Seeing as I've been delayed in Hanoi it's meant writing more about Vietnam than I anticipated.
But tomorrow I will finally leave. Talking today to the kids at KOTO, the wonderful streetkid project that has been my employer for the last two and a bit years, they didn't really grasp that this was it. Time, geography and economics makes it unlikely I will return.
And if I do, I am sure it will never be the same again. Nothing so good can ever be.
Because Vietnam was special. Incredibly so. There my life took a turn that taught me that I can actually make steps like deciding to move to Nicaragua. I realised that this lifestyle, this adventure, it isn't just for other people. I can do it too.
Now I am saying goodbye to KOTO and hello to Cafe Chavalos. Two very similar projects but with subtle difference dictated by the cultures of their own respective countries.
In Vietnam, such was the gentleness and good manners of the street kids we helped, we often had a hard time persuading people that these young people were what we said they were. Vietnam being as it, these teenagers, smiley, resourceful and hardworking on the surface, had darker stories they often hid. Everything happens in private in Vietnam.
I am expecting Cafe Chavalos to be different. Tougher kids. More aggression. A very different challenge.
Such were the highs of Vietnam, I know Nicaragua will be hard-pushed to compare. It seems too much to hope for, to have such an experience twice in one life time. It was that special.
However, due to a flying visit five years ago and as a result of everything I have read about the place, well...I guess I'm already I'm a little bit smitten with Nicaragua.
The truth is, I can't wait to settle in Granada. That is despite that fact that, as much as I have read, I can't really imagine what it will be like.
I'm desperate to see for myself. To soak it up. To become a part of it. In Hanoi there is the temptation to hide away in your air conned home - from the noise, the heat, the humidity and the mozzies.
In Granada I want to live outside more. To meet more people. To master the language
Only time will tell if my preconceptions will match up with reality.
* Picture above is me with assorted KOTO kids on the annual field trip. Pic below is of KOTO front of house and kitchen trainees in their uniforms. For my "Best of Vietnam" pics section go here. For assorted KOTO pics go here.