My suitcase sits in the corner of my room, reminding me that my time here is impermanent. I’ll be headed back to my adopted hometown of Long Xuyen and I’m looking forward to it. This whole sojourn of mine here is a lesson in how nearly everything in this life is impermanent. There are things I like about this big city, but I tend to enjoy life in Long Xuyen more. And then in a few years, all of the familiarity that I have there will be smashed and gone in the wind like dust. But anyhow, progressing along that line of thought usually leads to depressing thoughts.

I’m looking forward to the challenges and (hopefully) triumphs of this coming semester at An Giang University. I’m looking forward to learning more Vietnamese on my own, now that I have some more basics down over the summer. I’m curious to see what the new volunteers bring to the atmosphere of the International Guesthouse. I know that there will be three new young people, around my age, coming with an NGO called VIA to work in the English department. I also know that there is a family coming and I’m interested and also slightly concerned to see how they’ll get on in the relatively isolated town. I’ve also heard rumors of one, possibly two more volunteers coming to the university as well. What this means to me is that, come September, there may be 15 expats all living in the Guesthouse. This will be a strange dynamic. Up till now I’ve been used to small gatherings with perhaps 5 expats, say for dinner, but things may change. I’m remembering my job description that I signed with MCC, and it said that I would be living with few other foreigners, and that I’d have to have a “pioneering spirit,” or something like that. I’m worried that I’ll have to develop more of a “tour-guide spirit,” something that I don’t have. Oh well, another lesson on the impermanence of things.

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