Christmas is being spent in Northumberland with family. Today included a trip to a fresh, breezy, blue-skied Tynemouth – the anti-Hanoi.
Yesterday we got married again. This time with the whole family present, sisters, kids etc and a lovely day was had by all.
For a number of reasons, 2012 has been a trying year for us. In October, on our anniversary, I asked Loan to marry me (again) and yesterday was the culmination of that. It also seemed to break a run of bad luck. Since then a new job has been secured by me and a new cafe opened by Loan.
All of the above means that, for the first time in 12 months, we’re absolutely committed to Hanoi. We wobbled this year and the wobbling made us more unhappy than anything Hanoi could throw at us. In the end all we needed to know was our near future would work out and when that fell into place we happily settled again.
Beyond this the only thing I need to really love/survive Hanoi is an annual day like today in Tynemouth. Head, sinuses and cobwebs cleared.
I will hate Hanoi again. In the middle of next summer, in a pool of sweat, I’ll dream of windy Tynemouth but I’ll also love Hanoi many many times inbetween.
Happy Christmas to all. I hope your year is ending as well as mine is.
When I married my wife she was the first of four sisters to find a husband.
On our way back to Vietnam we learn youngest sister is next up.
We hear the news when we text from Newcastle airport. We arrive jetlagged in Hanoi the best part of a day later.
Just as I start to take for granted the following day off, the last before work starts again, the family swing into action.
My wife is summoned to talk weddings.
We drive across town in now cold, damp and wet Hanoi. On arrival father in law offers me a brandy. I say no half a dozen times before I give up and just drink the thing.
They discuss the plan.
Since I have last been in the room the family had purchased a large flat screen TV. It plays continually over the top of the conversation.
I am referred to only once. Could I take the pictures? Every picture I have ever taken has been on auto setting. This is too much pressure but my protests fall on deaf ears. The decision is made.
A couple of hours later we return. It takes the best part of an hour through traffic. Hanoi is now wetter and colder still.
Soon-to-be-married sister follows us to try on my wife’s ao dai and wedding dress. A friend of my wife’s turns up to pick up the baby clothes she requested we purchase on her behalf when we were in the UK. They start a long conversation about how cheap shirts are in Britain. This will surely mean buying shirts for this lady’s entire extended family next time we travel.
Then an alarm goes off on my wife’s phone. A reminder. It’s her brother’s birthday! In all the wedding planning it has been forgotten. She rings the family home. Father in law isn’t happy at the oversight so invites us all the way back for an impromptu birthday dinner.
My wife, sensing that I may not fancy another trip across town and yet more wedding chat, plays up my cold. I am excused.
She goes. They eat hotpot with prawns and squid. I stay at home and eat half the “quiet dinner” I had prepared for the two of us before birthday plans evolved.
The engagement (an hoi) and wedding are scheduled between now and Tet. No time like the present. Nothing is finalised but I’m keeping my shoes shined and suit pressed.
My boss has been warned that family events could come at any point and I will need to be excused from work.
It’s good to be back.