Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A New Day, Another City (Day 8) Tuesday June 7

Sue and Minh had an unexpected meeting just before we left for the airport...

(She works hard on these overseas trips. Just in case you're thinking this is all fun n games for her...)

After which we zipped to the airport in a cab in the highway with the mural wall made of ceramic tiles:

Our next stop was Danang. (Again.)
This time for longer than 6 hours. First, though, snacks on the plane:

The check-in process here was time consuming and professional. We were treated to ice cold cloths to refresh ourselves with , and some sweet ginger tea.

Next we considered all the complimentary options available to us at the spa and booked our appointments.

Our room:

Tiny. Efficient.

That's the shower behind the red purse. And the toilet is behind frosted glass panels on the other side of the sink.

And THIS is the view from our room:

I had a feeling I was really going to like this city.

And then the rain started.

So we were unsure of how to proceed.

But the concierge at the hotel called a friend in Hanoi, who said, "Come on over. It isn't raining very hard here..."

So we took a cab to the ancient city of Hoi An and wandered around in utter amazement at the beauty.

(From Wikipedia: Hội An is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to 19th century. 
The city possessed the largest harbour in south-east Asia in the 1st century)

This city has been around since the 1st century.

We crossed the bridge, where there were many Lantern Ladies, selling paper lanterns. She'd lower the lantern of your choice onto the river, where it, along with your wish, would float downstream. It was very pretty watching people's wishes float away.

And we wondered if they were biodegradable or if someone was cleaning up the mess a mile down stream.

We found a lovely place to eat, right in front of a mega-fan and everything was probably wonderful but all I could think about was the spa treatment we'd signed up for.

Was it going to be as uncomfortable as the Hot Stone Birthday Massage?
Neither of those two things sounded good.
How could I get out of this whole experience?


Where would the mud be applied?
Would I be wrapped in some sort of leaf? Like big banana leaves?
Oh look at that cute little boy.

Will I have to get naked?
Please no.
Please God no.
Why did I agree to this?
What is wrong with me?
This is a pretty town.
It sure is hot here.
I am a sticky mess.
Please God, let this not be an awful experience tonight.

These Lantern Ladies are so precious.
Please let me survive the Mud Wrap with some dignity intact.

Please let tonight be over.

On the cab ride back Sue asked if I was nervous about the Mud Wrap.
"Hell yeah."
"It's gonna be awesome. I'll make sure we all get private rooms. Don't worry. It'll be fine."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Catch 'em.


This happened.

And despite a few efforts to Celebrate Appropriately With Everyone, I couldn't get my family together. (We were together in May. Fingers crossed I can make it happen again in August. I'm averaging one dinner with all my kids every 2 months. Or 6 times a year. And WE ALL LIVE IN THE SAME TIME ZONE.)

In talking with some of my younger, recently married friends, six times a year is about how often they'd want to see their mothers-in-law, so I guess I'm well on my way to being Mother/Mother In Law of the year ... :)

ANYWAY, seeing I couldn't get us all together, I ended up just taking Clint out by myself. And whilst we waited for our meal, I asked him about Pokemon Go. I got a private lesson:

His enthusiasm was infectious.
And based on the conversation that was taking place on our family Facebook message thread, all the kids + Danica were playing. So I asked how I could get it, and was told it wasn't available for Canadian moms on iPhones yet. He'd let me know when.

I offered to give him a drive back to his office, but he said he'd walk. He had Pokemon to catch.

(I hope, despite the detour into Nintendo territory, I was able to adequately express my pride in his accomplishments. Sometimes I suck at Celebrating The Thing because I'm just so happy to be In Their Presence.)


Things and stuff and life and work and events happened, and last weekend I escaped to the lake to rest my brain by talking to God for abit. A co-worker from France has family and friends who live in Nice and were on the boulevard watching the fireworks the night the truck plowed through the crowds. And on the same night, someone I care about was in Turkey when the military coup was taking place. These events became personal from my little safe haven at the lake. Plus there were cancer diagnosis's, the death of a co-worker from my Bevo days, the pain of those who are struggling with addictions, friends who need wisdom and strength as they care for parents, folks who need satisfying employment, and friends who simply need some good news.

So last Saturday I listened to sermons online and prayed my guts out.

And then 24 hours later I got the message from Clint:

And just like that, I became a trainer whose job it is to catch Pokemon.
The first one appeared seconds later; right in the backyard at the lake:

I pushed the red and white ball towards him and SUCCESS - I caught 'im.
And with that, I was hooked.

It really doesn't take much.

Also? While at the lake?
I planned my next colouring page.

And I realized I need to get some of those USB plugs, because regular outlets don't cut it anymore.

I finished reading this:

Which was all about the show that broke the barriers re: women on TV. Apparently. (Well until Maude came along. THAT was groundbreaking.)

I remember this show from my childhood and was intrigued by all the background info on both the actors and the writers. And what really happens on the set and behind the scenes.

My summer read at the lake is going to be this one;

And this?
Is my summer theme:

Woman? Is anything too hard for the Lord?



A few hours later I was back in Surrey.

My message to Clint:

What followed was another lesson in Pokemon catching.
Ending with:


And then this week was filled with long walks with my phone (accompanied by any friends who are also trainers. Surprisingly not everyone is on board with this, Haha. Go figure.) Everywhere I went there were folks on their phones, laughing and playing Pokemon. The world is a kinder, gentler place because of Pokemon Go.
And because of Jesus.

Fraser Heights is boring as far as catching goes. Vancouver's sea walls and New West's parks and waterfront are fun and interesting and also great locations for my other favorite past time; taking pics. Most of those pics are getting posted to Instagram these days. Check here: https://www.instagram.com/pixnprose (Know what I like about instagram? The immediate responses. I am not one who likes attention for myself, but I love it when a scene I've been lucky enough to capture and personally love, gets 50 likes. (This week's Vancouver pics garnered 85 likes. For me, that is a whole lot of affirmation about my ability to take a decent pic.) (Mostly from strangers, because, sigh, so few of my friends are on social media.)

That's been my week.
Back to posting pics re: Vietnam trip.
Starting tomorrow...

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. The amazing way God answered some desperate prayers last weekend.
2. This place, which reminds me of my dad.
3. Strawberries and raspberries and DQ blizzards and sunshine and full moons and long walks and DM's and movie nights and good books and a job and summer and decks and leftover meals and family chats online and sons who graduate and sons who are clean and sons who are getting married and the smell of cut grass and safe neighbourhoods to walk in at 11 pm, and a God who loves my people even more than I do.

Shalom, friends.
There is nothing too hard for him.

Supper in Hanoi. (Continuation of Day 7) June 6

After Sue and Minh's appointment, we all (the agents, an alum, and us) went out for dinner for authentic Vietnamese food.

The restaurant had food prep stations all around the outer walls. The dining area was in the middle of the room. Each station had it's own cooks, ingredients and appliances to make a specific item. Was fascinating.

And then it was brought to our table, family style:

Sue enjoyed this meal with every cell in her body.
I never got the hang of chopsticks.
Those statements are unrelated. They're just random facts.

This was Sue's favorite dish. Instead of getting a sweet dessert, she opted for these:

This was the dessert; a sweet lumpy beverage, kind of like our bubble tea. Probably coconut milk based.

And then we said our goodbyes and walked a few miles back to our hotel:

When we got back to the hotel, Minh and I decided to sit in the lobby and listen to the pianist who was playing the grand piano. Just as we settled in, her shift was over and she left the building. Haha. Great timing on our part. 

Awhile later, Minh had a late work meeting: 

A long, rich, full, amazing day.
Our last one in Hanoi. 
(Haha, if you're keeping track, we were only here two days.)
We'd be leaving in the morning.