Well, I thought it was going to be a very different sort of year.
In a few hours, Kenny will call a cab for his pre-dawn ride to the Tan Son Nhat Airport, and his Vietnam experience will be over. And in a few weeks, I will follow suit. Right now we're packing, and I'm freaked out because I just watched a scary movie on a really grainy TV (which makes it so much worse) and the neighbors next door have apparently rented that favorite of Vietnamese household gadgets, the combination karaoke-machine-and-megaphone.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the reason why I came here and what I thought it was going to be like. I feel a few different ways about how it's turned out. On one hand, I think, it's not fair. I wanted to be an au pair. I got psyched up about it all summer long. I signed up for something and prepared for it and it turned out to be not at all what I had agreed to. And then, it was gone. But on the other hand, if the job had turned out the way it was supposed to, I wouldn't have been able to do most of the best things I did this year-- living with Kenny being the top thing, of course, and traveling around Asia for seven weeks. I would have been a live-in au pair, devoting all my time and energy to a family, and all my freedom, too.
I'm not sad, just ponderous. I hope I get the opportunity to be an au pair again at some point. It still sounds fantastic, even though now I know that the possibility of falsely representing yourself or your situation can come from the family, not just the au pair (I mean haven't you heard tons of stories about au pairs, usually eastern European, discovering the nightlife in their new host city and having to be woken up everymorning to take the kids to school still drunk?).
And I guess I'm a little dissapointed in myself for not staying longer. I'm really excited about coming home, especially because I get to live in Vermont, and see my family again. But I can also see how easily I adapted to living in Saigon. This is just one of those great cities that is about to change so fast, that all I can do is be glad I lived here "before." Before the WTO, before all the motorbikes start turning into cars and the roads become congested for all time, before it becomes expensive to live here.
There's no point imagining what your life would be like if things had turned out differently, unless you're unhappy with your life, which I can emphatically say I'm not.
If the karaoke next door doesn't stop soon, however, I may change my mind about that last part.