I'm not done with Hanoi. I'm leaving for India tomorrow morning, but I'm entirely convinced I'm not yet ready to leave here. I haven't tasted enough of this city. I haven't yet been engulfed by it and emerged from it with a new understanding. I haven't met enough locals. And I have a feeling Hanoi's not done with me.
Moreover, I'm not done with this trip. Don't get me wrong--I want to go back home. I am tired of living in hostels and guesthouses. I did splurge on the last night here--I'm staying at the Hilton Hanoi Opera--and had a real, hot shower for the first time in a long while.
But I'm not done. There's so much I have left to learn. About myself. About what I want.
I need to be more in tune with the culture here. I need to spend more time on the street here. I need to learn some Vietnamese. I need to understand why people here (Vietnam only) try to screw me every way they can--and why at the end of the day it really shouldn't bother me. Because 10,000 dong is the equivalent of 66 cents.
In the last month and a half I've learned a thousand and one things about myself. Came out of God-knows-how-many shells. Knocked down a million walls. Talked to--IDENTIFIED with a jillion people. Listened to stories. Listened to tales.
But mostly tales told by Western people. People who spoke English. There are more stories to hear--understandings to, well, understand. Layers to dig through the people who are trying to sell you "moto ride"; "cold drink"; "boom boom". More time needed. More compassion needed. Less American arrogance needed.
As I think about going home, I'm excited--but I see the walls coming back up. The shells, I believe, have been crawled out of permanently--but the materialism will come back. When you're out here on your own you realize how much you really need. And how much it is you just want. Then you go home; you indulge your wants; you live your life.
And I'm going to start the process of going home tomorrow, via India. I'm going to go home. Indulge my wants. Live my life. Maybe.