It's 3.20am and I am wide awake. There is an upturned cockroach behind me who stopped wriggling some time ago, hoping this is so anyway. The heat is sticky and uncomfortable and is probably the main factor why I am awake. But here I am. Thousands of miles away from home and family, friends and my life. The love and support I got before I left was overwhelming-helps so much when the ones I care about the most gently edge me closer to this, the start of my Vietnam story. And already, it feels like quite a story. The first night I was here we (Ciarna my gem of a host) went to this little cafe, by cafe I mean small plastic chairs and tables outside this lady's house. She was so welcoming and had a sadness about her that I twigged straight away. As her story unfolded and was being relayed to me-I knew that this was one of many many stories I am likely to hear. At first, she said her husband died and then later she quietly admitted that he ran away with an american woman to the states in 1979 and so he is dead to her. She is 57, looks 40 and very beautuful. There is a profound gentleness to these people-a serenity that I have never encountered before. Many of them have little but live their lives with such dignity and grace it is hard to fathom. It makes me think of home and the recession and how we really have no clue what hardship is. But that's another story. For now, I am ambracing life here with all the bumps and uncertainty along the way.