I don’t know about you, but some of the blog posts I love the most are the ones in which the writer simply types away: a laid-back look at their life of late, as you’d do with friends over a frothy cup of warm goodness. And so, this blog series was born. Coffee and a catch up: a bid to not only give my blog posting schedule a little more structure, but also to show myself to you all a bit more, share the little magical and mundane moments that make life life. Not only this, but I’ll be writing these from different coffee shops, from those in my close neighbourhood to those in various corners of Hanoi. So, grab a cup of your favourite drink and cosy up. Here we are: my first coffee and a catch up with you all.
Return to Work
Like many of you, I returned to work this week. Temperatures have dropped quite drastically these last few days, and so the cold, early mornings have been a shock to the system. That being said, it’s been good to head in, catch up with colleagues and work closely with the students I teach – something I know many other teachers worldwide are lacking the ability to do. Returning to work after the holidays is always bittersweet thanks to my love-hate relationship with enforced structure & routine, but my job is something I’m grateful for in this time of uncertainty.
Gosh this week has been a lot, hasn’t it?! I’m lucky to be witnessing things from a distance, but with coronavirus rates rising in the UK and the events in Washington this week, there’s a lot to take in. My grandparents have fortunately both been vaccinated these last few days, which is a relief, but my heart goes out to anyone affected by lockdowns, the virus, the chaos at the Capitol and the sheer magnitude of it all at the moment.
Tet Shoebox Project
I’ve been volunteering with the Tet Shoebox Project, which is a great initiative in which people can fill a drawstring bag with toys and gifts for a child who mightn’t get anything else to receive at Tet (Lunar New Year). I’m helping out this year by organising and assisting donors, but we’ve also filled a couple of bags ourselves and I loved shopping for the gifts. It took me back to my own childhood when my school would collect actual shoeboxes we filled with pressies to be sent off to a child in need. It’s something small, but I hope these gifts will put a really big smile on some children’s faces this Tet.
As mentioned, I’m looking to gear up this year. I’m in the process of planning out a more regular schedule – one that’s sustainable but meaningful too. Bare with me with this. I’m realising what I enjoy posting about, what I want from this blog and am slowly figuring out how to get there. I won’t promise anything specific right now, but expect more frequent posts with a mix of content on special places in my city, efforts to live more sustainably and mindfully, foodie bits and a celebration of life’s little moments.
5 Things I’m Grateful For
- The sunshine, a break and some fresh air
- The friends and family who have been absolute stars these last few weeks
- Small glimmers of inspiration
- Playlists in coffee shops playing golden oldies that I’d forgotten exist
- The ability to travel within Vietnam and see as much of this beautiful country as we can before we leave
I’ve been reading
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. An excellent, poignant story based on La Bestia – the train migrants climb aboard to reach the USA from Mexico and other Central American countries. The book has received a lot of bashing from people stating Cummins cannot/should not portray such a story when she’s never lived it. I’m not Latino, I’ve never been anywhere near the places mentioned in the book, I’m privileged to not have had to experience any of the trauma mentioned in the book in my life. I therefore can’t comment on whether Cummins’ narrative is accurate, offensive, controversial etc. I thought the book was extremely well written and I found it an insightful read. However, I know it’s important to read around a subject further, which I intend doing.
I’ve been listening to
- Homesick by Catrina Davies, an audiobook about on the author’s own experience of living in a shed in Cornwall. It features plenty of thought-provoking messages about capitalism, society and inequality, but it’s an easy listen too.
I’ve been watching
- The Crown. We started this a month or so ago and are a few episodes into season 2. Obviously much of the show is fiction, but with Prince Philip’s recent death and Harry and Meghan’s break away from the royal family, it’s been really interesting to watch and learn more about The Crown as an institution and the personalities within it.
Stay safe & warm everyone!
– Niobe xx