5 Things I Won’t Miss About Living In Vietnam
Overall, my experience living in Hanoi has been immensely positive. I will miss so many things about this city, which you can read about here. However, the time has come to leave. I cannot wait to see what the future will bring.
The pollution in Hanoi, Vietnam has really been a killer for me. On a particularly bad day, the statistics showed that breathing the air was like inhaling five packs of cigarettes. Even on a good day, you can still see the haze in the clouds. I wear a mask while driving my motorbike, but it hasn’t helped much. If you choose to move to Hanoi, I would recommend investing in a high quality face mask with filters!
The Treatment of Animals
As a vegetarian and animal lover, the daily things I witness in Hanoi sadden me. I try to keep in mind cultural differences, but some of the suffering and mistreatment of animals that I have witnessed seems utterly unnecessary. In comparison to what I experienced in Thailand, the life of animals is much worse. I will never forget the sight of 20+ dogs piled on top of each other, ready to be taken to the slaughter-house.
Although many people wait months before they start driving in Hanoi, I hopped onto a motorbike my first week. Yes, it was scary. Yes, I’ve been in four (mostly minor) motorbike crashes. None of them have been my fault.
In Hanoi, red means go, yellow means go, and green means go. There are no rules. Although sometimes this can be exciting- like the ultimate game of Frogger, most of the time it just feels dangerous. After witnessing some gruesome accidents, I was reminded to always be vigilant and take driving very seriously in Hanoi.
My Night Schedule
Although I’m lucky enough to have a fairly lenient schedule, most hours at language centers are in the evenings. This means children as young as 4 in the classroom from hours ranging from 5-10pm. In turn, this makes for a cranky teacher and even crankier students. I prefer teaching in the daytime, but the pay is much less at daytime schools. For more information on how to find teaching jobs in Vietnam, check out the post I wrote here.
Let me preface this. Most Vietnamese people I have met have been generous, kind, and sweet. However, there is a culture that seems permeated in pushiness that I am not used to. I witness this most while driving, where it is literally every man for himself.
I once watched a young teenage girl fall off her motorbike. Not one person stopped to help, and just kept honking for her to get back up. Another instance of this is at the gas stations, where one quite literally has to push their way to the front. This is very against my nature, but a couple of times of waiting patiently while people butted in front of my brought out my feisty side. I am now pushing to the front with the best of them, and that’s not really a quality I want to take when I leave Vietnam.