Strikin’ it middle class

Greetings, all.

I humbly apologise for my absence these past few months. 😅 We’ve been dealing with a couple of hurdles and I was feeling discouraged about penning my thoughts, I’m sure you know how it is.

To pick up on where we left off, our teaching endeavours have been going swimmingly this past while. D’s on vacation (the fortunate sod) and I’ve been working through this summer break teaching at three Montessori-based preschools in the city. The work is fun and rewarding, but it does definitely take its toll on one’s stress levels!

Quite a bit has happened since we last met.

We moved out of our shoebox apartment and into a sizeable double-storey house…

We rescued two naughty puppies, Peanut and Dougal…

And we got engaged!

So things have been pretty insane here for some time, especially financially.

Something to always keep in mind when relocating is that you’ll be drowning in expenses for the first several months. I’ve found that extreme budgeting and stringent managing of funds is the only way to go, unless you’re a trillionaire who is above such things.

It helps to allocate funds to categories such as rent, petrol, household goods, water and electricity, savings to put aside (maybe even a self-care category if you have a little extra income) and then work out your food budget from what remains. It’s not difficult to eat cheaply in this country, thank goodness!

On the whole, things are looking up after the duscouraged slump we’ve been in lately. I think we’re finally strikin’ it middle class.

Sayonara,

– B

Big city life

I hath returned!

Well, turns out all of our flights landed accordingly and we touched down in HCMC on the third of February feeling extremely excited and engulfed by a blanket of heat the minute we stepped outside.

We spent the initial few days having a blast gadding about town, and our very first night was spent with a friend of D’s in Bui Vien, the “walking street” of District 1, with it’s colorful explosions of light and sound, and the hundreds of market stalls overrun with people. My very first meal in the city was a dish of street food – grilled squid, to be precise – and it was delicious.

We live in a small but comfortable apartment in one of the most “neighbourly” areas of District 2, surrounded by a plethora of restaurants, spas, schools and small businesses and it makes every trip down to the grocery store exciting.

One of my favorite places we’ve visited so far has been the Villa Royale antique shop and tea room, which is run by a very friendly and helpful Australian proprietor. They stock a range of delicious teas and treats, but I selected a beef lasagne dish accompanied by the best salad I’ve ever tasted, along with a cup of cardamom chai tea (pictured below).

We also went to the most romantic spot in Ho Chi Minh City, Starlight Bridge, which is situated right next to a gorgeous park. The light show/waterfall effect of the bridge is absolutely phenomenal and we are delighted to have seen it. We intend to return!

Here we are at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, admiring the exhibits and artefacts that commemorate modern Saigon and the lives these incredible people have built for themselves, rising from the ashes of the Vietnam War (or the American War, as it is known here).

It hasn’t all been fun and games, though. Apart from the tedious nature of the job-seeking process, our trip to the War Remnants Museum was both eye-opening and devastating, and I think it enlightened us both to the cruel nature of the war in a way we’d never experienced before, and we came away more understanding than when we’d arrived.

We start our term of employment as Grade 1 and kindergarten teachers once Vietnamese New Year is over, and we’re both itching to begin. ^v^

Adieu for now, ladies and gents.

– B

We’re going on a trip in an airborne metal ship

Greetings, everyone, my name is Bianca and you appear to have stumbled across my blog.

It’s exactly thirty days until the man of my dreams and I are due to jet off to leave the land of our birth, South Africa, for the considerably more attractive prospects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

I’m terribly excited, especially considering the fact that I was a very dissatisfied waitress and then language consultant a few months back. This trip signifies the start of a brand-spanking-new life.

WOOHOO!

I can’t say that I’m without my concerns, the most obvious one in my case being the probable event of my getting very, very lost. I’m counting on D (Himself) to steer me in the right direction whenever required. I’m also going to have to learn Vietnamese and I’m concerned that I might accidentally liken someone’s mother to a beached whale or something if I’m not careful. Ah, the struggles of life.

The passports are done and our visas are all set but I still have oodles of packing to do…and yet I still feel elated and satisfied with my lot. I am assailed by the niggling feeing that I’ll be stepping onto the plane and suddenly realise that I’ve forgotten something vitally important like the world’s most reliable pair of tweezers but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it…

Our grand trip centres around teaching English in Asia, as we’re both scar-riddled veterans of that field. I adore teaching, especially the little ones, bless their cotton socks. There’s something so endearing about having small children with huge doe eyes beaming at you and reverently scribbling down everything you happen to say. You could be teaching them numbers from one to ten and still feel like the Oracle of yore. I think it’s a universal thing.

D and I are thrilled to be moving in together at last. At least our trial living-together has been a roaring success, what with no nuclear explosions taking place and all. Personally, I’m itching to bust out my repressed interior-decorating passions and “feather the nest”. Patience is of the essence for the time being, alas. It’ll be the suitcase life for a while yet.

Words can’t do justice to how happy I am to be able to embark on this grand adventure with D, who is pretty much the most glorious human being on the planet. *pauses to gush* Whether he’s waking me up with a steaming cup of my favourite tea or wrestling me in the throes of a merciless tickle fight that has me screaming blue murder (to his eternal glee) I know that I’m bizarrely fortunate to have him in my life, and that I can’t wait for the rest of our lives to begin.

Anywho, if you don’t know what to expect from this higgledy-piggledy blog, rest assured, neither does the author. (*sticks head into sand, ostrich-style*) I’m intending to keep this as a diary of our travels and adventures, with possible outfits and makeup inspiration, or some good old fashioned photography, once I find a decent enough camera. D fully supports the idea and I’m hoping it’ll be a project both of us can enjoy for years to come. He might make the occasional cameo writing about our daytrips, bikes and cars every once in a while.

For now, I must bid you adieu, until our flight lands at Tan Son Naht International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Ye Gods, let’s hope it does actually land.

Hold thumbs for us!

– B