Week 6: Hobbies or Side Hustle?

In an earlier post, I bemoaned my lack of hobbies. Like a decent amount of children and teenagers, I took up a variety of activities and hobbies when I was a child that I do not continue to partake in. When I was eight, my best friend and I decided that we would start a clothing line. So I had my mother buy a sewing machine and I managed to draw a design on a t-shirt and sew basically nothing. Two years ago I bought tracing paper and dusted off my sewing machine, hoping my mature mind would be able to do what eight year old me could not. Update: I think I broke the sewing machine when I was eight.

Of my other hobbies, I still have the keyboard I received when I wanted to learn piano, jewelry making supplies when I decided I would make earrings for fun, the yarn and string from my knitting and friendship bracelet phase and a variety of other art supplies from the many art projects that I had kept me entertained as a child. As a semi-adult, I now wish I had kept up with some of these hobbies because there are times when I wish I could make my own clothes or jewelry instead of buying something I only partially like. And since being in vientiane where my coworkers make beautiful earrings, use crocheted plastic bags to make chopsticks holders and place mats, and create stunning pillow covers, I wish I had some additional hobby or skill that could keep me from watching too much Netflix and reading books until 3:00 in the morning. But for my coworkers, these activities are not just hobbies to keep them from idle minds, these are their side hustles.

While I have made side hustle plans in the past, I have never quite followed through on them. However when I was talking to my coworker about all these cool hobbies everyone has, she mentioned to me that almost everyone had a side hustle. In addition to working for VFI, one of my coworkers opened a restaurant, another can fix and tailor sinh skirts, someone who used to work at VFI sold shrimp and another person sells mangoes from her yard. One of the other interns asked if these money making ventures are out of necessity, and our advisor said that is not really the case. It almost seems like a part of the culture to have multiple skills. Lao people are pretty laid-back and are not at all worked obsessed machines, so it genuinely seems to me that these are just for fun side hustles. My coworker likes making earrings and can also make money off of it, so why not. At a cafe on our street, in addition to selling breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they also have a nail salon. At another cafe we went to this weekend, it was a cafe, bar, and ice cream parlor. I can totally understand the logic of getting involved in multiple areas and making an extra kip while doing it.