27 July 2012

Jeanne and Chateau Mango...in Vietnam



My first friend in Vietnam.

Xin chào (hello)...

Woman on the verge has landed and what a landing it has been. Something along the lines of psychedelic for surely that would be your first thought if you happened upon our new home in Ho Chi Minh City.

I am not quite sure how it happened. Our landlord offered to paint the house inside and out before our arrival. Mr. H and I discussed colours and decided to have it painted the same as the previous colour because we were not in the country to look at paint samples. The previous colours were off white, inside and out. Better to be safe than sorry.

I thought this was the end of the story...until we drove up the driveway on Tuesday morning. What was  a safe beige is now orange...mango orange to be exact. I live in a mango world and as much as I love to eat them, I never thought I would live inside one.



Jeanne and the Giant Mango..James and the Giant Peach...we are one.

It turns out Mr. H thought he would shake things up a bit. He looked at a paint sample on his return to Vietnam a few weeks ago and wanteed to surprise me...and that he did. If you have been reading along lately, you will know that Mr. H is full of surprises. I am still stunned, maybe I will come around. Our adventure has started out with a bright brilliant orange bang!





House aside...it has been fun settling into life in Vietnam. We have a driver, Mr. Kai, a gardener, Mr. Truan, a housekeeper/cook, Miss Huyen and a night guard (haven't met him yet)  to keep me on my toes. This is the first time I have had more than a housekeeper and... I think I am going to like it.

around the garden

We are all working on our communication skills, mine needs some work. Vietnamese is a tonal language, one word can be said seven different ways and in turn have seven different meanings. The words do not roll easily off the tongue for me and sometimes they can sound quite harsh...or something akin to when the dentist numbs your mouth and you spend the rest of the day drooling and spitting your words out.  I have mastered hello, 'xin chao' (sounds like ''sin chow'). Although I keep forgetting it's meaning and yesterday I kept using it to say 'thank you'. I thought I was saying 'thank you' to the driver only to have him repeatedly say ' bye bye'. We were both in a state of confusion and laughter. Lucky for me, he has a smile that lights up a room and one that never seems to stop.

Miss Huyen is going to be my lifesaver. After an exhausting process in the supermarket on the first day, reading products in Vietnamese and trying to play guess the product from the pretty picture on the package, I decided to take Miss Huyen with me to the supermarket today to translate. Mr. Kai joined us and between the three of us we had great success. It's the little things that make all the difference, especially whey they are of the foreign kind.

Shopping for dinner at the local Metro.

We have been playing hide and seek with our Internet service. I was quite impressed with how fast the service was until I discovered that Facebook and Blogger are blocked by the powers that be. After a few...actually...many hysterical moments from Mrs. H, it was a case of  Mr. H and his trusty team back at the office to the rescue. They gave me the heads up on Hotspot Shield...of which I am now an Elite member (of my own accord). I am doing the VPN signal in VN...happily.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that another road block will not appear on the Internet front. Heaven forbid I should be cut off from all you wonderful readers...you all make my world go round. I have a lot of catching up to do, blogs to read, letters to write, Facebook updates...I have been waiting for the time.  At this juncture of my life...there is know telling what will happen next.

I am starting the morning at 4:30am (jet lag) to the sounds of a very ambitious rooster. I wish someone would tell him the sun is not up yet. He must be confusing the light coming from my window. Man...now the night guard is whistling... ah life... in Ho Chi Minh City. :)

More to come...now sure how much you can take....I will stop here but before I go, I just want to thank you all for your blog posts, comments and well wishes. You light up my world...really and truly...and by the sounds of it you are lighting up the roosters world too!

I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz at the moment....got to get me a pair of red sparkly sandals..(for the tropics) and then decide where home is... in the meantime, hang on folks...we are in for one wild ride!


He is too cute to ignore and seems to have lots of family with him.
I think I will call him 'Ozzie' for OZ...as in The Wizard of Oz.

OMG...another sound...one like no other..
are there monkey's in the trees here too?
Off to explore....
:)

PS...Tika, our dog, is mid-flight and all is well.
She is currently in the Frankfurt, Germany airport pet lounge 
waiting for her next flight. She arrives on Friday!


More on Chateau Mango here

53 comments:

  1. I am praying for you in this HUGE transition, you brave woman.

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    1. Thank you Glenda...I will think of it that way too...sounds better than crazy! :)

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  2. what a wonderful experience you are having and i love that you are sharing it with all of us. enjoy it all.

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    1. Thank you Deanna...happy too...and thank you for following along. :)

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  3. You've just arrived and already it's an adventure! I can't wait to see your new home through your lens.

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    1. Agree Stephanie, a mango coloured house has a way of setting the heart thumping.. :)

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  4. I'm going to enjoy following your adventures, Jeanne. It sounds wonderful!

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    1. Do glad Teri...my aim is to get you to visit...you will love the decorative craftwork here, lots of inspiration. :)

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  5. How exciting! I....actually like the color. It very much makes me think of Santa Fe, one of my favorite places. I know you will be relieved when you sweet pet arrives.

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    1. Thank you Bonnie...if our dog is confused by the long flight and heat then she will surely be confused by the sight of our house...I will have my camera ready! :)

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  6. loving reading this and following along...no blogger i know has the adventures you do!

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    1. Thanks Becky...they are out there in the 'expat blogworld'...finding them is another matter. :)

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  7. Hello Jeanne

    So lovely to see pictures and hear of your adventures. Even a trip to the grocery store is a learning curve. The sounds must be so interesting too. I am so happy Tika is on her way. She is in for a treat.
    Continued good luck

    Helen xx

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    1. Thank you Helen..yes the grocery stores are a huge learning curve. I look forward to a grocery free day! :)

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  8. Well, now that you have your first friend all sorted out...I won't worry too much now. A delightful choice too, I might add. O.k., I LOVE the color of the house. But, I am a definite 'fall' person. In fact, my bedroom has 3 walls painted 'nutmeg' and one wall painted 'pumpkin spice'...so orange sherbert is good with me too. And...I remember how excited I got in Japan when in teeny tiny print on the backside of one box it said "laundry detergent" ...in English!! It was the highlight of that day. Getting home from the grocery sometimes took an hour (it was 20 min. away) because I would get so lost because I couldn't read any of the signs. Oh, the stories you will tell!!

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    1. I am relating already Sarah...it reminds me of how much we take for granted in our own country. It is fascinating to be a part of a different culture in more ways than one. :)

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  9. Great to hear all is well and you are settling into your new adventure. It started well with the orange house! What fun you will be having and I know there will be 100s of stories forthcoming! Enjoy.

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    1. I am sure you can relate Victoria how important those first days can be, they will always be the most memorable. We are off to a good start! :)

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  10. So very happy to have a report! And will rest easier when Tika arrives.
    Yowza! Mr. H. is quite the colourist, no? A creamsicle house! I actually love it... very cheerful, and how wonderful the garden will look with that background.
    Sending my love,
    pamela

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    1. Creamsicle it is Pamela...and you are so kind to mention me in your post! Mr. H is getting all sorts of attention from this post, I am making sure he does not miss a single comment! :)

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  11. Ooh very exciting - I love the colour and LOVE the idea of all the help - get used to it very quickly! Great first post from you new home - more please! F xx

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  12. Jeanne, I don't normally like any variation of orange, but I must say I love it on your new home. Very tropical and refreshing. Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you Paula...that means a lot coming from a fellow New Englander! :)

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  13. You are so funny Jeanne! But I would have reacted the same way upon arriving to see a yellow orange "mango" house. But the it looks good! It is not tacky. Your house is huge and very nice. It is hilarious too that you took a picture of the lizard which reminded me of my childhood in Manila, Philippines. I guess, those tiny lizards are common in tropical countries. I am glad Tika will be arriving soon. Also, thanks for sharing that FB and blogger are blocked in Vietnam. Sometimes we take for granted here in the West all the freedom we have.

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    1. Thank you Pamela...you are so right about taking things for granted, especially as they have blocked Facebook again. It is like playing a game of cat and mouse with the internet here....very frustrating! :)

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  14. Love it Jeanne! I think your new home looks fabulous...
    So glad you are finally there and to me it all sounds so incredibly exciting.... I can just imagine the sounds, the smells and the bustle that is a large Asian city... I feel quite sentimental reading your post... I think I miss Asia... Who would have thought! Much love, xv

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    1. Asia to Provence...quite a world we live in Vicki. You are so right about the sounds, smells and bustle of the city, like no other, for me anyways. I am finding my rhythm... it is definetly the fun part. :)

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  15. Oh Jeanne! What a fascinating new chapter of your life you've just opened. I will be hanging off every word. As per usual. Hmm, could you call it 'Hermes orange' to make you feel better?! J x

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  16. Xin Chao .. I adore your new abode.. hey.. Jeanne.. remember orange is the color of the year this year.. Tangerine Tango.. so your Mr H is spot on!.. especially with the palm trees swaying.. oh i see an adventure coming on! Tok, tok, goes your new little friends tail on the cement roof tiles.. hope he dosent disturb your jetlag sleep.. Safe travels Tika.. hugs j

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  17. Glad your journey went well!!! And also glad to read about your first Vietnam expressions! I had quite a laugh about your Mango house ;-)which looks good, nevertheless. And I love Ozzie (although it remembers me rather of Mr Osbourne - but the Wizard of Oz is much nicer :) )! How small he is! So cute! Thank you so much for sharing this all!!!

    I wish you all the best in Vietnam and am very looking forward to read more!
    Have a great time and take care!

    Greetings from Berlin!

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  18. Jeanne - Welcome to your new home! I envy you having such an adventure. A tip for coping with the heat and humidity - move slowly and don't move at all between noon and 3:00 p.m. Here at Penates it's been 30ºC plus for the last several days and not a cloud in the sky. Quite a change from the last several months. Cheers!

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  19. Xin Chao Jeanne! Oh my goodness, now THAT is a surprise! At the first photo I thought "Oh, it isn't so strong a colour" and then the second "Wow!"--heehee. I hope that you are happy with it--I think it works beautifully for Asia. And how fun!! I agree with Pamela that it definitely shows the garden off beautifully.

    I am verrry happy to read that you have a driver because the "driving" in HCM is the craziest I have seen anywhere on the planet. Actually, just plain old content to read that you have a great group of people surrounding you to make this transition as smooth as possible. Even the mysterious night watchman, if he is a whistler, must be nice.

    However, I have a troubling question: will Tika eat Oz? :o

    Sending lots of love from Arles!
    h

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  20. After an initial raised eyebrow, and a silent "wow", I actually quite like it. It's fresh. Tropical. Whimsical. And somehow seems very Vietnam. I think it suits the garden. There must be bright orange flowers in the garden? And what a luxury to have a gardener! I think your new life is going to be just fine... xx

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  21. You do realise that orange is the IN colour at the moment!!!!! You are now living in the height of fashion!!!!! Have fun. xx

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  22. Embrace the Mango Jeanne...it looks exotic. I still remember the day we arrived in Tokyo, our first overseas assignement with two young girls and a cocker-spaniel...I thought I'd landed on Mars!
    You've done this before, you can do this!

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  23. And the smells and perfumes Jeanne, come on we want all the details, you are doing this trip for us!! :)

    I can see that pretty soon 'the orange house' is going to be famous in Ho Chi Minh. I can hear the ladies already, "where are you dining tonight?", "oh, we are so excited, we're invited to the Orange House, we hear the lady there is lovely....."

    looking forward to your next instalment

    Sharon
    xx

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  24. Glad to know you had a very happy landing in Viet Nam. When Tika arrives, all will be well. Not being an orange person, I wasn't quite sure about the Mango color, but on second thought, it seems to be a very appropriate color for a tropical country. Looking forward to hearing about many great adventures in your new home. Can only imagine what it might be like.

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  25. It all sounds absolutely fascinating - they are such lovely people
    and I am sure they will do their best to make you feel welcome. I
    love that soft orange colour; I am sure it will be more cheerful than
    plain white.

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  26. Jeanne, I agree with so mNy here, the orange while at irst a shock is quite becoming in the tropics. Perhaps it will grow on you.

    As for all of your new domestic friends, I am sure they will be an enormous help. Why a night guard? Is it that dangerous or is it just a precaution?

    What did you find to eat at the store? Aside from all the fresh fruits and vegetables? I fear I would have a problem on that front, I am very picky.

    I admire your attitude, your courage and your sense of adventure! We are all praying for ou! I am sure that life is going to be very interesting.

    Take care and be well, Elizabeth

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  27. What a divine house and colour .. I think its stunnng.. all those lovely exquisite tropical flowers.
    It sounds like you are settling in.
    A whole new world of excitement Jeanne.
    looking forward to hearing more about Ho chi Minh city and your new advertures with oz.. the family will be complete when Tika arrives.
    wishing you all the best in your new home.
    val from Portugal

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  28. What colour did he choose for inside! Sending you all best wishes for this new chapter in your lives. Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures.
    Louise xx

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  29. We had a neighbor who voluntarily painted her house peach - a slight bit pinker than your lovely orange. It was startling at first, but after a while I really liked it. I think it will grow on you and somehow it seems to fit the exotic locale. Glad you are safely there. Can't wait to start learning about this interesting country thru your lens.

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  30. On Jeanne, how like a man to do something like that. I can see my husband pulling such a stunt on me. He loves bright colours and I do too - but not on my walls. I tend to stick to neutrals and he thinks they are so boring. LOL

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  31. there's something rather serendipitous about living in a bold-mango colored home in Vietnam.
    Wow. I'm utterly speechless. What daring.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

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  32. Jeanne ...My friend I am ever so glad to know that you have found a way to keep your thread of communication alive; how sad it would be to miss the stories of learning and exploring another place on this wonderful earth. The Mango delights my senses. . . I would enjoy being the character id the book Jeanne and the Giant Mango. . . the treasure seeking adventures, the discovery of beautiful flowers and works of art are but a few of the thing I would enjoy as a little person that is carried about in your pocket...maybe about the size of a Guatemalan worry doll...yes, indeed, that would be my delight.
    Looking forward to being on this magical, beautiful new adventure.
    Peace and blessings shared,
    Kristin

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  33. Hello Jeanne,

    Just checking in...hope the manjo color is growing on you! Have a great weekend. Hope your pup arrived safe.

    Elizabeth

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  34. Hi Jeanne,

    What an adventure! I think the mango color is fine. Reminds me of places I have seen in Maui or Kauai.
    Love seeing and hearing about your adventures. xo <3

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  35. Dear Jeanne,
    I just LOVE your new house/home and think that the mango dress that she is wearing is very appropriate for Vietnam ....... a far cry from Surrey methinks !!!! I do so admire you and the way that you seem to just adapt to a new and very different environment with the most wnderful attitude. I guess that you are quite used to it by now but, it must be a great upheaval. Still, you have your husband right along side you and it is indeed a great adventure. I only say this as I have never done anything like it so, you are 'right up there' in my book !
    I am so excited about the Olympic Opening Ceremony tonight.....I have already cried at the sneak preview that has been shown, cried at a compelation of the torch relay and, this morning when the royal boat, the Gloriana, took the flame up the Thames to the Tower of London where it will remain until this evening when it will be taken to the Stadium, I had a lump in my throat !! We will be sat down at 7.00p.m. for the build up at 9.00 p.m with wine, a take-away and a box of tissues !! Much love to you and your family Jeanne for a wonderful and special time in Vietnam. XXXX

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  36. I cannot believe you are there and already finding time to post. How do you do it? I've had family in the house for 3 weeks and barely find time to brush my teeth! Your house color may have come as a surprise, but I bet you are going to learn to like it. From what I know of Vietnam, it will fit right in and you will find a way to make it uniquely yours. It doesn't sound like life is going to be so bad with the help that is available. Carry on!

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  37. So looking forward to your travelogues in Vietnam, Jeanne. The house colour is fab: think of it as French-inspired Provencal/Meditteranean. Looks great set against the greenery. Our house is colour rendered in muted 'mango' too! I'm quite comfortable with it. Might just take a bit of getting used to after Surrey? :o)

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  38. Xin chao, it would be fun to learn more of the language with the pronunciation.

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  39. I love your house color. It's so perfect for the Asian sun. The more subtle colors disappear in that bright son. The only question is, have you figured out how you are going to make friends there? The rest would be new, I imagine, but doable.

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