The hardest goodbye and the easiest… (Part 1)

The last time I posted I wrote about how life in Vietnam was turning sour, I wasn’t enjoying the work that I did or the fact that we could never earn enough to explore the beautiful country we resided in. However there was one shining light in the lives we led, our rescue dog Princess. Our plans of earning money to further travel changed the day we rescued her, she was now our responsibility and getting her to England for a new and safe life was all we wanted to do. She was our motivation, we knew we had to work every hour we could in order to get her the vaccinations and certificates needed to get her into England. To be home by October 2017 was our aim, that gave us enough time to save money and wait for all sorts of test results and certificates to come through.

However I write this in July 2017 from England, and Vietnam is now nothing but a memory filled with pain, sadness and anger but also happiness, love and cherished moments.

I’ll try my best to explain what the hell happened.

Previously I have spoken of how I moved on from a Receptionist position at the Sofia Boutique Hotel in Da Nang to a more suited Design and Photography position. Now despite enjoying the actual work that I did the job came with its difficulties, most notably the creative differences that arose between me and superior. These differences created a tension that ensured that each day at the hotel was not as enjoyable as I had wanted it to be. I soon began to realise the mistake that I was making, and that was to care too much about the job, something that was not easy to understand or in fact put into action.

There was a particular moment when I designed a drinks menu to the exact specifications that my superior had wanted, something that was bright, colourful and attracted the attention of the customers. I was allowed to design the menu in any which way I wanted so long as it followed the needs of the business, and so I designed something in which in the end I was actually quite proud of. I had put a lot of my time, effort and passion into designing a menu that I truly felt was good for the hotel’s restaurant and would stand out amongst competitors. There was a sense of pleasure within me as I sent off the design for approval, never believing that soon my passion for the work that I did would be diminished in one simple email.

The response to my drinks menu design was neither positive nor negative but I knew that they were not happy with it. This wasn’t the first time either that my designs had been either undermined, ignored, or simply put to one side never to be seen again, but with this drinks menu I strongly felt that it was better than anything they had previously had at the restaurant. So it is fair to say that when I was told to completely redesign the menu again I was crushed and left deflated, especially upon discovery of the reasoning behind the decision to redesign. Apparently the hotel owner had never wanted a bright, colourful and attractive menu for budgeting reasons and that the menu was to be printed in black and white. My time had simply been wasted.

I refused to allow my design to be printed in black and white and I wasn’t shy about telling them how I felt, however after discussions with a more understanding manager within the hotel I agreed to the redesign. I relied on the job too much to make enemies. Hearing that I needed to take my emotions away from my work and essentially become a ‘yes man’ robot that simply sits there and does everything he is told without being allowed an opinion was pretty hard to take. Again however I had to think of our true goal, earning the money to get Princess home. I didn’t want to become a puppet, not after years of being just that and always sitting in the shadows. Finally I had a voice and it turns out some people didn’t particularly like that voice.

Just a few days later I had a reluctantly redesigned drinks menu ready, and so minutes before leaving my shift at 5pm on one particular day I sent off my work to those that would decide its fate. Turns out that that day would be my last at the Sofia Boutique Hotel, but more on that in the next post.


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