Somehow it’s almost been a week since I arrived in Vientiane. Every day has been so full of new sights, sounds and smells I almost can’t contain it all.
The day after I got here, Rob had to leave for work and was gone overnight. Heading out into the city alone on that first day took an internal pep talk. I had given myself a little lesson in the new currency so I wouldn’t be lost in the markets or freaking out at price tags that say 200,000 (this only amounts to a little more than $24). Technically I’m a millionaire here. Kip to dollars is a hard transition for my brain but I’m figuring it out slowly. I was able to buy a few groceries and wine for myself and didn’t get lost or overwhelmed.
Navigating the sidewalks and streets takes total attention. Nobody here would be caught walking down the sidewalk with their face glued to a smartphone. Every few paces find me avoiding small things like garbage or larger obstacles like cars. Vehicles will and do park on the sidewalks. To go around can mean stepping into traffic. It reminds me of playing double dutch jumprope as a little girl. Getting the timing right is important when trying not to get run down by a Tuk Tuk or moped.
The buildings here may be falling apart, but each has it’s own beauty. I’m always looking up and trying not to take pictures of every single one. The old French style is very apparent and the crumbling facades are so beautiful. The temples are spectacular and many. I pass monks of all ages and try imagine what their daily lives are like.
My impressions so far of my new home are that it is a city so full I’ll never be able to take it all in. The people are kind and helpful. Not speaking the language isn’t as big a barrier as one would imagine.
I’m starting to adjust to this completely different way of life all the while knowing I will always be facing new challenges.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat