I moved into my house this past weekend and it’s fantastic! It’s located within a series of alleyways and really close to a beautiful temple. Not going to lie, riding on the back of a motorbike through alleys the first time I went to find the house didn’t seem promising. I was relieved to find a beautiful house and a network of alleyways that are home to a really nice community. Everything you need is within these alleyways. My landlady, who has really become more of a host family mom, took Christian and I to the morning market to buy some food. She showed us the best vendors to buy things from and haggled to get us the best prices.
I’m excited to bargain for myself and tell all the vendors that their prices are too expensive (đắt quá!) no matter what they are. It will be a fun way for me to practice my Vietnamese. That, and starting conversations with people at a bia hơi place! (bia hơi is a micro-brew type beer costing about 25 cents a glass that you can find on street corners all over Hanoi—with one conveniently located 2 minutes from my house!)
So far I love the overall energy of this city. While I might not appreciate the baby crying at midnight in the house only a foot away from mine, or the 5am wake up calls from loudspeakers saying who knows what, there is a sense of community here that is special. Everyone seems to slow down and take the time to connect with those they care about over a meal or a drink. It’s something I look forward to doing more of.