In my first two days here I was able to find and move into long-term housing, get my phone working with a new sim card, and even managed to fit in three workouts! I had two great runs around different lakes (Hoan Kiem & Tay Ho) and found a great yoga class! I will be a true Hanoian in no time - I may even get my own motorbike (sorry, mom!).
Insights thus far:
1.) To save money: run everywhere! I knew my running addiction would come in handy! Worst case scenario/if I get lost: there's an app called Grab that's similar to Uber, but is much cheaper than Uber. I can also "grab" a motorbike instead of a car if I prefer. Love it!
2.) Just laugh it off when (all) Hanoians know what you're trying to say in Vietnamese but just laugh at you in response because your accent is so horrible. :)
I have my first day of work tomorrow with my first of three field partners, Thrive Networks, an NGO based in Hanoi. I will conduct my first borrower interviews in the field (in Ninh Binh province, which is a couple of hours outside of Hanoi) this week and I'm very excited!
Update! My first day with my first field partner went well! Everyone was very friendly and helpful! I brought them chocolate and they loved it! They took me to lunch on their motorbike to get pho for lunch (my first time on a motorbike):
In sum, Hanoi is beautiful and the people are very kind!