oob la di, oob la da life goes on ya, la la la la life goes on!

Well, it’s been official for a short time now, I have resigned my full time teaching position with RMIT University Viet Nam but am currently involved in running training sessions for both the Tourism & Hospitality School and RMIT Corporate Training. After having had a semester break from teaching the thought of returning to the daily grind was a bit more than I could bear. Also, Lisa has resigned her management position and finishes up next Friday the 4th.

For both of us this is the beginning of a new phase in our lives as we realise that it is time to get out of “comfortable” yet again and do something that is challenging that will take us out of those dangerous “comfort zones” we full into without even realising it.

The truth is that we are VERY comfortable where we are living. We have an excellent house with a family who look after us as if we are related, especially Mimi who we have come to regard as our surrogate daughter. Our housekeeper Ms. Tam is the happiest person in the world and we have come to admire her and her daughter Diem so much, I wish we could pack her up and take her with us wherever we go. We are well known and accepted in our neighbourhood and treated with such friendliness that sometimes it is overwhelming. When we want to eat we only have to walk a short distance in any direction to eat a huge variety of inexpensive nutritious food in cafes where we have come to know the people so well. It will be hard to leave.

But leave we must. I submitted proposals to 7 universities in Australia with a view to undertaking a PhD research degree program and received an enthusiastic and positive response from every one of them. I have decided that I will take up the program with the School of Political Science & International Studies at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane. The response that I received from UQ’s Graduate School and the preliminary discussions with my now to be supervisor were so positive that I feel confident that I will be well supported over the next 3.5-4 years of rigorous research and writing (the writing is always the most difficult part isn’t it?).

Lisa also has an interesting plan for the future with UQ, but I don’t feel that it is my place to mention that here. I’ll let her tell the tale if she wants. Suffice it to say however that we will both be involved in research and the focus of our research will be in this area of the world.

My research will be conducted in Viet Nam so I am glad to say that, after I have spent some time at UQ sharpening the point of my intellectual spear, I will be back here travelling, observing and gathering my raw data. This is a prospect that excites me and to be truthful, although I will be sad to leave this house, this neighbourhood and our friends, I can’t wait to get back to a university that has a research culture and a huge library. Although Brisbane is not Sai Gon it is a good city nevertheless and it will be interesting to see how we cope with living back in our old culture.

But the best part is that I know I will be returning here. There are those who cannot understand what we see in this place and although it can be frustrating and tiring there is so much much to love about living here and so much that I know we are going to miss.

But who cares? We’ll be back!!