So I wasn’t expecting this.
I put my boy in the middle of the bustling streets of Hanoi. He doesn’t like it.
‘Why are the people so poor?’
‘I don’t like it here. I want to go.’
Fuck. Now what do I do? We’re here. It’s too late. He starts to cry.
It’s raining a bit. We’re getting wet. I look at the map, realise I had it upside down. We’re going in the opposite direction.
‘It’s an adventure. It’s just really different. You’ll get used to it. I promise. Come on, let’s turn around. Silly mummy was looking at the map the wrong way.’
‘I don’t like it.’
I see the confusion in his little eyes. I see his concern. I start to panic inside. What have I done?
I have to hold it together. I talk about how exciting it is. He’s not convinced. He’s hungry and tired. I booked a room in the Old Quarter. I remembered how alive and fun it was. I forgot how overwhelming it can be. How noisy it is. The room is very mediocre. I could see that through the eyes of a seven year old.
I was lost. I stopped a French couple who huddled over the map with me. We worked it out. My head felt foggy. I hadn’t adjusted. We walked down to Hoan Kiem Lake.
On the busy corner was a tourist looking building with a series of restaurants. Somewhere I’d normally not go. My boy was tugging on my hand. Looking desperate. Hungry. We went there. Sat outside above the chaos. Looking down. I started to breathe.
We ordered too much. I didn’t care. The margaritas soothed my nerves. My boy picked at his hamburger. I attempted light cheery conversation.
I hadn’t worked out the exchange rates yet. I spent $50 on our first meal. I wouldn’t have spent that in Newtown. It was all going wrong. Another deep breath. Let it go.
We walked around to the Water Puppet Show. It was amazing. Quite surreal. Very lovely. My boy laughed. He thought it was fun. It was. We got a Cyclo back to the hotel. I probably should have bargained him down more. I couldn’t be bothered. I just wanted to get back.
My boy fell straight to sleep. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. I got straight on to agoda.com. Booked a discounted five star hotel near the Lake for tomorrow night. It has a rooftop pool. It’s out of the centre of chaos, but only a walk away.
Day one and I’ve blown my daily budget.
Day one and I feel vulnerable.
Day one and I feel it’s all a bit out of control.
Day one and I realise sometimes my biggest challenge is learning to let go.