I did what few people are ever able to do in Hanoi. I found love in a hopeless place, at 2am. I met my fiancé in Rastaman a few glasses of wine down. We bumped into each other on the dance floor. We went outside to chat and discovered that we had both just come out of long-term relationships and were so broken by the events of the previous months, that when we met, society would say we were simply each other’s rebounds.
But there was nothing sexual about our connection in the beginning (that came later). It was more about having someone who made me want to try again and made me feel like the heartbreak would not last forever, and yes, that I may not possibly die alone as I had started preparing for. We met for dinner the next night (sober) and the rest is history. I found someone I know will hold my hand as I meander, stumble and learn to master this thing called life. Some angels are earthbound.
So fast forward a few months and I’m planning a wedding, and also decorating the baby room. Yes, I’m pregnant (another story, for another day) and I have no idea how to even begin this journey. I feel like I’m writing an exam I didn’t study for, or worse yet, I studied, but all the wrong things. Ask me where to go any night of the week and I can suggest something for you without looking it up. Call me on Friday and I am Sia’s Chandelier and Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night all rolled into one. Well, I was. But nothing changes your life like another human being growing inside of you, especially when it happens so suddenly. I’ve gone from wine to water overnight. I had to give up smoking, something I loved. Now I can’t enjoy salmon — my absolute favourite food — without worrying about mercury poisoning or cyanide and toxic waste spills in the water.
I have never personally swum in West Lake, but I used to enjoy my Chicken Street, chicken guilt and fear free, and have once or twice (many, many times) drunk water straight from the tap. (Sometimes I woke up, hung over like a demon and didn’t have bottled water).
Yes. Judge me to make yourself feel better. But now I find myself faced with fears I never had, questions I don’t have the answer to. Where are all the other mothers? Where do people with children go for fun on weekends? Where do people with children go, period? So now it is my mission to bring together the mothers of Hanoi. I love my friends, but none of them have children, and I have no immediate family around. I’m calling in for back-up. I can’t be the only woman going through this, so I’m sending out word, let the mothers of Hanoi unite and come together.
Photo by Jesse Meadows