Spiritual Kindness....

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 Suzanne  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!!


  1. Absolutely enchanting Jeanne..
    My middle son is a Dental surgeon and visits Vitnam often.. He lectures there. He loves it and tells me all about it.
    Now i read your lovely blog.
    I believe the vietnamese to be a peaceful people.
    Never close a door... you might want to enter one more time.. but there are always new doors to open. Yours is a wonderful new chapter and a new door has opened for you.
    Great blue pots from Saigon Sally.who sounds very beautiful!
    what a lovely gift from your Turkish friends..A great find with the budah screen..
    It all sound wonderful . I wish you lots of happiness and joyful days in Ho chi Minh City.
    Best wishes for a happy weekend.

  2. Oh Jeanne,
    What a time you are having ........ a beautiful present from a new and very kind friend , meeting more new people at the yoga class and the blue pots coming to you in such a beautiful way.....they look fabulous against the mango walls.
    It is so lovely to read of your new experiences and I really do look forward to reading more. Soak it all up and report back please !!!! XXXX

  3. Jeanne, It bares repeating that you have such a positive attitude. It flows from everything you do and you translate it to the pages you write. I truly believe you have such acts of kindness placed upon you because you welcome yourself up to it and you give it back. You are truly a special person. Your writings have helped me in my adventure. Scotland is my first expat experience and I have a lot to learn, however I'm learning it through the best, YOU! xx

  4. Jeanne, a beautiful post...such love and kindness from your old and new friends; I'm so pleased you have found a yoga class, it sounds absolutely perfect. I have the book written by Sogyal Rinpoche on my book shelf yet to be read...I will read it now ;-)
    Enjoy your day...don't get lost!

  5. Two things I know to be true:
    - regrets are a luxury most of us cannot afford
    - nothing is every completely forgotten

    The pots are perfect...the colour, glaze, size, combination...they were waiting for you.
    Bikram's yoga is wonderful, the temperature eases the muscles, cleanses the skin...one of my favourite disciplines.

    Sounds like your Vietnamese adventure has begun!

  6. Absolutely beautiful! And the pots are perfect! I was thinking cobalt blue when you posed the question and wondered if it might be too much, and so stuck with the "safer" colors. These are beautiful!

  7. I'm just back from my holiday catching up on your adventure. It sounds like you are settling in well with the help of these incredibly kind and generous people. I look forward to the next 'chapter'
    PS I love the names of the streets and of course the wonderful quote - so true!

  8. Wow, Jeanne, what a touching story. It is also a coincidence that first thing this morning here at work in Toronto, I usually write down positive thoughts in my diary to keep me going through the day, especially when I am feeling down. I am right now in a "transition" period here at my job. So I wrote in my diary this morning exactly the same quote you wrote here "Closing the door to the past and opening the door to something new." Then I read your post! That is exactly where I am right now... Crossing the bridge to something new but not exactly there yet. So I really need my faith, positive energy and believe that I will get to the other side of the bridge for something better. As in moving on! Just like you over there in Vietnam, meeting all of the kind people there that will help you and guide you in your new path.

  9. So very true. Spiritual kindness is the real deal. As perfect as blue pots:).

  10. I remember once reading a quote from Nora Ephron in which she expressed wonder about people who wrote fiction when real life was so fascinating. I was struck by that idea as I read your post. Saigon Sally sounds like a colorful movie character and your words remind us all to "see" the small things of beauty right around us. Real Life beauty.
    I'm so glad you're settling in to your new environment....
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

  11. Hello Jeanne

    What a delightful week you have had. I agree wholeheartedly with Dumbwit Telher when she says
    "It bares repeating that you have such a positive attitude. It flows from everything you do and you translate it to the pages you write. I truly believe you have such acts of kindness placed upon you because you welcome yourself up to it and you give it back. You are truly a special person"

    These are my thoughts exactly - Wishing you many more beautiful connections.


  12. Jeanne,

    Hello! How waonderful to have had these adventures and blessings from such wonderful pele. I think it is karma, you are such a kind, generous and special person and everyone sees it! I think it is wonderful to have received such gifts, the rug is beautiful, the pots look fabulous( I have about 15 in the same color) and yoga, hot or cold is relaxing.

    I cannot wait to see all of the wonderful people, and adventures that come your way

    Happy weekend, Elizabeth

  13. Jeanne -

    Massage and yoga - a formula to keep you centred during your adventures.

    The pots are perfect.

    I think doors are opening for you because you have such a positive attitude.


  14. What a wonderful venture, Jeanne and no question that the positive attitude you possess brings so much in to your life and others. Isn't is refreshing to find genuinely kind and helpful people in this work...beautiful post...

  15. I sit and smile Jeanne as I read this wonderful and enlightening story of life unfolding for you in Vietnam...and then to see the blue pots pictures, that came to you for that place in front of your home, the color I wrote about seeing there just a few days ago...and I am still smiling and waiting to see what beautiful growing things you will place within them.
    Thanks as always for your writing, sharing and unfolding a story for all of us to read and enjoy with you.


  16. Jeanne what a beautiful post! I know the Tibetan book of Living and Dying well and have it in my bedside table. I also firmy believe that what goes around comes around, often in fact. I envy your yoga lessons and wish I could be there taking them with you. None around here - Zumba's the best I can get without driving for ½ an hour. Much love

  17. I saved this post to read when I could enjoy it quietly--your posts deserve that--and I am so glad that I did. What a wonderful gift this Sunday morning. How excited I am for you. But like the other comments here, I have to say that it is so clear from a distance that all of this is just meant to be. You are so open and so kind, the world is mirroring that back to you. And I especially believe that when we are very brave and take a leap, life often rewards us for our faith. Not always, but often. I feel really fortunate to be following along with your discoveries--how I wish I could be there in person! How great to just be at a place where you are saying "yes."

    Two more things: please tell me that you bought the panel of the Buddha. I have never seen anything like it. So incredible as were absolutely all of the pieces in the photo. And that this is the second time this week that Sogyal Rimpoche's book has come across my path (the first was at my wine shop--Vive la France!), so that must mean I am supposed to read it, non?

    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead. I haven't forgotten the email with music suggestions--very soon!
    Lots of love,

  18. Hi Jeanne

    All these lovely things are happening because of the person you are. You have that rare gift of finding the beautiful and bringing out the best in others.

    I am REALLY loving discovering Vietnam through your eyes, I have such itchy feet at the moment (that was a metaphor!) and your posts are my therapy

  19. Oh Jeanne. I am thoroughly enjoying your early days there. It's utterly beguiling. J x

  20. you live a magical life, jeanne...you have the eyes and heart to see it :)

  21. What a lovely post Jeanne. I have been a little behind on my blog reading. I am so glad I found the time to catch up. I am not surprised that you have already found some generous and colorful souls!

  22. Oh, Jeanne -- what a beautiful blog! I loved it from beginning to end. Thank you * thank you * thank you. Again. (I have that very same book on my bedside table.) xo Nancy in New Jersey

  23. What a beautiful post Jeanne, full of messages we can all learn from. I too am a great believer in the open door way of life. I have made lifelong friends by walking through them!
    I am loving your new adventure.

  24. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog and have been reading (lurking) for quite some time following you on your journey. My family is preparing to move from Canada to England and I stumbled on you blog in my quest to learn about anything and everything I could about being an expat. I have read your beautiful post over and over since you wrote it and it gives me such comfort in this crazy time of transition to know that all will work out just as it is meant to be. You have inspired me to embrace every sweet moment and look upon the doors that have opened up for me and my family. I can't thank you enough.


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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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