For as long as I can remember, Vietnam had haunted me. The stories my grade 7 Geography teacher had shared, its beauty, its people, its innocence and resilience. The stories he told in class of friends he had lost, ghosts he lived with, memories that haunted him, and a continent he could never escape. Vietnam was something I had to see, to experience.
My husband and I both had been planning and talking about Vietnam for years, so many times we had come close to jumping on a place and visiting, but plans were always foiled by something when we finally saw a 3 week opening, we took it, we jumped.
I don’t know what it was, or how to explain it, but stepping off the plane in Danang, I felt at home, like this country and I had known each other in a previous life. Everything about it sang to me, lifted me up, and spiritually filled my soul.
China beach at 7am. I walked on that beach, and realized what my Geography teacher meant. This country was pure magic in every way. I finally understood why, after being conscripted to serve at 18 in Vietnam, why he never felt welcomed back in the U.S. and why he spent his career teaching kids like me, in international schools. He had something and an experience he needed to teach.
It took a lifetime for me to finally make it to Vietnam, but it took a minute for me to fall in love with this beautiful country.