5 years in Vientiane – the whole story

You are more and more everyday to follow me – thank you for that. Some of you asked me about who I am, and to be honest, I am not ready yet to show to the World (haha) who I am.

But I feel I want to bring a personal touch to this blog; my 5 years in Vientiane are then the perfect opportunity to talk about who I am. (get ready, this post will be long)

Where is Laos ?

When I took the decision to move to Laos, my closest friends, that I knew for more than 15 years, admitted they didn’t know where it was. They had to google it after I announced them I decided to move.

Just for the record…

Laos is landlocked in the North by China, East by Vietnam, South by Cambodia and at the West by Thailand. Country who counts less than 8 million inhabitants, less than one million live in Vientiane, the Capital.

People here speaks Lao and pay in kip.

Buddhism is the main religion, and each “Village” is built around a temple, a Wat.

One my first picture of Vientiane

Why Laos ?

After months of job researches in France, I couldn’t find anything really “wow”: job was interesting but salary not really or the opposite (no, not true lol)… At that time, my boyfriend suggested me to look for a VIE contract (Volontariat International à l’Etranger for the French who read me). But for a first expatriation, I was not ready to move to a Country I didn’t know anything about. This is when I start focusing on Laos.

I started then to browse for jobs in Laos and to google some expats experiences. To be honest, I didn’t find anything interesting. Websites not updated, poor database, etc. After 3 weeks of unfruitful researches, my Dad finally called his sister, living here for 20 years.

My uncle, her husband, asked for my resume, and without giving you too many details, got me an internship. Perfect ! I wanted to experience life in Asia without being stucked for at least a year in a place I might don’t like. That was in July 2013.

Rue François Ngin, Boat Racing Festival 2013

What about me ?

I didn’t know much about the life here, but at least, I could speak. I grew up with parents wanted my sister and me to know about our roots: food, music, traditions and celebrations, respect to olders, and of course language. We spent our childhood with pieces of this country we didn’t know much (3 times for me, at the ages of 3, 6 and 19).

My 36kg-suitcase and I landed in Wattay in October 2013, and it took me 3 weeks to stop crying at night. Enough for the drama. I started to make friends after a month, and then started to hang out. Until I got the true feeling I could adapt to this new life, and possibly like it.

From a 3 months internship, I am still here after 5 years. So I am sure you already know what I feel  about the next point.

School in Nakene Village, Borikhamxay Province

What about Vientiane ?

I could live my arrival again and again. Me crossing the doors of the luggage claim, looking for my aunt. She was not there, but a Falang holding a A4 sheet with my name on it was waiting for me (it was the first time I met my uncle).

Once out of the airport, my first thought was “wtf, it is too hot, I will never get used to it !” (and so you know, I am still sweating like h*** at every of my move). Then, in the car, I was completely amazed by every of the scenes I was staring at: the streets, full of shops, crowded with motorbikes and trucks, the restaurants, the house that was my first home here, how the A/C will become my best friend. And the food.

T H E  F O O D. My first stop was the Anou Night Market: the stalls of chicken and pork barbecue, the sticky rice, all the jeo, the desserts, the drinks…

And the smile. The smile of the street vendor, of the garagist, of the lady who sell her vegetables, of the tuktuk driver, of the kid playing football in the soi. I am even sure even street dogs are smiling !

I could enumerate all the things which get me crazy here, but these are all the reasons too that make me love this Country so much.

So if one of you asks me about Vientiane, I would recommend you to come, to live and to experience the slow life of this Village. I love being here, and I am so glad to stand here, and to share with you all the beautiful stories about Vientiane.

What is your story ? Tell me about you !

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