The Scottish Girl in Vietnam – One Year later!

Our one year anniversary in Vietnam passed by quite quietly.  It’s safe to say that my time in Hanoi has been a roller coaster of a ride and at that time I happened to be in a dip of the ride, therefore we didn’t celebrate too much, only to say WOW it’s been a year already, how did that happen!

It’s Cold…….Again!

The temperature dropped like a stone a couple of weeks ago, one day it was 30 degrees and the next it was 15 BUT I was ready for it this year.  When we were in Scotland in May I bought some boots and proper shoes, as opposed to flip flops! Then I got the “winter” case out from under the bed and produced the thermals, leg warmers (do not judge me) and winter woolies – Ta Dah!!! Sorted.

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Leg warmers 🙂

Hanoi Musings

What I’ve discovered about Hanoi is that it’s a very transient city, I’ve never lived anywhere like it before.  The “expatriate life” is something that I thought you did rather than lived. The embassy’s with their large amounts of staff, spouses and families that build whole communities, the English teachers from all walks of life, people who have visited…..and stayed! And then the people who leave…….

Hanoi Goodbyes

I said my first goodbye back in February.   We’d been here for a couple of months, Christmas had come and gone in a Christmas “spirit free” blink of an eye and it still felt like a cold, damp, grey Glasgow winter when I found a yoga retreat being run by one of the Yoga Studios, Moon Yoga.  I’ve always wanted to take part in a yoga retreat, albeit I was thinking more about Bali but by this stage, I needed a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

I packed a small bag, with heaps of layers and got myself to the meeting point.  Another girl arrived on the back of a Grab bike looking very yoga-like so I asked her if she was going to the retreat to, only to get her positive reply in a gorgeous Scottish accent!  Ishi is all the way from beautiful Barra in Scotland, google it, it’s remote! We shared a room, yoga, beers in front of a rather real and large fire, board games and good food and chat when we got back to Hanoi.  Sad to see the lovely Ishi go but we did get a catch up in Glasgow in May, it’s so cool to have world-wide friends!

The yoga retreat was a huge success for me, hot stone massages, yoga ALL weekend, it was chilled, with amazing people, fresh air, the most DELICIOUS food and mountainous views!

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Yoga Fun

A few months later I had to say a fond farewell to a lovely lady called Rita from Budapest, we worked together in the very early stages of the communications for the HIWC Annual Charity Bazaar.  She was the first person in Hanoi that I actually opened up to about how hard the low times here can be, and I didn’t burst into flames for getting it all off my chest!

We had a lovely connection and I was pretty sad to see her go, she is super-cool, she designs the most beautiful fair trade women’s wear, jewellery and accessories.  She’s gone off to LA to follow her dreams, catch her brand Totemism on insta here, it’s beautiful.

Pilates in Hanoi

And then there is Pilates, not Pie and Lattes but the “let’s engage our deep stabilising muscles” type!  I started my Teacher Training at the end of February. It started off with 10 long days of full on learning, practising and getting out of my comfort zone in a huge way.  Three exams and hours and hours of observation, assistant teaching and self-practice later I am a qualified Pilates Mat I and Mat II instructor. It was very intense, but oh my goodness, I LOVED and continue to LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT!!

Pilates isn’t as mainstream in Hanoi as it is in Australia or the USA, there are less than a dozen reformers in the whole city!!  Can you believe it? You can’t throw a stone in Brisbane without hitting a Reformer Pilates studio in some capacity. It’s so fabulous to be here as it’s beginning to flourish and it’s been absolutely perfect for me, I’ve been able to really embed all my learning, taking my time practising and honing my Pilates teaching skills.

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All the new Pilates Instructors in Hanoi

Pilates Classes in Hanoi

I’ve taught on my balcony, in a bar, a studio, an Italian restaurant and in peoples homes.  Private, semi-private, community and group classes. All ages, varying pathologies and health and fitness goals and I really still have to pinch myself and say this is what I do now! I don’t work in an office, I’m a Pilates Instructor.  The joy that I feel from students when I see the difference in their body, their movement and how much they appreciate the care I take to not only look after them but have a progression plan for their improvement, fills me with happiness, pride, joy and even more passion.

I know Pilates works, I’ve seen it work in so many different ways. Ladies feeling stronger, I feel stronger, students telling me they feel taller after each session and how they can’t believe what they can actually do now!

BUT when someone gets “it” they feel stronger, they feel they move better, they can see improvements in their body and we have the photos to prove it………..THAT gives me goosebumps.

Teaching Pilates around Bulimba

Pilates Mat I and Mat II – DONE!!!

Would you like to get stronger in 2019? Correct a few years of bad posture? Work on becoming pain-free? Pilates is for any age, any body shape, any gender and any BODY!  Email me on elaine@thescottishgirl.com.au to find out how we can work together to meet your health and wellness goals with Pilates.