A love letter to summer

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Dear summer 2023, 

I miss you. Travelling in Italy and Vietnam over three months was an experience that will mark me (and not just because of the tattoos I got in your busy backstreets). I will never forget the culture shock, the beauty, the people – but most of all I won’t forget the lessons that you taught me, and the wanderlust that you impressed on me. So, this is a love letter telling the story of our summer romance. 

It was love at first sight when I arrived in Sanremo. The flight had left me weary, but this was not enough to keep me from the seaside parties (although it might have impeded my ability to limbo at my best). After a week’s training, it was onto Turin to start my two weeks of teaching and being hosted by an Italian family. In the centre of Turin city marching with the Pride festival, is when I became wholly smitten with you. These streets that had been touched by French, Romans, Egyptians, by conquest and by monarchism were on that day also flooded with colour and a celebration of diversity – truly the perfect backdrop.

It was love at first sight when I arrived in Sanremo

After bidding a tearful farewell to the students I had taught and the infinitely generous family that had treated me as one of their own, I set off on the trail I had laid out for myself – from Venice, to Bologna, to Florence, to Rome and ending in Milan for my flight to Vietnam. What followed was truly a whirlwind romance, a week filled with memories of getting hopelessly lost in cities with no map; going to nightclubs with new friends met on Hostelworld; kissing a stranger at Trevi fountain at 4am before a 7am bus; missing said bus after being locked in a hostel room – after leaving Italy I was catching feelings. Hard. 

The next and most enchanting part of our love story was Vietnam. Our relationship did take a hit after my flight was cancelled, my debit card was eaten, and I found someone else sleeping in my bed; nevertheless, I knew nothing would ruin our summer. The first week we spent together in Hanoi was nothing like I had ever experienced. Often, when people think of Vietnam, military history is the first thing that comes to mind. While it is true that exploring this past was an interesting aspect of my time, visiting the Women’s Museum, Ho Chi Minh’s grave, pagodas and cathedrals imbued the country with a different kind of history that was far deeper and far more profound than I had previously imagined. The heat, the bustle, the noise, the colour made just walking aimlessly an experience, and this only intensified as night came, the lights came on and we all made our way down the famous ‘beer street’ (P.S: I forgive you for the time I lost all my debit cards on this street).

Far deeper and far more profound than I had previously imagined

After we flirted in Hanoi, I travelled to Thai Binh, where I would be teaching for the next 6 weeks. When I wasn’t in the classrooms of Thai Binh, my work friends and I made our way around the North of the country: Ninh Binh, Mai Chau, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An and Ha Giang. In Ha Long Bay I first realised I was falling in love with you. After climbing a mountain in the national park (in my flip flops) and almost stepping on a snake that had kindly come to greet us, I felt closer to nature than I had ever done before – they talk about seeing the world in rose-tinted glasses, but after the views on that mountain, I only wanted to see the world in your shades of green.

In Ha Long Bay I first realised I was falling in love with you

Climbing down and heading for our boat trip afterwards and watching lighting tear the sky apart above the characteristic mythical Dragon Teeth islets of the region made Ha Long Bay truly unforgettable. By the time I had seen the lantern-illuminated canals of Hoi An, you truly had stolen my heart but before I could leave, we had one final love affair on the Ha Giang loop. There we saw waterfalls, raced motorcycles, drank rice wine and then I said goodbye, not knowing if I’d ever be able to get over you. 

I’m still heartbroken that we had to say goodbye, but perhaps one day I’ll see you again. If not, maybe I’ll rebound with summer of 2024.

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2 thoughts on “A love letter to summer

  • Travelling is literally my pain, because I dream terribly of travelling, but I rarely succeed. It’s mostly all about money, of course. Now I’m planning my summer trip for the first time in a long time and I want to make it unforgettable. AtoB transfer company https://atobtransfer.com/spain/taxi-transfers-alicante-airport-to-benidorm/ has already been recommended to me for a hassle-free journey to the hotel and I plan to use such services. I don’t want the risk and inconvenience.

    Reply
  • It’s evident that those months of travel left an indelible mark on you, not only through the ink on Subway Surfersyour skin but also through the richness of experiences and connections made.

    Reply

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