I’ve had to remember that Ho Chi Minh city isn’t always filled with lights and flowers and flags, because this week is special… its Tet, the best holiday in the world if you haven’t been informed. Our last nights in Ho Chi Minh before we left for Da Lat on Saturday were filled with the banging of drums accompanying dancing dragons across the street from our hotel. I’ve learned that Tet is a time to forgive and start fresh—so, hello brand new bright world!
I’ve been lucky enough to spend Tet with the Nguyen family in Da Lat who have taken Lynnanne and I as their homestay daughters. The two daughters, Tram and Trang, are just about our same age, 18 and 22, and both live in Saigon either working or studying, but are back home with their family for the new year. The father, Thanh, is a photographer and their mother, Trinh, is a journalist for the music section of the T.V. She was saying last night how she knows how to play a traditional lyre, and I’m really hoping for a private concert… updates on that soon…
Tet starts of with lucky money found in red envelopes, the best way to start off the day… and then off to the pagoda to wish for a lucky new year! It’s the year of the Tiger, which means be prepared from some strong will and unpredictable behavior. After the pagoda, we met some of the father’s brothers and sisters and their families at their old strawberry farm. Then it was off to the mother’s brother’s house. I have never eaten so much in my entire life… good thing I brought stretchy pants. The rest family has found us extremely entertaining. My height is the topic of endless conversation since a 5’9” woman is somewhat of an anomaly here.
Lynnanne speaks a little Vietnamese and the sisters also speak some English, which has been extremely helpful in crossing that language barrier of mine. But their hospitality, generosity, and kindness need no interpretation. These are some of the warmest people I’ve met. Thank you Vietnam! And Chuc mung num moi!