Deciding to go to Vietnam

I’ve wanted to see beyond the Pacific Northwest for as long as I’ve been considered an adult. I married a man who’d spent the previous decade traveling throughout America with his family, then settled into the Portland area, making it only as far as San Francisco in the entire decade we were together. Somehow we both let assumed family obligations keep us here instead of embarking on the adventures we both wanted but never realized together.

Fast forward through divorce and a postponed college education and you get me: single with kids for nearly 7 years, two terms away from graduation and an itch I can’t soothe. My ex-husband spends half his time abroad, traveling through Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as his tours of America. The man I fell in love with last year is spending this year traveling around SE Asia, most likely settling there for for the near future.

I will admit it. I’m green with jealousy; these two fellows trotting around the globe at their whim and with no one to be responsible for but themselves. And here I am. Feeling tied down to being the “responsible mom” and using it as an excuse to do, still, what others expect me to do. Secretly, though, I’ve been stashing moxie away for a time when I might really need it. It seems that now’s the time.

Spending more time on the internet than I would admit in good company, I searched for, researched, emailed, cried and found a way for us to get out of here. I’d already been hoping/planning for a trip at to VietNam to visit that man, but I knew that 2 weeks would never be enough. We will instead be there for three months, spending our time volunteering at an orphanage/school in the DaNang/Hoi An/Hue area. Where depends on where they need us, since it changes on a regular basis. After that, we will spend a month traveling in Vietnam and then over to Thailand before I start an internship (if all goes right) at a boarding school north of Chiang Mai.

Why? you may ask. For lots of reasons, though most revolve around my kids. I want them to see something besides typical American life. I want them to understand life outside the eurocentric viewpoint, that the world is mostly brown-skinned and non-Christian, and that they are not to be pitied, cursed or blamed for the world’s problems. I need my children to realize that they have been lucky to be born to a mother who loves them more than breathing and for family who would do whatever is necessary to have them happy and healthy, despite the fact that money doesn’t grown on any tree in our backyard. I want them to know that even as a young person, they can make a difference. They can sacrifice and give of themselves to others who have less, because there will always be those who are less privileged. I want them to see just a bit of history, to realize how big the world is and how important the past is to the future.

So, yeah. Big plans with a bigger to-do list.

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