I am humbled by the acts of kindness that have passed our way recently. It is such an easy thing to do, to reach out...and touch. I don't mean in the physical sense, although that is lovely too, I am speaking of acts of spiritual kindness. The ones that come in the simplest forms...from the generosity of the heart.
On our visit to Vietnam in April, I met a Turkish woman, Ebrar. We met at a work function and chatted at length about her life in Vietnam and our impending move to Ho Chi Minh City. She was a chef in her working life in Turkey and was trying her hand cooking at a local Turkish restaurant in Vietnam. I looked forward to getting to know her when we made our final move. As luck would have it, she and her husband were transferred to London just as we were making our way from London to Ho Chi Minh City. I am excited for her as I know she welcomes the change and I think she will enjoy her time in England as much as we did. Small world that it is, when we lost our housekeeper a few weeks back, Ebrar and her husband recommended Miss Huyen who worked for them. Ebrar had taught her Turkish cooking to complement her Vietnamese cooking. We love Turkish food so it was perfect for us. Miss Huyen has turned out to be delightful, a good cook and a charming and sensitive woman.
A few days ago, Mr. H brought home a package, from Ebrar and her husband Murat. Sitting in the midst of sparsely furnished rental home...void of colour and warmth, we opened the package to discover a beautiful handmade rug from Turkey. We were all so touched by their generosity. Over the past few days, it has served us well. It sits at our front door, to welcome us home and has provided our dog Tika, tremendous comfort as she settled into her first few nights in her new home.
My Moroccan slippers sit to the side of the rug... both serve as a reminder of two very special people who I am sure we will connect with in another place and time.
" When one door closes another door opens,
but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door,
that we do not see the ones which open for us"
I have opened a few doors these past few days. It started on a local message board for the community we live in. I asked if anyone know of a good beautician. A few replies came my way and one in particular captured my interest, from Sarah. She happened to be a masseuse specialising in the types of massage I like (Lomi Lomi). A few emails later and I had an appointment.
Mission accomplished. Feeling like I could fly out off the massage table...free of the tensions and stress of moving, I mentioned that I was keen to take up yoga as well. Small world, she mentioned that she was attending a class in the morning, not far from where I lived and invited me along.
The next morning, I made my way along the streets of the compound where we live, past Cherry Blossom, Orchid and Lily streets and found the house I was looking for.
I opened the door and followed a path to the most wonderful home...all in white..the walls, the window trim, the works. I felt like I stepped back in time and found the perfect house...a retreat. On the grounds of the house sits a studio where a small group of women meets twice a week for a yoga session. Being my first step into the yoga world I admit I was a bit taken back when I entered and everyone was deep in meditation. Normally I would stroll in and start talking to someone...I could tell that it would not be appreciated if I did so instead I found a yoga mat, stretched out and started to sweat. Turns out...it was one of those heated yoga sessions. I had reservations...I was in Vietnam...hot and humid Ho Chi Minh City and I had just straddled up to a heater for an hours worth of yoga stretches. I must be honest and say that I had started to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
Within a few minutes, an energetic and friendly Katharine entered the room, our instructor. My doubts melted away...literally. She pulled out a book and started reading a passage. I wish I could have written it down...it captured me completely. I managed to take a quick pic of the book at the end of class to follow up.
When the class ended, I had stretched every fiber of my being...I could have twisted myself into a knot and hung out there for a while. I felt excited at the turn of events that had occurred since the previous day and was counting my blessings when I strolled out of the session for the journey home.
It was then that I spotted 'Saigon Sally' (she refers to herself that way), a blonde English beauty (think India Hicks) who lives in this elegant Vietnamese home. She was standing on the veranda as we passed, offering us all a coconut filled with a cool, refreshing drink. It turns out Sally has lived in Vietnam for many years and has a business collecting, buying and selling items she loves. I counted my blessings twice as I looked around...there was not a single item I did not love. I explained my house and pot dilemma and she offered to help. In fact, she offered her pots, blue china pots sitting empty alongside her garden. No charge, just the promise that whoever moves first, returns them. If I move from Vietnam first, I return them to her. If she moves first, I pass them back to her. She mentioned that she feels what goes around comes around...she has faith and knows that kindness has a way of returning to us. To say that Sally has a big heart is an understatement...her kindness touched me to the core. Here they sit, the blue pots alongside our mango coloured home...waiting to find their rightful place, for a time..until they find their way back to Saigon Sally.
One door closes, another opens...I will not be looking back on closed doors. There is too much to see and do in front of me. In fact, I never look at doors as being completely closed...especially in the expat world. There is always a way back... even if only for a short time. Have faith, seek...and you shall find..spiritual kindness.
More to come...I had another adventure this morning...discovering the items above.
It involved getting lost but what I found while I was lost was well worth it. :)
For those of you who would like to follow my Vietnam journey in more detail
you can follow me here. Until next time....best wishes for a lovely weekend!!