Yesterday, as Tyler, Steven, Lillian, Hendrik and I sat at a cafe and ate lunch and sipped cool drinks in the heat, there was a common topic of conversation that I wasn’t able to take part in: leaving Long Xuyen. The way it looks now, as of late June, I’ll be the only one of the five remaining in Long Xuyen. Some of these guys are almost like an adopted family to me; I referred to our guest house community as a “dysfunctional family” a long time ago. Our years of living, working, eating, complaining, and trying to understand this unfamiliar culture together will soon be gone, and I’ll remain in this town.

I find myself in a relatively similar situation that I was in when I first arrived here: all of the volunteers that I knew were leaving for various reasons to visit some person or country or some other thing and I was here basically by myself. Except that now I have so many people that I consider friends at this university and in this community around me. I think that at least three new volunteers will arrive in time to teach for the fall semester, but those relationships will be nothing like the ones that I’ve been developing for years already. I’m worried that it might be a lonely final six months here.

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