Change is the only constant

The only thing that stays the same is change. Wise words oft repeated by a friend: and quite apt for Ha Noi.

Maybe it is being an expat/white immigrant that makes life here in the Vietnamese capital feel a touch transient.

People come and go constantly. Someone appears on your personal radar, shines brightly for a few months then leaves, sometimes as quickly as they arrived.

Bicycle and motorbike parked in rural Vietnam

No matter your own status or plans it is difficult to escape the notion that you are living in the moment. A moment that can’t be recreated in every detail. Life, then, constantly appears to be a snapshot in time. (Maybe this is true no matter where you are.)

After living here for any length of time you gather around yourself a tight group of friends and hang out regularly at the bia hoi, the gym or karaoke. Enjoy this while you can, it ain’t going to live forever. For there are people in your world that will leave your orbit, or vice versa, that you are only ever going to know face to face for a relatively short time here in Ha Noi.

Okay, there are social media and the net etc. But it is no substitute for the proper face time you have right now, right here. Six months down the line, you or them will be gone. Something new and exciting will be happening elsewhere and the precious times you shared in Ha Noi will most likely never be repeated.

I know that is how I feel. In fact, I will probably go the rest of my life now, hear Oasis’ Live Forever and immediately be transported to a Tay Ho karaoke bar, belting it out with my friend, James. It was one of two or three songs we always sang together. No evening there was complete without us taking the mic together. As far as we were concerned at any rate.

So make sure you are the best friend you can be. You may never get a second chance.

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