It wasn't long before dear friends started to arrive...
... at one stage there were over 30 people in my house! I was glad that I'd already packed, but more gifts needed to be squeezed in... and before long it was all pretty chaotic! Hannah B. caught a taxi to take back all her blankets and pillows and towels that she'd lent us, as well as the things Khánh and Xuân were keeping (for picking up later).
We were due to leave for the airport at 10.30am and as the time drew closer I began to worry that Kate from VAIE still hadn't turned up so I called her only to find out that she didn't know she was due to come and check me out of the house today.... communication breakdown again. Anyway, she rushed over and was stunned to see all the people milling around. We walked through the house so she could check I hadn't wrecked anything, but to my embarrassment, when we got to the kitchen it was a mess!! Food, bread, dirty dishes... stuff everywhere! I hadn't been in there since I cleaned up after breakfast, but several starving late risers had... By then we were running late, so all I could do was apologise.
A taxi was called, and our bags loaded in. I had to go in the taxi and it was a sad lonely old ride to the airport. But as soon as we arrived I was again surrounded by my beautiful friends. Katie, Hannah W. and I checked in our luggage (my big suitcase weighed 35 kgs!!) and thankfully they didn't ask to weigh our hand luggage ... I reckon mine weighed at least another 15 kgs, so Hannah B had kept it out of sight during the checking in process, but she needn't have bothered.
We then had an hour to wait so Tiên rallied everyone together and we all trooped across the carpark to a place where there were a couple of park benches. And that's where we spent our last precious minutes ...
We were getting a bit teary, so out came the guitar....
So many beautiful friends ( family ) came to see us off.
At the back is Tuấn (Badmen David), Mười, Trung Ho, Xuân, Tuyền and Tự.
Then it's Khánh with Sam, Thành, Tuấn Anh, Hannah Banks, Heo Hâm, Nhung, Hà, Thảo, Parazini Mạnh, my Katie, Tùng, Hannah Williams and Tiên Vien, with Tiên in front.
And all too soon, our time was up. We had to go to the departure lounge. One last round of kisses and cuddles. I was a mess before I got around them all. Sobbing by the time I got to Khánh. Nearly all of us were in tears, I think. As we walked through that last door we heard a rousing shout: "Một, hai, ba - We love you , Annie!!" ... three times! I was definitely a blubbering mess by then.
What makes it even harder to leave is that I don't know when I'll be returning. Since I spent all the money I'd saved at the dentist, I will have to get a job in Coffs Harbour and save up the fares etc before I can book flights to come again.
We flew from Hải Phòng to Hồ Chí Minh City and had a few hours to wait between flights and start thinking about home.
Then a flight to Sydney with another wait for the last leg home to Coffs. We had been travelling for 22 hours when we finally arrived in Coffs Harbour. Home.
Hannah's Mum - Lynne, Jordan and Bailey and Lockie...
Caelyn and Gemma (look how she has grown!!)
Welcome home dinner at Greg and Gemma's new home... my precious family.
What an amazing nine months. I am so blessed !!