Still those ares not the only memories we have of that trip. Many were some of the most unique and beautiful days I have spent on this earth and it was because of the beautiful people of VietNam. This is a story I wrote four years ago and on this day, the anniversary of "The Yellow Blanket" story, I decided to re-post one of our favorite stories from five years ago in VietNam. Re-reading it again, brings me back to that time and place that has now become so special and dear to us. For us, it is almost like the Christmas story itself...and we never tire reflecting upon this time. Not only were we able to bring home our beloved Benjamin and Isabelle, and meet our Sophie, who would come home in 2008, we were privileged to spend time in a beautiful country, filled with wonderful people. So once again we reminisce about December, 2006 and say, we miss you, beautiful Vietnam, and your lovely, gracious people
A few weeks ago I began undertaking the massive job of the seasonal change over. In our large household this is rather an unpleasant undertaking, but one that must be done in order to comfortably survive our long, cold winters. I had already finished the worst of it; emptying the drawers of all the warm weather clothes and then sorting thru last years fall/winter clothes to see what would still fit who then packed up the remaining clothes along with all the summer clothes into the piles of: a) possibly will still fit next year, b) too small for anyone, c) too small for older kids but too large for the younger ones etc. All that mostly remained was to drag out all the flannel sheets and extra blankets & comforters from our storage in the barn and put them in the laundry room to wash them before removing the all the percale sheets and light cotton blankets from our 9 beds and 2 cribs. It was while I was washing the extra crib blankets that I had another one of those visual memory reminders that stopped me in my tracks. I saw Ben's yellow fleece blanket I had made for him before we went to Vietnam and once again I was transported back to Vietnam to the morning of December 21rst, 2006.
That particular morning, our facilitator, Thuy, called to say we could finally apply for Ben's passport that afternoon, but that we needed to have his picture taken again immediately as the ones from his G&R were now sealed and could not be used. Since the address she had given us for the one-hour photo shop was just on the other side of the Hoan Kiem Lake, we decided to bundle Ben up and walk the mile plus distance. And even though it was almost 70 degrees, we brought his yellow fleece blanket to cover him so that we would not be stopped and chided for improper clothing.
Earlier that week David & I had attempted to go for a walk with Benjamin to buy some groceries and the lobby clerk of our hotel didnt like how cold it was outside or the way he was dressed so she insisted that he stay with her while we went out! Uhmmmm...and we left him with her as she was REALLY quite insistent! Again, only in VietNam would you leave your new baby with a stranger and not be tooooo nervous! When we returned there he was, on her hip enjoying all the attention from clerks and clients alike!!
|Benjamin and David with the yellow blanket on his shoulder|
Just then, a very old, I mean VERY OLD, Vietnamese man stopped when he saw my tears and asked in broken English & sign language what he could do to help. I tried to tell him it was ok...I had just dropped my son's yellow blanket somewhere, and that I really didnt need it, when he spotted the blanket in the road on the opposite side of the very busy intersection. Undaunted, he motioned for us to wait there with Ben and was just about to cross the street to retrieve it, when a young woman on a motorbike stopped to pick it up.
This moment in time was such a paradigm shift for me I can hardly type for the tears.
|Notice how many layers Ben is dressed in? |
And then David's bare arm? It was 70^ that day!
Now THANK GOD the older gentleman was not hurt running across the street! He retrieved the blanket from the vendor and carried it gently back and handed it to us with the air of a prized trophy! I hugged him in gratitude for his kindness and then he went his way, smiling.
|One more clothing check before we departed...|
|Tuan, our hotel manager...and friend|
So today, five years later, we are still missing this wonderful place and people (and the food!) and fervently hoping that we can return to visit once again soon!
|The Marvelous Madame Chau|
|Our favorite doorman|
|The young man who brought us our fresh fruit every afternoon|
|A local silk merchant|
|The adoption notary...he was also there at Sophie's G&R!|
|Hien..one of the most friendly waitresses we ever met. She would meet us at the elevator to take Ben as soon as the door opened...|
|This is the lovely Thuoc...we'd have taken her home with us as well if we could!|
|Christmas Eve, 2006|
|Need I say more...?|