Predictably, as soon as I got out of quarantine, life took hold and I left blogging behind.
It’s been a whirlwind three weeks. And as I find myself with time on my hands today, I figured it’d be a good idea to take stock of where I am since my move to Ho Chi Minh City.
The priority once I got out of quarantine was to settle in and make myself at home. This was relatively uncomplicated and consisted of:
- Unpacking: Done in a couple of hours the day after I moved in
- Buying groceries: Flossy pork and freshly grounded coffee in the fridge, instant noodles in the cupboard, and lots and lots of beer
- Getting to know Thao Dien: We live in “Expat Central” and it was a joy to discover while zooming around on the back of my partner’s bike the dizzying array of restaurants and cafes within a ten-minute radius from home. There’s even a New York bagel place, and yesterday we ate at a Balkan restaurant. The variety of food available here is impressive, to say the least.
The Domestic Life
Apart from settling into the new flat and new city, I’m also moving in with my partner of over 2 years for the first time. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s been very little friction to living together and in three weeks we’ve synced up in various ways:
- Wake-up and bed times: I used to wake up super early (4-5am) and go to bed super early (6-7pm), but I’ve now shifted my hours backwards so I wake up with my partner’s alarm (6:30am) and we have a couple of hours together chilling in the evening. The trick to this, I discovered, was to take my bipolar medication later in the day. This was the culprit behind me feeling impossibly sleepy in the early hours of the evening. Since shifting my medication time, I’ve been able to stay up until 9-10pm with no difficulty. Issue solved!
- Finances: We’ve been using Splitwise to track our household spending, taxis, eating out, etc. It’s been pretty easy and useful.
- Space: My partner has a job which requires confidentiality, so he works most of the time from his office which is just across the road, while I normally set up shop for my remote job in the living room/kitchen area. When he watches TV in the living room over breakfast, I just put in my earphones and play ambient cafe soundscapes. If my partner needs to take a confidential call, he goes into the bedroom and shuts the door, and I put on my earphones so I don’t hear.
- Food: We share the groceries bill and have been alternating cooking. I started cooking again after not having cooked anything for years, and am immensely enjoying presenting my partner with a variety of oyster-sauce-based dishes, to the point where he’s starting to good-naturedly protest for more variety.
- Communication: We’ve always been pretty good at communication, and communicating face-to-face is far easier than doing it over a chat app or a phone call, so this has been very smooth since moving in together. We’re both very direct people and (I’d like to think) quite emotionally intelligent. None of the passive aggression and making unjustified assumptions about each other.
Both my partner and I have been working non-stop for the past few months, he more so than I as I’ve been on a few short trips here and there. But both of us wanted to unwind so we went to Vung Tau, a quiet beach town, for a 3-night getaway. It was good and probably much needed. We found the perfect spot: a fancy hotel’s private beach that you have to pay $10 per head per day to use, but it was worth it. We lounged for two days straight by their pool, swam, read, and just let ourselves drift off to the sound of the sea.
The Work Life
I got back to work this week and launched straight into an exciting new project. Nothing much to say here except that it was great to be back at work and it was comfortable enough to work from my new work set-up in the living room. The chair (which used to be the bane of my existence at my condo) is comfortable and I can sit up straight and not hurt my bum. Which is all I ask for really. And I get plenty of light coming in through the bay window. Nothing to complain!
One thing which went on pause while I was in quarantine was all affairs related to my company. But this week since getting back from the short beach holiday I’ve had meetings with my company accountant and bank manager, and (fingers crossed) I believe all the issues have been resolved. It’s not easy to figure out the financial management for my company, but I think my accountant and I have found a good solution. I’ve also learned how to withdraw and deposit money at the bank, including where the ladies’ are (which is very important).
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle, creating a new community in Ho Chi Minh City. From the first week, I’d met up a couple of times with my partner’s closest friends whom I’d met before while visiting him in Hanoi. And things seem to be going well on that front. We’re continuing conversations over chat and it’s nice to spend time with them.
But also yesterday we went out to dinner with a bunch of people I’d not met before, and for the first time in over a year I got to introduce myself to someone new and get to know them. This was very pleasant and I surprised myself realising that I’d missed it.
This coming week I’ll be catching up with a former colleague who lives and works here, and also catching up virtually with a good friend. Now that work and company stuff is kind of sorted, I’m happy to get back to meeting people. I’ve missed my coffees!
And that’s pretty much it, a recap of my three weeks more for my benefit than for yours.
In short, life in Ho Chi Minh City has been great, and I’m very happy I made the move here.
Until next time.