The Big Move to Saigon
According to our family and friends we have…
1. Lost Our Minds.
2. Acting a Fool.
3. Raising the Bar.
………. “Why Not?”
Our wonderful year in Korea came to an end, our bank accounts were feeling our big trip through India and Nepal, and we had no choice but once again give into the whole working thing. And, Vietnam was our land of opportunity. I was all jitters on the plane ride over & kept going trying to reaffirm myself with– “Stop thinking, it’s too late to back out now…” We decided to move to a developing nation with NOTHING but 2 bags and a stack of printed-off resumes. You can probably understand my whole– ‘stop thinking and breathe’ on the plane ride over!?!
We did our research & life sounded to good to be true for English teachers in Vietnam. There are so many English schools- so obviously– English teachers are in high demand. The problem is no one wants to give you a job until you are here, in the flesh, standing in front of them smiling with resume and college diploma in-hand. There’s no job security before you buy your Vietnam visa or flight, you just have to buy the damn ticket and have your luck with it. We checked into our hostel February 7th and gave ourselves a deadline. By March 7th, we would have a job, have a motorbike, and a swanky Vietnamese apartment. However, factor in a new country, new culture, new language barrier to overcome, and 4 months of previous laziness… the next month wasn’t going to be fun or easy!
We dove in head first. Who cares if I lost my original college diploma the day before flying out or if Rhys moved to the hottest place on the planet with no shorts or summer wear (not our brightest moments). Word of advice: if you go to D.C. to get your diploma certified, make sure the damn people there give it back to you before you leave!!!! We dusted off skirts, ties, and dress shirts and took to the hot, sweaty Saigon Streets. The easiest way to get around the city before owning a motorbike are the xe om drivers. Xe om drivers our random guys who own a bike, are usually sleeping on it parked on a busy sidewalk, and when you need a ride you give them a poke to wake up, and they whisk you off to wherever it is your going. Xe om means ‘motorbike hug’ because that’s exactly what you’re doing, squeezing the life out of the driver as he weaves through city traffic and your pray for your life. The first few outings with xe om‘s in Saigon traffic you’re definitely praying too! We hired our drivers for $5/4 hours, handed them a list of 20 school addresses and were off to find our dream jobs. After 3 days of on-the-spot interviews, sweaty dress clothes, xe om drivers, 50-ish schools, and resumes, resumes, resumes our search was over. Interviews were scheduled, demo classes were taught, and within 2 weeks of our month-long deadline we were once again in the workforce.
Everything happened so fast, as expected in a city as chaotic and fast-paced as Saigon. We painfully looked at so many apartments and houses before we finally found home. A little house split into two different apartments equipped with a cute balcony full of plants and my personal favorite– a palm tree. I have a palm tree on my front porch! In Korea we shared the ‘batman bike‘ but we both found great deals on motorbikes and splurged on our own this time around. In less than a month we each had 2 jobs, an adorable little apartment, and our own set of wheels. We really did it!
& now for the fun… Vietnam lays at our feet, a whole new country to dive into and take on!