1. The internet isn’t working. This is apparently because a “cable under the sea is broken”. It will be fixed again in TWO MONTHS. I am still expected to pay bills during this period. For internet in my flat, I am once again reduced to hanging out of my twelfth story window to steal my neighbour’s wifi.
2. I am afraid of throwing out my rubbish. The rubbish-chute is in a tiny unlit room in the corridor that’s full of cockroaches. Giant, evil cockroaches. When you open the door to the rubbish chute room, all the cockroaches come running at you. Sometimes I let my rubbish build up because I’m just not brave enough to face the cockroaches. I can usually do it on a Thursday or a Friday, but can’t face it on Mondays or Tuesdays.
3. The receipt I get for paying my rent comes on a page with the heading: “SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM: INDEPENDENCE – FREEDOM – HAPPINESS” Yay!
4. The lift that my shopping delivery man broke in mid-November still hasn’t been fixed. But there is another lift. When I first moved in I was asked what I would do if both lifts were broken at the same time. I’m not sure what the correct answer for this is.
5. Even though I’m on the twelfth floor, this doesn’t mean that I can’t hear the cocks crowing outside. From about 2:00 am onwards, they crow. I have discovered that it’s pure fiction that they wait for dawn to start cock-a-doodle-doo-ing.
6. It only takes the length of a brief lift-ride for a Vietnamese person to get to the “Why aren’t you married?” question. I miss political correctness.
7. My bed is so wide and flat that it feels like my own private Offaly.
8. Vietnam is so humid that blu-tac doesn’t work and everything keeps falling off my walls.
9. I have decorated my fridge with a scarf that was a present from a student whose name I never learnt.
10. For a while I thought one of my neighbours had the most annoying ringtone ever. It turned out that Vietnamese ice-cream sellers on motorbikes have an even more annoying tune than Irish ice-cream vans and one of the ice-cream motorbikes is always hanging around my building because we’re opposite a school.