I was recently asked to write something about Nosey in Newtown, my old blog, which saw me sifting through its contents, three years after I stopped updating it.
I came across these, which I photographed around Newtown, and which are still as awesome today as they were in 2008:
I love, love, love this idea of memorialising the sites of significantly insignificant moments in your personal history, and associating them with the place where they happened.
To really know a place, to have a relationship with it, is to walk amongst these associations and memories. They’re not necessarily important or noteworthy to anyone but you - like those commemorated above - but they forever connect you to where you are. When your collection of connections is large enough, you have yourself a home.
My Australian home, Newtown, is thick with spatial souvenirs. As I walk down any street, I pick my way through reminders of all the other times I’ve trod the same footpath: each year when the cement under my feet is cushioned by the fallen Jacaranda flowers, it’s a reminder of the last.
Hanoi is crowded with connections too now. I could plaster my own paper plaques all over this town...
This was where we debated how much money we’d have to be paid to swim across Truc Bach lake:
This is where I misunderstood the silken tofu seller and started bargaining, fiercely, for a higher price than what she was actually offering:
This is where the bus stopped and the driver opened the door so he could watch the Vietnam – Singapore soccer match on the café’s television:
This is where I watched a beautiful orange butterfly floating through the traffic, until the driver in front of me snatched at it, crushed it up in her fingers, and wiped her hands together to scatter its golden dust:
This is where I first met up for a coffee with a brand new person, and by the end of the cup, I had a brand new friend:
This is where I was horrified by the sight of a large, furry animal - maybe a bear? – tied on to the back of a bicycle in traffic, but as I got closer, I saw that it was a large, furry stuffed toy dog, with button eyes and floppy ears:
This is where Nathan and I had a competition to see who could stay on their bike the longest without pedalling:
This is where a particularly long dog is sometimes chained up, prompting Nathan and I to both shout “LONG DOG” as we pass:
This is where a schoolgirl cycled up to me, said hello, reached over to shake my hand, asked where I was from, said goodbye, and cycled off:
This is the spot where I stood when I knew I would spend the rest of my life with Nathan:
The thing about memorials, even those made of paper, is that they’re forever. I know that if I ever return to Hanoi, no matter how much it has changed, I’ll feel right at home.