After pining so long for you from a distance, we finally met. I had long imagined you in daydreams, face half-hidden on a slow, scenic walk. In real life, you are still beautiful, but not what I had imagined—more robust, more brash. Maybe I had assumed you’d be a frail flower, slow to bloom, hiding from the world. But no, the world is right here basking in your darkness and you are just as proud of your past as the town you’ve fashioned yourself to be. Well met, Hoi An. Thank you for having me tonight.