If someone would have asked me last year "Hey Britt, where do you think you'll be for Christmas next year?" I would have replied, "What a ridiculous question, of course I will be in Washington state most likely the Longview/Vancouver and/or Seattle area like I am every year, sipping hot coco and listening to the Amy Grant/Kenny G Christmas Albums my mother loves so much, duh." Never would I have thought to reply, "Oh, you know, on a beach on the south west coast of Vietnam. It'll be close to 80 degrees, I'll get a nice freckle-tan while sipping Pineapple fruit shakes." And yet, here I am in Mui Ne, a small town on the coast doing exactly that.
The journey here was a bit rocky. Apparently when you don't book a place to stay 2 days before Christmas it is expensive to stay anywhere on the coast, that is if you can even find a hotel/guest-house/hostel that isn't full. But I made it! And I was reunited with Eva, whom I met in Vang Vieng, after a crazed night of riding up and down the main drag on the back of a motor bike, enormous backpack on my back, holding on for dear life. The next day the guest-house we were at originally was going to make us move to a more expensive room so we decided to go next store to the Ly Ly guest-house. Normally I wouldn't even mention where I'm staying/have stayed but moving to the Ly Ly guest-house was the greatest decision.
On Christmas Eve, Eva and I decided to lay on the beach and just generally treat ourselves to a day of relaxation.
The night of Christmas Eve the family that owns the guest-house invited us to their Christmas dinner *Barbecue*! So there I was sitting with an assortment of Vietnamese, German, Australian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, and Americans, listening to stories of travel, and Vietnamese Christmas traditions. I was not expecting to enjoy myself on Christmas. In fact, I was anticipating sitting in the dark, listening to Christmas music and being generally depressed to be so far away from my family. I was pleasantly surprised and grateful that I had found such a wonderful group of inclusive, and welcoming people.
Moments like that are what make being away from the people you love bearable.
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your holidays were filled with joy, lots of hot coco and, above all, love.