It's funny how fast you end up adapting to a new environment. Everything that felt like taken out of a movie from another world just two weeks ago has started to feel normal. At least I don't feel like dropping my jaw every time I turn a corner. And that feels good! There are still a lot of new impressions out there, but the city in itself feels pretty safe and friendly, even though I am very aware of the fact that most vietnamese people treat me like a complete alien. I'll give you some examples of what I've come to consider as "normal".
1) The currency. After having adapted completely to the euro, I found it close to insane to withdraw two million vietnamese dollars, which equals approximately 67 euros. Paying 100'000 in a restaurant seemed pretty far out. And 40'000 for a taxi ride? It was impossible to talk about money without sounding nonchalant. Another issue here is that the Vietnamese only use notes. So imagine the size of that wallet when you fill it up with notes of 1000, 5000, 10'000, 20'000 etc... I didn't feel too smart when trying to pay for a drink looking like a 5 year old handling money for the first time in her life... But now? Being a millionaire has never felt more natural.
2) The traffic. The perception of the circulation went from exhausting in the beginning, to annoying after a little while. At the time being, I consider it a brilliant way to having the pavement to myself. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean getting to enjoy a comfortable stroll looking at whatever interesting sight catches your eyes. Your eyes must ALWAYS be on the road; to the left, then right, back left, a head of you and then over your shoulder. The result; I've gotten pretty used to sharpen my brain before the morning coffee!
3) Lacking the necessary language. In the beginning, having to interact with people not understanding even the most simple questions, like "Where is the nearest supermarket?", which turned into "Supermarket??", made me feel both desperate (I was very hungry) and frustrated. After all, I'm staying here for 6 months. However, after a while I understood that words are overrated. And Google maps is not. Besides, when I from time to time meet a Vietnamese person speaking English, I feel like a proud mother hearing her child speak his first meaningful sentence. Gratefulness has got a whole new meaning.
4) The vibrating nightlife. I'm not talking about the clubbing, but rather the nightlife taking place in the streets. Families of three generations having dinner on the sidewalk, a place they seem to consider as their more or less private porch. Half naked children running around shouting "hello! hello!" when I pass them, random chickens searching the concrete for leftovers, elderly bent over enormous pots of steaming food, men with rolled up tank tops flashing their stomachs, the sound of a singing woman on a stage competing with the sound of the motorbikes rushing by. Nothing is more ordinary.
As you can see, my everyday life has become quite normal...