I’ve recently returned from a trip to Vietnam. The first thing that you notice is how nice the people are. They just can’t do enough for you. I was very open-minded myself, and I think when you spread positive vibes, they come back to you tenfold and people around you can feel it. It’s an energetic exchange of positivity.
I was looking at all these scooters, each with their own story and their own life. We saw them everywhere we went on our journey. Apparently in Hanoi, 50% of the population ride scooters. Sometimes the amount of passengers simply amazed me, the most I saw was 4. Often it was the whole family, parents and 2 children, and by the time my brain would register this they were long gone.
The Vietnamese love their flowers. They buy them to decorate their homes and offer to their ancestors at family altars. And apparently every home has one.
They also love their food. Even small villages had a place where you can go out to eat. The food was sooo good that I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to find the words to describe it. I loved everything I tried, maybe I was just lucky by choosing amazing dishes. Although I must admit it wasn’t hard.
In Hoi An (an old fishing village) we visited the old town where only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed. It was an absolutely gorgeous place, especially in the evening with lots of lanterns adorning the streets. When we entered the town, there were women carrying fruit baskets on their shoulders. I was always curious to know how heavy they were. Be careful what you wish for though, one of them came to me and placed the baskets on my shoulder. I thought they were going to break me in half. That’s how heavy they were and it wasn’t even full! This woman was shorter than me and I am not very tall myself, 5 ft 3 or 162cm. I couldn’t help but be amazed at how strong she was, and it made me think that you don’t need to be physically big to be strong.
At all the places we stayed, everyone was so friendly. Looking at their way of life made me think, if we can actually enjoy what life gives us, that is all that matters.
There was one particular situation that was an eye-opening experience for me:
We couldn’t find our driver that was meant to pick us up from the airport and transfer us to the hotel we were staying at for our last night in Hanoi. We waited for about 40 minutes; phoning the hotel to try to find out where he was. In the end, we just took a taxi from the airport. In hindsight we should have done it straight away. When we finally arrived at the hotel, both my husband and I weren’t very happy. It was our last day and we wanted to do so many things, including buying presents for family and friends. The friendly receptionist at the hotel offered us fresh ginger and cinnamon tea. I really enjoyed it and asked how they prepared it. After I was told I said that I needed to buy the cinnamon to make it myself.
The receptionist said that she had a lot at home and that she was going to bring me some. Which she did. It was a big bag of the most amazing cinnamon I’ve ever seen and smelled. It made me feel very small and big at the same time. Small because I allowed my emotions to blind me with the whole situation with the driver and big because I managed to overcome this and allow positive vibes, friendliness and acceptance of this receptionist to enter my life making me feel calm and happy.
We, Europeans, westerners can often get caught up in the drama making it tumble like an avalanche till it crushes us with all the emotions that we antagonise in our mind.
Being trapped in our negative emotions, thoughts and behaviours makes us feel small, by creating drama in our life. This makes us forget to enjoy small moments (for me it was this amazing fresh tea and then a bag of cinnamon), we forget to enjoy our life. That is what it’s all about – to allow ourselves to enjoy it, isn’t it?
The easiest way to do it is to practice GRATITUDE for everything we have in our daily life, starting with small things like family, clean water, food, comfy bed etc.
“I curse the fact I had no shoes, until I saw the man who had no feet.”
– Persian Proverb –