I woke up everyday this week awed and confused, wondering if I were still in New York or already back in Hanoi. It didn't help that the transition was a wash: the McKinsey confirmation didn't arrive till the end of May, giving me just enough time to file a 2-week notice to NERA, pack up as much as many as I could of the apartment, and dash to the airport. Even the goodbye kiss was a rush. Supershuttle, for once, arrived early to our front door and was honking. Mugg squeezed my wrist till it hurt, and pushed me and the lone suitcase onto the van. The laden kiss lasted just a second; the sun was barely rising on Fifth Ave. And before I knew it, New York shrunk itself into a dot, retreating away from the cloud, as if a dream.

Today, on a twice-delayed flight from Hochiminh City out to Hanoi, I once again felt such haze. The camera attached to the front of the plane projected the view ahead onto a large screen inside the cabin. Ten minutes from landing, the city of Hanoi suddenly emerged from a veil of fog, scrawling over brown sands and green hills. It looked like a magic fortress from Lord of the Ring, or Alamuth from Prince of Persia... How is that even possible? It struck me for a minute that home has become such a mysterious place. Perhaps cities aged twice as fast as dog years. That five years away has left me backward at least a decade...

Living in Hanoi in summer of 2010 was a surreal experience. The irony is stark: while the internship submerged me entirely into the business culture of client, it at the same time isolated me completely from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. I will have to explain at a later post, but suffices to say that homemade meals and motorbike rides are still rare commodities. Good thing West Lake is just a step away, and a morning after the rain is perfect for an early run.

Till tomorrow, Hanoi!