I am a planner at heart, a queen of checklists and time schedules. However since arriving in Hanoi, I’ve approached almost every weekend without plans, and every weekend I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t have even been able to imagine for myself. This weekend was no exception.
Our original plans were to explore a river, ruins, and national park southwest of Hanoi. Friday was extremely rainy and meant finding and switching to a plan B, a spontaneous trip to Ha Long Bay.
Getting to Ha Long was an adventure in itself. We crammed ourselves in a bus that no longer had open seats but instead stools to sit on down the center isle. To say the least, I had a couple embarrassing moments along the way, but we made it after about 5 hours on the road.
Every uncomfortable moment getting there was worth it when I saw the incomprehensible natural beauty Halong Bay has to offer. We arrived and got on a boat to explore the bay of open water with tree covered mountain cliffs jutting up from it in every direction. Our boat stopped at two points during the journey, once for us to kayak and once for us to explore a cave. Breathing in the fresh ocean air, soaking in the beautiful creation surrounding me, and the halcyon breeze was awe inspiring and one of my favorite moments in Vietnam so far.
After our boat trip, we checked into our not so glorious but workable hotel for the night and put on our swimsuits to head to the nearby beach. We arrived at sunset, and as we swam, the water shimmered a pink reflection of the sky.
Our Saturday ended with seafood, a night market, and sugar cane juice, and our Sunday began with devotions over street food and a trip to a museum and fresh food market. We took another bus back to Hanoi (we had seats this time) and have an evening of lesson planning and a week of completing student teaching requirements ahead of us.
Each new place I go, there’s always so much for my senses to take in. Letting go of control isn’t easy for me, but it’s one of the things I’m learning the most about while I’m here. The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 is truth. His plans are better than mine.