Month 16: my sister in Vietnam and #SEPANX


November was a very intense month for me. Full of emotion, fun, love, laughter, music, amazing people and tears after parting with them. And even if I don’t like Novembers in general, I can say that November 2017 was one of the best in my life!

From the beginning, I knew it would be crazy, but it was even more than that. Mostly thanks to the people who were around me.

Once again I found out that a place is just a place. It may be the most beautiful in the world, but it just does not matter until you share your impressions with someone.

sisters! 😀

Marta in Vietnam

In November my sister Marta came to visit me in Vietnam for 17 days. The adventures started already a month before her arrival, when she had to apply for a visa, and it turned out that her passport had expired at the beginning of September.

We tried not to panic because Marta does not live in Poland every day, only in Germany and can’t just travel here and there all the time. Fortunately, she managed to get a temporary passport in the Polish consulate in Munich.

Marta applied for her visa, printed the letter of approval and wrote to me:
‘I thought it would look more serious…’
‘You see’ I said, ‘you have not come to Vietnam yet, and you already know what it is like!’ 😀

Life in Saigon is crazy, but I’ll write more about it later this month!

sunrise in Mui Ne

Marta arrived on October, 30th. They immediately robbed us at the airport (disadvantage of the life abroad is that the brain switches off the ‘trip’ mode and stops being as attentive and cautious as on the road… and I forgot what kind of tricks touts use…), but later it was only better! 🙂

On the first day, I went with my sister to kindergarten where I teach (the kids were delighted, and the teachers shocked that we look the same :D) and the same night we went with Aaron to Mui Ne. Of course, I did not tell my sister about sleeping buses. Too bad you didn’t see her face when she saw beds instead of chairs 😀

During a week in Mui Ne Marta was surfing, and frankly, did nothing, but that was the goal – she was not on a “real” vacation more than 1.5 years, and she just wanted to do nothing. And as a good older sister, I organised it for her, and I took my computer and had the opportunity to work while she was surfing. 🙂

go girl!

Then after a week, we went for one night to Saigon, and the next morning we had a flight to Hanoi. On the weekend of 10th-12th November, there was Quest Festival taking place.

I will write a separate post (also this month!) about the festival itself because it was a fantastic event! It was organised at the campsite in the forest by the lake and hosted approx. 5,000 people. There were five stages – four with electronic music, reggae and old school played by dozens of DJs, And the fifth scene was my favourite – with live concerts. Besides, there was a magic hippie decoration everywhere. The weather was perfect, the music was excellent, and I discovered a new favourite band! 🙂

For me, it was the first festival that lasted few days long, but another one for Marta already. But she admitted that she never took part in a hippie-style one. Here she could bathe in the lake, relax in the hammocks etc. Together with Emma, they found a common language (we enjoy partying in different ways!), and for the whole time partied together. And me, I was just strolling around the entire place, and I watched what was going on here and there. 😀

Quest Festival

After three days of the great event, we stayed in Hanoi for two more days and visited the Old Town and went to the Water Puppet Theater, which is a traditional show with puppets on the water.

And then on the last 2,5 days, we went back to Saigon. I showed Marta the downtown, and we visited Bui Vien, the party street, to show her why it was not worth a visit. 😀 We were at the Bitexco Tower to have a beer for 150,000 dongs (for comparison – usually the beer costs 15-40 thousand which is around 1 or 2 US dollars) with a view of Saigon. But since no one served us, we just left, so we had a quick glance of the city for free 😀 I showed my sister all my favourite food spots in my neighbourhood 😉 Marta was delighted and said that I live in a cool area!

tourists in Hanoi! with Amy

And when she was leaving, I almost cried at the airport. 🙁 Even though we throw chairs while arguing about toothpaste, she is the coolest sister in the world. Doesn’t matter how many emotional rollercoasters I have with her. In the end, it always comes out to be lots of fun. 🙂

Ah, I forgot. Marta took a souvenir from Vietnam… the tent we used during the festival. 😀 A memory that is just like a country where it comes from – surprising. 😀

Marta with black chicken soup in Hanoi


My friend from the Philippines, Kenneth, uses the hashtag #sepanx (he has a lot of cool hashtags, like #funemployment :D), which means separation anxiety – anxiety that we feel after parting with loved ones and friends.

November, though it was a marvellous month, was also connected with many partitions.

When we left Mui Ne, I said goodbye to Aaron. Together with him and Emma, we lived in one house for seven months, and we became a family. Although we officially rented rooms separately, we treated this home like ours. There was a lot of laughter, meetings with friends, cooking together, playing poker, watching movies or just chilling on the hammocks and staring at the sky.

Aaron and Emma have become my closest friends during this time, so their departure was painful for me (wow, I have tears in my eyes while writing this). You know, I love people, and I always get very attached.

I said goodbye to Aaron in mid-November, but it was not the end of the farewells. Actually it was just the beginning!

Marta, Maria + Shanti, me, Aaron and Ryan 🙂

Before Marta left, Ryan (also a friend of Mui Ne) arrived in Saigon to apply for Indian visa (he was on his way to New Zealand, but he changed his mind :D). Then Marta left, and again came Maria (also from Mui Ne :D), who adopted a dog in India named Shanti and now they travel together. 😀 Then Ryan left, Emma, who was still travelling in Vietnam, arrived for two days, Maria with Shanti shipped their scooter to Hanoi, and they hitchhiked into the north of Vietnam 😀 And finally, Emma left last Monday.

And I stayed in Saigon alone. And I thought it was cool that they all came to visit with me at the same time (although there were some combinations where they could sleep) because it would be easier for me to deal with all the parting.

Nope. On Tuesday, when I finally was left alone, #sepanx hit severely. I cried a river of tears. But when it hurts, it’s good. It means it was important!

Anyway – why should I say “was”! This IS still important. Such friendships are amazing. They do not melt overnight. Although we do not speak to each other every day because everyone has their own life, we have created something very intense, and I know that our paths will cross many times. Lol, we even plan to rent a house in Sri Lanka where we will be able to surf and work remotely. 😀 Those plans are half real, half a joke because we never know what will happen in our lives in a few months, but who knows? Well, according to our plans, we would be preparing now to go to India in January, but it didn’t work out 😀

Shanti! 😀


Next month will be the time to summarise the whole year so that I will skip the summary in December. But now I know what my December will be like.

December 4th, or tomorrow, I have to return to Hanoi to the Polish embassy to submit some documents to the consulate. It’s quite stressful case (you know, family issues…), and I want it to be over now. Therefore, the first thing to do in December is to bring this story down to the end.

Marta at Quest Festival

Besides this one little bit of a stressful situation, I know that December will be quiet with the events but very busy.

It will be quiet because I am broke after the vacation with my sister 😀 Now instead of going somewhere, I have to focus on survival! 😀

And I will work hard because I have a lot of things to catch up. Usually, I publish per month two entries and a summary of the previous month, but in December I intend to post four articles. I have made sketches, I just have to edit them, add pictures and they’re ready. Besides, I want to finish the guide about Sri Lanka, because in October and November I practically did not have time to work on it.

I think I can achieve all this because I’m practically alone. Although I have new roommates, I do not spend time with them so intensely (I hardly meet them!). No one distracts me, and I have 3x more time for work. 😉 I also have some friends in Saigon with whom I’ll meet for a beer sometimes, but as I mentioned before – I’m broke (I’m always broke, lol!). I have to tighten my waist!

Hahaha, well in Saigon it is possible because I can live here for 2-3 USD a day without accommodation, but for that I have some money saved. 😉

Quest Festival!

That was my November, and that’s how my December will look like. And on the horizon is already the year 2018.

My sister’s visit made me realised that many things in Asia had become a norm for me and I stopped noticing them. After she left, I began to see those Asian curiosities again.

My very close friends left, and that also allowed me to think a few things and…

I feel the waves are calling again. Life in Saigon in Vietnam is very cool, but it’s time to decide what to do next. Close this chapter and open another.

I slowly start to think about leaving Saigon and return to Poland for a while… But the details are still too early to be said. For now, I’m still in Vietnam! 🙂


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