We’ve had a busy week negotiating property, planning a calendar for the year, figuring out figures and meeting new people. Before an extended, mouth-watering lunch with four families of amazingly talented and wonderfully engaging Vietnamese architects, we visited a nearby art gallery. Hosting a stunning collection of Buddhas from around Asia and a fabulous display of paintings by a Vietnamese artist, the building itself was just stunning. With a beautiful riverside view and traditional architecture, we will be adding it as a recommended place to visit in the area.
On Thursday we visited a market a little further away from the ‘Old Town’ and Hannah extremely proudly walked away with eggs, having asked for them in Vietnamese! During lunch yesterday however, we found out that the word we had been using for eggs (opla), actually means ‘fried egg’, so we have been regularly asking for fried eggs, not fresh eggs at the market stalls! We also discovered that the word for coconut can mean melon, pineapple, ‘leaning’, ‘washing up’ or ‘in the middle’ depending on the tone you use!
We’ve had A LOT of rain today, with Danang city, only 40 minutes away, flooded over a metre in places. We’ve hunkered down with a supply of water, food, and tea-lights, as we’re predicted more to come overnight. The pond is overflowing and the fish are attempting to make a ‘great escape’ back to the river, but we’re elevated enough to stay dry. Whilst we’ll be ok in our little home, the roads are nearly knee deep in water, so we’re unlikely to be going anywhere far for the next couple of days! These wonderful photographs from the ‘Vietnam is Awesome Community’ show how many people are making the most of the situation, though of course we are thinking of those whose houses have flooded.
Floating along in a paddling pool! Flooding in Danang City.
…others take to canoes to negotiate the streets!
Wading to look at a potential retreat venue this morning, Hannah’s flip-flop broke. We viewed the house (with Hannah in bare feet!), and on the way back, stopped at a local shop to pick up a few supplies. After what we though was quite an impressive ‘charades’ demonstration of a mosquito coil, which resulted in a lot of confused faces and laughter, we resorted to google-images and found the final item. We were finally ready to pay when the lovely lady who had been helping us, disappeared… a few minutes later, she reappeared carrying a new pair of flip-flops, which she insisted we took away with us for free! These acts of random kindness, really do happen here on a regular basis – a whole garlic here, sprig of coriander there, flip-flops today! The people we have met have really gone out of their way to be helpful and generous, and it is a rare occasion when we are met with any animosity.
(There really should be a photograph here of Hannah with her flip-flops, but didn’t take my camera out in the rain!)
Our neighbours are a prime example. In the first couple of weeks here, we had a few awkward encounters where we thought we were being invited round for lunch (but weren’t completely sure!). Finally, risking impropriety, we ventured round with a small gift for the grandson. We sat and enjoyed a delicious meal with them, and as they have no English at all, and our Vietnamese is extremely limited, the communication was purely through gesture, smiles and use of the few words we have acquired (like ‘delicious’!). The next day, the lady next door came into our house to show a friend round, sit and have a chat with her in the kitchen, compare noses (yes, noses!), and investigate the contents of our kitchen! The whole interaction was entertaining on both sides, and just delightful! It’s truly amazing how connection can be created without language!
Our next blog will be the first of our ‘thoughts of the week’. This experience has been life-changing in many ways, and we would like to share some of these in a weekly reflection, but will still keep you updated with our progress!
With gratitude and love,
“Kindness is universal. Sometimes being kind allows others to see the goodness in humanity through you. Always be kinder than necessary.” Germany Kent