I went back to Newcastle for a quick visit, 17 months after I left. The last morning was freshly still in my memory. Dragging a heavy suitcase of all my most valuables, I pulled myself through one rain water puddle after another. November rain was bitterly cold and rather grim.

Back in the Toon, the rain was waiting for me, as if it had never left town. Rushing around puddles, I hurried to catch glimpses of the past and take in fractions of the present.

A new Jamie’s restaurant just opened at Monument – the heart of town. It was the news in Geordie land. One suggested trying it the next time I’m in town. I hope it is still there then. I saw so many places being closed during my three years there, including the very one I worked at. In Hanoi, food stores come and go all the time, quietly and suddenly. They don’t cause a big fuss when they are opened. Neither do they leave such a depressed feeling behind their closed door. Everything is on the move in Hanoi. Newcastle is not like that at all. It’s a small town where every small change matters. When the sun comes out, it would be scandalous to spend time anywhere else but beer gardens.

I do love Newcastle, for better or for worse. I enjoyed very much a quick coffee or a few pints to catch up with friends. Their sweet souls and embracing arms remind me of who I am and who I want to be. I am no longer a part of Newcastle life but I wish they will forever be a part of my life.


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