On our first class here in Vietnam I tried to be super social and friendly since I knew that for some people breaking the ice with a tall and occassionally quiet European must be hard. I even put ridiculous pictures of me on my introduction slide show and quoted myself at the end: "I may be tall but I'm as gentle as a koala."
From the beginning I had put a goal to myself: Just be yourself, and only yourself. For new people my stone-cold and serious shell can be confusing and even scary. The ones back home and now here who have got to know me better can probably tell people the opposite. During the project I've had my own personal struggles and that might have given an image of me being an extremely reserved and serious person. I feel sad for not being able to bring my endless smile and positivity to the classes. However, at the end many students and organizing committee members said that their image of me has totally changed - in a positive way. Thank you all for saying those words - I'm glad that being myself was enough for you to break the expectations you had towards me.
There are two things we can all learn from what happened here:
1. Never judge anyone by the first image
2. Be who you really are
It's such a shame to suddenly say goodbye to the people you became so close with. Feels like everyone's showing their best sides at the moment of farewell and it breaks my heart. But I know this all is just a part of life and it's neither like the people and friends I've met have gone anywhere nor the memories have been sweeped off our brains.
Travelling abroad for a longer period of time teaches you so much about life and yourself, gives a whole different perspective to issues and helps you appreciate what you already have. Can highly recommend doing that! I can't wait to eat grilled salmon with summer potatos, taste vanilla ice-cream with strawberries and see my friends and family but I know that after few days back home I will long for Bun Cha and driving the motorbike in the chaotic traffic for sure.
See you soon
Larry the Russian