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  • nathalie03981

Slow days

What can I say? So far Vietnam did not go as planned. Everything started with an exciting idea. After two days in Hanoi I was ready to embark on a four day motorbike tour, known as the „Ha Giang Loop“.

Here`s the thing. Usually, I don`t get my expectations up for anything (The „Expect nothing, appreciate everything“-kinda vibe). But ever since I`ve been traveling, I`ve met a few people who have completed the Ha Giang Loop. Every single one of them told me that those days created some of their favorite memories ever. And boy did their eyes sparkle when they talked about it. So yes. My expectations were high. However, when the tour began I didn`t feel very well. But with a stomach full of butterflies and a heart full of excitement, I decided to take some painkillers and leave for the tour anyways. Big mistake. I somehow managed to get through the day. After driving through the dusty roads all day long we were greeted at a Homestay with a family dinner. The atmosphere was lovely and we were taught how to say „Cheers“ with happy water (rice wine). The tour leader also encouraged everyone to engage in some heartfelt karaoke songs. Luckily, I managed to skip the queue for that. Eventhough it was a lot of fun, I decided to go to bed early. I had a fever and couldn`t sleep. So after a sleepless night I left the tour the next morning to go back to Ha Giang. What followed was a bit of a nightmare. I had several health issues which made me go to the hospital three times (over a period of 72 hours). First, I got tested for malaria (which, luckily, turned out to be negative). Then I got an MRI done. Lastly, I got an electrocardiogram. Somehow, I had trouble breathing and felt extremely dizzy. As I was lying in the hospital bed, short of breath, I had a song stuck in my head: „With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite. How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.“ That made me smile a little. 

Anyhow, the doctors couldn`t find anything seriously wrong with me, so they sent me „home“ in the morning. For the last couple of days I`ve been staying at a hostel in Cat Ba. My days consist of sleeping, reading, going for a 20min walk, trying to eat, sleeping, reading, sleeping. Every time I walk past the reception, they ask me how I`m doing. I always respond with a crooked smile and say „I`m okay.“ Because yeah, I`m not great but I`m also not extremely ill. I just feel exhausted and breathing still hurts sometimes. All I really crave at the moment is boredom and solitude. I feel like I`ve had enough excitement for the next couple of weeks. In moments like these it is very easy to feel homesick. Have I looked up flights back to Switzerland? Yes. But at the moment I am focused on getting better. I`ll take it day by day. All I want is to feel normal again. It`s also very easy to feel sad. I`m sad that I didn`t get to finish the Ha Giang Loop. I`m sad whenever I hear other backpackers talk about their plans for the following days. Knowing very well that I won`t be seeing much of this country within my time here. I think those feelings are valid. And I want to acknowledge them. On the other hand, I`ve already gotten to experience so, so much. And I consider myself lucky that I am not seriously ill. Very lucky. So maybe I can try to find the positive in slowing things down. I have to accept that the bare minimum is more than enough at the moment. Last night, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a beautiful little quote: Knowing when to stop is self love, not failure. I`ll let you know if/when I find the positive aspects in this slow little life of mine.

Talk to you soon (hopefully) 

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