October 24, 2013

Day 15 – Speedy Saigon

Before I set off for Vietnam, my life was pretty crazy


I spent the last two years studying a masters in Law with Birkbeck University.  Initially, I was enthusiastic and managed to complete most of the reading before or after work.  However, towards the end I couldn’t wait to finish my dissertation.  I completed and submitted it on the 30th of August.  I enjoyed studying law but have yet to figure out what to do with it.


At work, soon after I handed in my notice, we were informed that my manager was also leaving the organisation.  The two of us leaving was one change and more was to follow.  My line of work is pretty stressful and whilst I was used to it, I felt I needed a break.   I worked until the 4th of October and initially was due to fly on the 6th of October.


My grandmother had not been well so my parents flew out to Madagascar to see her before I left for Vietnam.  I changed my flight so my parents could see me off on the 9th of October but my grandmother then passed away. So my parents stayed in Madagascar and I decided to keep my flight.  Not an easy decision by any means and whilst I would have loved to see by parents before my flight, I feel like I made the right decision.


By the time I left, I knew I wanted to get away, I wanted a break from my work, life and London.  I arrived in Vietnam with this expectation that I would get away from all the craziness and chaos and life would be slower here.  I came with the feeling that I would find peace, I would feel more zen and I would just be able to slow down. However, I soon realised, that this would not be the case.  Life here is just as busy, crazy and fast-paced as in London.  I came all this way searching for this calmness which is neither here nor back home.  However, recently, I realised that I will have to find and maintain some kind of peace no matter where I am.  So, perhaps even a slow-paced life in Saigon would not have resulted in me finding this peace.  I’m now sat here thinking about personal mastery and how to fit that in whilst I’m in Vietnam.

Peaceful, beautiful park in the heart of Saigon

Peaceful, beautiful park in the heart of Saigon


I have always been passionate about helping people, in fact, that’s pretty much all I know.  Growing up, I knew all the jobs that weren’t for me and well I never really worked out what line of work was me.  The only thing I worked out, after completing my history degree, was I wanted to help people.  So initially, I applied to become a teacher but soon realised that teaching children the same subject day in day out wasn’t for me either.  I then decided to apply for social work and through my placements here, I applied to work as an independent domestic violence advocate. There are many causes that I would love to support but I feel strongly about supporting women, children and the homeless.  This is partly what motivated me to apply for voluntary work in Vietnam.  It was my dream, as crazy as it may seem, to volunteer aboard and work in an orphanage so being here is a dream come true for me.