He’s Out, Baby
Last week JD left Vietnam. In many ways it feels like the final curtain call on our time in Da Nang. When I left, it was a certain close of a chapter. But, he carried on our connection to our fun, fancy-free and sometimes (fabulously?) dysfunctional life there. When he left, we really, actually left. And I really, actually moved here.
It’s a bit sad. And a bit happy.
I already miss our friendly friends and our warm-water, tropical-aqua ocean, and our obscurely endangered monkey, and my average class size of eight wonderfully behaved and motivated students, and a culture of welcoming manners and hospitality, and the wind-in-hair joy of driving scooter through a video game-esq road block each day, and the massive bamboo that arched o’er the road trip day adventure, and the fact that we were temporarily and comparatively rich, and temporarily, incomparably cool, and – oh! – did I mention the friends? I miss that wonderful life and often wonder why I actively, inconveniently chose to leave it.
There have been moments of frustration, discouragement, even moments a part of me wished the Green Card would be denied so as to give us legitimate couple reason to abandon ship. But that’s moving. Wait, no, that’s moving internationally to a home that should be your home and could be your home but actually you’re suddenly more not-from-there than from-there home.
I cling to my outsider’s perspective with appreciation for being different. I hope that, no matter how long we live here, I don’t lose sight of certain foreign facts I’ve found along the forage. It’s not necessary to buy so much. It’s not necessary to eat so much. It’s not necessary to own a gun for home protection. It is necessary to go to the doctor without fear of what your insurance card will reveal – and restrict. It’s necessary to have a baby with maternity leave guaranteed. It is necessary that even high school students have recess.
But I hope among my foreign-found infallibles we also learn from (being home in) America. I’m already being reminded of what Here has to offer. And, despite the arrogant tone of the last paragraph, I know that USA does not have to prove herself to us. In fact we’ve spent the last 18 months proving ourselves to her. Here in America I’m reminded that, while the news may report us going up in flames, right here, right now, I find my same old, same wonderful home. Here we do, actually debate and not just yell. We do continue to be a country of genuinely good people. Here we accept criticism of “America”; the political policies and inequalities; but do bristle at Facebook-level international critique of “Americans”; the people who we are more-outwardly-looking-than-you-may-think. Here I am happy to invite my husband in to join in the red, white and blue.
JD has left Vietnam. With this I leave as well. There will still remain our friends, our respect for that incredible country and still a certain feeling of home. But when he flew, I, at last, fully, finally accepted where our plane lands and the life we start togeth-o from here. I hope this is the right next move. I hope we’re happy. I know we have a lot to lose and a lot to gain. When we moved to Vietnam five years ago it did not immediately become our home. But now it is cashing in unexpectedly sentimental poker chips in order to go all in at the next Home table. I will miss you, Vietnam, but wish us all the best on our journey.