Hai muoi ba- My age in Vietnamese. It was one of the first things I learned to say when I got here. I was constantly being asked how old I was. 23- twenty three years young.
I've always heard adults talking about terrible two's and the awkward stage of adolescence, particularly 13, but no one ever talks about how weird it is to be 23. At least if they do, no one ever mentioned it to me. I always associated 23 with independence. But didn't I gain that when I turned 18?
I'm finding it difficult to deal with my current state- Hai muoi ba. I am treated as an adult- I partake in adult conversations. I make adult decisions- decisions I know I would have never made when I was 18. But deep inside, I feel that inner child that says, slurp all your banana shake, stay up as late as you want, or hey another day without a shower wont kill ya. (I am in Vietnam after all)
Luckily enough, in this wonderful town of Hoi An is an ex-pat community. A community comprised of adults and children. Notice how I didn’t mention young adults. I seem to be the only ex-pat in their twenties. So when I'm with the other adults I grow up a little. I put my big girl pants on and talk about the quality of life, life plans, finances, men, etc etc. And when I'm lucky enough to be thought of as a "cool/hip" adult, I am accepted into the children's circle. This is where I'm able to shed my big girl pants, let loose and talk about video games, the cool sound head lice makes when you squash it, giggle about funny words, and all the other silly topics that come with the careless aura of being a kid.
Maybe 23 is not weird at all. Maybe it's that special age where it's acceptable to be a kid and an adult. Where the big girl pants can appear just as quickly and effortlessly as they disappeared. Weird or not weird- I am 23 and I'm going to continue on being 23 until November. So for now I'm going to appreciate my adult conversations just as equally as I appreciate my giggles with the tweenie boppers.