and then eventually get my work permit. Working without a permit means that I am being taxed way higher (20% as opposed to 11%).
Thursday was a public holiday known as the Hung Kings Temple Festival. It honours the Hùng Vương, the traditional founders of Vietnam. It was nice to have the day off to relax and get some things done around the house. The three of us went into the Old Quarter to buy new mattresses. Some of you may have heard my moans and groans about the hard mattresses that the Vietnamese sleep on to improve posture, however all I felt was sore and sleep-deprived. So we went to get some mattress toppers to put on top of the harder mattresses just to soften them a bit. We ended up exploring town a little bit after that. Each street in the Old Quarter has a specific name and market. One street will be known as bed street, and the stores in that street will only sell bed supplies. The same goes for curtain street, metal street, paint street, shoe street, and kitchen street. It’s actually very convenient because you know exactly where to go if you need something. We also bought some baking things (I felt like making muffins) and some artwork to put around the house. We then came home with all of our shopping bags and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and watching movies.
Yesterday, however, things got a little interesting. I went to an interview at a kindergarten and I kind of got the job. Which means I’m kind of going to be working two full-time jobs. I’m extremely thrilled and excited, but I know it will be a lot of hard work and very little down time. I will basically be working Monday-Friday from 7:15 until 20:45 (13.5 hours) and then on weekends from about 15:45-20:45 (depending on the day). I think I can manage it, considering that I am primarily here to work and earn money. If I can limit my spending for now I will be able to save a good deal of money over the next 12 months.
So that’s my update for the time being. I’m off to work (on a Saturday evening even) but I guess it’s my life now, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else at the moment.