May 10

Falling in Love Under the Lanterns of Hoi An

lanterns of Hoi An

Colorful lanterns swayed in the warm evening breeze above and around us, lending a warm and inviting glow to the crowded streets below. “All these lanterns make me want to fall in love,” my friend, Anne, quipped. We laughed and joked at how ridiculous that sounded, but she had a point.

lanterns in Hoi An

Every evening under the rainbow luminescence dozens of couples walked hand in hand in their wedding attire as photographers captured their romance on film. Lovers stole kisses under archways dripping in fragrant jasmine vines and others exchanged knowing glances across a candlelit dinner table. Hoi An really was a magical place; and then one day I, too, fell in love.

lanterns in Hoi An

No, I didn’t fall in love with a man; I think we’ve all given up on that happening in this decade. (I have far too many poop stories to ever attract a reasonable male). But as I strolled down the streets on my own one evening, piano music tinkling from a building as I stopped to smell those glorious jasmine flowers, I felt my heart swell with a different kind of love: a love for my own life.

night lights of Hoi An

As crazy as it may sound, for all the wild and amazing things I’ve been doing with my life lately, it’s been a long time since I truly, completely loved my life. There was always a note of doubt, a sliver of fear, and a shade of insecurity that held me back from that real, unbridled passion for life. And then one day, walking the streets of Hoi An, I realized I was finally happy. Inexplicably, stupidly happy.

lanterns of Hoi An

Who can say why our heart suddenly changes? It might be what someone says, or does. It might be a major event, or it might simply be the right hue of light. It might be the right chord, conspiring with the universe to chime at just the right moment so that it catches you off guard in a thoughtful reverie. Whatever the case, when the moment comes to release our inhibitions and let joy into our hearts, we must embrace it.

wedding photos in Hoi An

My days in Hoi An were spent riding bikes through rice paddies, lounging at the beach, taking a cooking class, volunteering at an orphanage, getting clothes tailor made, eating dessert to my heart’s delight (but not my stomach’s), and laughing with friends. If that’s not enough to make a person absurdly happy, then someone tell me what happiness even is.

bikes in Hoi An

Walking down the street in Hoi An, my heart bursting with excitement at my newfound happiness, I knew how cheesy it all sounded. When I thought about telling anyone I cringed at the cheese factor of it all. God, sometimes I’m so cheesy I could melt. I am a corny, cheesy, silly person.

Hoi An

But that’s the beauty and liberty of this kind of happiness: I just don’t care. It’s my life, and I’m living it exactly the way I want to. What more could I really ask for?

riding bikes in hoi an

beach in Hoi An beach in Hoi An

riding bikes in Hoi An

dessert in Hoi An

streets of Hoi An

streets of Hoi An

streets of Hoi An

streets of Hoi An

Have you ever had a time in your life where you were really, truly happy? 

  • Love love love! I feel like this post is contagious. I also loved Hoi An and I’m vicariously living through you right now 🙂

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thanks! I’m missing Hoi An already. There’s just something so magical about it! 🙂

  • Hoi An looks so nice and dreamy – I can picture myself falling in love there, too! 🙂

    • Oh and btw. I was meaning to ask you! I’m just about to get myself a new DSLR and see you have a Canon! What model do you have? All these choices are so overwhelming!

      • KaleenasKaleidoscope

        I have a Canon Rebel T3i. It’s a good starter camera and not too pricey (I think they have newer versions now but same thing). I’d recommend going for a more basic camera and spending your money on the nice lenses. I do love my Canon! Good luck with your search, it can definitely be overwhelming trying to decide.

  • Debbie Theodosiou

    Omg!! it looks liek you had the time of yuour life! I would definitely wanted to go to Vietnam but never imagined it was so fun! enjoy your travels!



    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thanks! I definitely did. I hope you get a chance to go to Vietnam someday, it really exceeded my expectations 🙂

  • I’m so happy that you’re happy. It really looks like an adventure of a lifetime and to hear that you’re in love with every minute of it, is wonderful. 😀

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thank you! It really does feel great! 🙂