As we have mentioned to many of you already, our plans have morphed slightly since our last blog post about moving from Hanoi in the New Year. Once we absorbed the fact that we would have to pay back $700 work permits if we broke the 9-month contract and left early, we knew that wasn’t an option. We had a panic thinking we were going to have to pack and up and leave come 1st December after our 3 month temporary permits would expire and before the deadline for applying for the $700 work permits kicked in. But we wanted to make sure we’d explored all of our options before packing it in after 3 months, which felt far too brief.
We decided to be open and honest with the Language Centre, informing them that due to a change in circumstances we could no longer stay until May, but would like to see out the remainder of the first school semester, while not paying for the work permits if possible. It seemed like a lot to ask but the answer they gave us was surprisingly positive. They told us that we could apply for another 3-month temporary permit for only $25, allowing us to continue teaching until 6th January (end of semester one) and avoiding the $700 work permit fee. All we have to do is leave the country and reenter. Cue a weekend trip to Bangkok. Such hardship.
Bangkok was the obvious option as it is close and dirt cheap to fly to. We have to leave Vietnam before December rolls around, as this is when our visas expire, so we plan to head to Thailand on 25th – 27th November, a pre-birthday treat for Naomi. Upon our return, we can stay in Vietnam for a further 3 months and finish teaching on January 6th, allowing the schools we teach at and the Language Centre a smooth transition of teachers once we leave. We’re glad we could give them as much warning as possible and the result actually works our better for all of us. We save the Language Centre going through the paper work of sorting out two work visas, and no one has to fork out $1400! Win, win.
We have planned a rough itinerary for when we leave Hanoi, but we only have a month to play with before we want to be in Ho Chi Minh teaching again, so it doesn’t feel like a long time considering how much we want to pack in. The idea is to spend just under two weeks in Myanmar, come back to Hanoi and then travel around Northern Vietnam for another 2 weeks, working our way down to central and southern Vietnam until we reach Ho Chi Minh.
Every weekend until January, in our (hand drawn) calendar, has been filled with trips and adventures. It’s all very exciting and we know this next month and a half is going to fly by. It feels more like a countdown to our trip now that we’re over half way through the teaching stint in Hanoi. We can’t wait to be free (albeit for a brief 4 weeks)!