It's been hard to write over the last month. Christmas and family time were fantastic but Omicron reared its ugly head and everyone became wary of life again, and that small window of feeling a little like normal was gone. We were in the centre of it here in my hometown and it was scary to be looking at everyone around you every time you left the house thinking 'Do they have it? Will I get it?' But then I told myself to get a grip and think of all the amazing frontline workers - nurses, doctors, teachers, grocery store workers, truckies - who have kept us going and who have had to live with that fear in much closer circumstances than me. I also remind myself that although any death from this insidious disease is hard, there are many others in many countries around the world who don't have the wonderful health and support systems we have access to, and just the fact that we can bitch about those systems and the politicians who supposedly run them, is a luxury they do not have.
So - it's cup half full for me. I'm home with family after years of living abroad, I have a very nice roof over my head, plenty of food and drink (despite the rush on sausages and toilet paper - seriously!), a new puppy who is just the cutest thing, and I've have decided to put head down and bum up and write as many positive and uplifting stories as I can to help make 2022 a better year than the last.
Revitalised, reinvigorated and ready to write again! It is SO good to be home in Australia. I know Covid is not great here right now, but I'm so thankful to be back in this wonderful country. Lockdown here is very different to lockdown in Vietnam and I feel for my friends and colleagues still there who are doing it so much tougher than I am. I walk the beaches near our house every morning revelling in the fresh air and the smell of the ocean. I walk to the local supermarket. I cook for my family and touch base with friends I haven't seen for two years. And I'm writing again. I am so very fortunate.
Tet or Lunar New Year is upon us with the Year of the Ox being heralded in this Friday. It's meant to be a time of celebration here in Vietnam and a time of sharing, of hope, and of family. For those lucky enough to have family close, their celebrations, although subdued, will be together. For those whose families are further away, it means finding friends to celebrate with instead this year. This is because last week saw a resurgence of Covid, which brought with it remote learning and another lockdown - just before celebrations are about to kick off. But I still count us among the fortunate, as Vietnam has done an amazing job of being on top of any outbreaks and keeping cases to a minimum.
We were lucky enough to squeeze in our school Tet celebration before last week, which meant I got to participate in my last one before heading home to Australia next July. It was colourful, noisy and as always, great fun. Happy Year of the Ox!
I count myself and my family among the lucky ones this year. Even though my husband and I couldn't get home to Australia for Christmas, our grown up children were able to be together and spend the time with extended family. Covid is pretty much under control here in Vietnam so we can travel and enjoy getting together with friends. And of course technology meant that we could Skype in and feel part of the celebrations back home. That would not have happened when we were here 26 years ago with our four year old daughter. Back then virtual visits weren't around and a phone call home was USD$6.00 per minute! So we spent the days over Christmas 2020 in Dalat, in the Vietnamese highlands. The weather was cool, the pine forests beautiful and the sightseeing interesting. The area has certainly changed a lot in those 26 years. More 'western' things are readily available now, but tourism has not been as kind to the environment as it could or should be. Let's hope 2021 will be better in so many ways. Here are a few of the highlights - hotel Christmas tree and gardens, Elephant Falls, Crazy House, Cu Lan village and the Cricket Farm. And although the cricket dishes looked yummy, we weren't brave enough to try!