Hi. I know it’s been a while. I am terrible at this, obviously, and I doubt I’ll get any better. Not that it matters! I know there are three, maybe four people, who periodically check this. And maybe that’s enough? IDK.

A few life updates:

Joff and I went on a two-week vacation across Southeast Asia in December to January. It was amazing and, as cheesy as this might sound, pretty darn life-changing. But I’ll get to that part later. In two weeks, we visited four cities, first starting in Bangkok, Thailand; then Vientiane, Laos; Luang Prabang, Laos; and finally, Hanoi, Vietnam. It was my first time visiting all three countries so I was thrilled to say the least. Any initial anxieties I had about this trip turned out to be unfounded, thankfully, and it went on without a hitch.


I learned SO MUCH, food-wise. I’ve never really been that big a fan of Vietnamese cuisine, but I realize now that it’s because I was never really exposed to good Vietnamese food. Hanoi totally changed my perspective on the cuisine and I am smitten. Laotian food was also a big game changer; their sausages are the best I’ve ever had. I’ve been trying to recreate them in my kitchen – operative word here being ‘trying.’ It hasn’t been a complete failure but it’s also not quite there yet.


Asian food is the best, y’all. There’s just no two ways ’bout it.

Anyway, onto the ‘life-changing’ part of my update: We are moving to Hanoi! YEP.

Before you start laughing at what an embarrassingly ‘white touristy’ thing that is to do after only visiting the city for four days, well then, you’re only partially right. 😀

We obviously know it’s a BIG DEAL to just be up and moving to some exotic city, which is why we’ve given this A LOT of thought. We also consulted people who already live there (friends of Joff’s) who are all really encouraging and are already helping us slowly make the transition.

We’re moving in May, which gives us some time to tie up any loose ends here in Manila, save a little bit more, and look for a job and a place in Hanoi. Sure, I’m freaked out, but I’m more excited than anything. We’ve been looking to move for a while now and this decision couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. My family is also incredibly supportive of the decision (thank glob), so that makes it a little easier.

So, here’s to the last few months in Manila! And to anyone who’s reading this: If you and I are homies IRL, let’s grab a few beers before I leave, alright?


Author: Chiara Cui

Writer, editor, hummus purveyor, baboushka in training

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