You Should Definitely Move to Vietnam With Your Baby

I’m going to preface this by noting and underlining the fact that I am an unreliable narrator. I’m also a barefaced liar (intermittently) who is concurrently preparing a post arguing the exact opposite thesis.

Frankly, I’m not even sure which one I believe the most. It changes from minute to minute, depending on how much sleep I get, or how much sleep Thwack got, or how many scooters ran me off the road, or how much exhaust I breathed in, or how many random people decided to tell me through vigorous body language how I was doing the wrong thing with regards to Thwack’s comfort and safety (no, he’s not suffocating in his sling- he’s sleeping!).

I definitely think you should move to Vietnam with your baby.

Yes.

Really.

 

candy cane

See, Thwack likes it.

 

Never mind your nice settled life in Wherever The Hell, Developed Country, Western Nation! Here in Hanoi, we’ve got something special for you and your offspring.

For one, everyone loves kids. Or at least they accept the existence of them in the world.

You know how when you read articles originating anywhere in the west, someone always pipes up about how much they hate kids (aka crotch-fruit, fuck trophy, etc) in public spaces, as if anyone under the age of twenty is a howling demon reeking of diaper hideousness and wreaking havoc incessantly who should be locked away until they are of drinking age? It happens way more often than I would have expected when I was growing up and doing stuff in public as a happy and curious Canadian crotch fruit.   Something must have changed in the last few decades because it seems like kids aren’t allowed out anymore without CPS being called or parents getting the evil eye.

But not here! It’s pretty cool.

We cart Thwack everywhere and he’s able to make friends with every single freaking person who walks or bikes past. Lots of cuddles, songs, giggles and kisses from everyone. He’s made to feel welcome and I don’t feel like an intruder sneaking into somewhere I shouldn’t be (like the friendly neighbourhood bia hoi). Waitresses whisk him away during 50% of our meals (don’t ask me about the other 50%, as I probably didn’t get to eat them before they were cold). Taxi drivers hold his hand as they drive. Twenty-something guys in bike repair garages make playful noises to catch his attention. Smiles all around.

 

delivery

Also, purveyors of baby cages deliver within an hour after ordering.

 

The other thing is that we can afford to be a mostly single income household so I can stay home with him during his first year or so. We did this temporarily in England but couldn’t realistically afford it. We were using up all our China savings just to subsidize a very very budgeted life there. We weren’t just running to stand still- we were sliding backwards in many ways. It was frustrating.

Did I mention that we have a housekeeper here? Part time, every morning for four hours. No more daily laundry (Thwack wears cloth diapers), no more trying to keep chaos at bay, no more struggling to sort out meals with a mad baby wreaking havoc in the background. She keeps the fridge stocked with lots of fruits and veggies from her local market (at far better prices than we could ever haggle down to) and makes a little something every day for us to have at hand- a mountain of fresh spring rolls, spicy gingered chicken meatballs, a big bowl of sauteed greens or mashed sweet potatoes. We take bits of it and blitz it for the baby. His palate is ridiculously diverse.

 

we

Ignore the fact that they don’t make helmets for babies here, or that we need to wear face masks to breathe.

 

When I go back to work full-time (I’m teaching once a week and doing writing at home the rest of the time, while he naps) , we can afford a nanny. A nanny! In England, basic group childcare was going to cost more than any income I brought in. It’s a massive weight off my shoulders, knowing that it is possible.

So yes, yes, abandon the comforts of the west! Never mind your blue skies and walkable sidewalks and green parks and breathable air! Never mind the family support and access to varied careers and good cheese!

Come to Hanoi! Bring your babies! 

Next week: Fuck Hanoi, Don’t Even Think Of Bringing Your Kids Here

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog's title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.