Sunday, October 28, 2012

From Ha Long Bay, Vietnam....to you


We travelled to Ha Long Bay, (Vietnam) this weekend. 
From Ho Chi Minh City, it was a two hours flight to Hanoi, 
where we spent a few days and then a three hours drive north to Ha Long Bay. 
From there it was a quick step onto a cruise boat for the weekend.

Ha Long Bay (or Halong) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
 featuring thousands of limestone rock formations. 
Many are covered in lush tropical plants and contain enormous hollow grotto's.
Fishing villages consisting of floating houses are dotted throughout the islands.
It is a way of life, like no other I have seen.

That's Vietnam...one never ceases to be amazed.

With the sun moving in and out of the clouds..all the way to sunset.










 Best wishes to one and all for a wonderful morning, 
afternoon...evening...wherever you happen to be in this magnificent world.
With that I say goodnight and sweet dreams.

Jeanne xxx

PS..thanks so much for your wonderful comments on the last post,
I have a bit of updating to do...coming soon! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A story for every colour....

via

I can not stop thinking about when you were ten.
Each and every comment to my last post took me down
one path after another. The images in my mind are priceless.
Someone commented what fascinating
readers you all are...I have to agree!

Thank you for sharing..I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Now I wonder...since you have been reminded of your ten year old self
do you still see her in you today?

With that thought...I am going to post 
a snippet from your wonderful comments and link back to the writers.
When you were ten...you were all living around the world..
and you all were living in colour and loving it. 

In France... 
Veronique loved listening to popular French singers, 
belonged to a bicycle club 'Les Fous du Velo' (Bicycle Maniacs)  
and she still loves the colour orange.

In Italy... at the age of ten,  
Sandy discovered the true meaning of wanderlust.
It shaped her persona more than any other year in her life.

In 1952, in the USA, Becky lived with her writer father, 
musician mother and five siblings..
and she loved the colour purple-y blue.

WG  grew up in a small village in rural England. 
She had a new dress every year for Easter Sunday.
She recalls a green and white striped linen one with a white collar. 
With that she wore a straw boater with long green ribbons 
and white shoes. I love that image!

Vicki.. an Aussie girl of ten,
 now living in France, still loves the colour pink.

miss b from England...her crayon of choice...sky blue.

At ten years of age, Val lived in Southern Rhodesia..
she loved pencil crayons, Elvis Presley,
comic books and was crazy about hula hooping.

Loree..still loves the colour red.

Pamela..from the southern states of the USA..
still creates beautiful stories 
around the colour Forest Green.

kkkkaty..loved the colour dark midnight blue. 
She remembers holding a flag for school patrol, 
her dog following her to school, bunk beds and loving geography.

Kittie..another Southerner from USA..loved the colour sky blue (like me).
The ten year old in her self still bubbles up insider her
and makes her want to run among the rain drops.

Mel..is taking a walk down memory lane. I am still on it.

When Elizabeth from the USA was ten she moved
from Michigan to Alaska..loved the colour blue
and spaghetti and hot chocolate too.

At the age of 10, Helen was living in rural Ireland. 
She had a beautiful moss green circular skirt..
where she hid the latest comic books, Judy and Bunty.

Pamela was living in Manila, Philippines
 in the days of President Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos..
'where they ruled the Philippines like King and Queen'.
She loved the colour sky blue too.

For Penelope in the USA..the colour magenta still rules..55 years on.

For Heather...who now lives in Provence...
cornflower blue was her crayon colour of choice.

HeartWings..loved magenta and 'Gumby' green and 
enjoyed connecting with her inner child
through the post.

Cindy from USA...like me, 
was told not to press to hard on the crayons.
We still wonder what that means...

Leslie in the USA...always had her nose in a book..
Nancy Drew, the Borrowers series, Little Women
and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn...'she remembers
the starry eyed dreams that propelled her into adolescence'.

Bonnie...loved reading, playing jump rope, 
horseback riding..at ten, 
her parents moved her family to a farm in the country.
Her favourite colour was blue.

Pam..growing up on Cape Cod...USA and now living in Paris,
could never pass up a fort, pretending to be Pippi Longstocking, 
riding bikes and playing kickball games.

Francesca emigrated from Tanganyika (now Tanzania) East Africa 
to Australia when she was ten years old. She remembers the things
we take for granted..electricity, flushing loos, school and shops. 
They were all new to her world.

Carole from Canada..was the oldest of five with fond memories of sibling
rumbles over 'who's on who's side'. Together they played 'house, school and office'..
she was always 'Miss Hastings'.

Carolyn from Alabama, USA remembers moving each year to a different state.
California, Tennessee, Colorado..Alabama..all wonderful memories.
The colour she remembers most in the crayon box...white. 


In the spirit of my last post, where so many of you provided glimpses of yourself,
I am doing the same via a photo update. The woman who hates to have her photo taken,
who uses the excuse that she is to busy taking photos of others...is updating her photo.
In real time...brave soul that I am.


My twelve year old son, Connor, assisted. He picked the photo that
best shows the everyday me...always on the verge of laughing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!
You really and truly are the most fascinating readers!!

Jeanne xx

PS...

If you are new to this post...and would like to join in...
feel free to leave a comment...I will happily add your link and
thoughts to this post.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When you were ten....

via

I read a passage in a book earlier in the year and the thought has stayed with me these past months...the notion of discovering your ten year old self. The writer suggested, at the age of ten, we trusted our instincts, without a doubt. She suggested that we had our own opinions, our own views..we were our authentic selves and no one could change the way we thought, even our parents.

'Try to travel back in time and imagination. 
See yourself at ten: at home, at school, and at play. 
Where did you live? 
Can you see your house or apartment, and the street? 
Walk through the rooms in your childhood home. 
What did you bedroom look like? 
Who were your friends? 
Did you have a best pal? 
What was your favourite colour in the crayola pack? 
Did you play a musical instrument? 
Can you recall the scent of Play-Doh? 
What were your favourite foods? 
What subject did you like in the fifth grade? 
Can you recall yourself at ten?" 

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Finding your 10 year old self...I had to think about that one. A long think. To put it in perspective, I looked back at the word around me when I was ten.

In 1967, I was ten years old and....

-Tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters marched in Washington, D.C.
-The first human heart transplant was conducted in Cape Town, South Africa.
-Thurgood Marshall was confirmed first African American Justice of the Unites States Supreme Court.
-The movies on the 39th Academy Awards ticket... Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and the winner A Man for All Seasons.
-The musical HAIR opened Off-Broadway
-Walt Disney's Jungle Book was released, the last animated film personally supervised by Walt Disney.

and the list goes on....

Some of you will remember much of this, for some, perhaps just one or two events. It was an interesting exercise and one that I encourage others to think about. It has a way of staying with you...it's a journey.

The message in the book was simple, just trust yourself. If you have a decision to make and have that wavering feeling... try remembering back to your ten year old self...and trust your instincts, just as you did all those years ago. Think moxie...it works for me. :)


Do you remember your ten year old self?



BTW...my favourite colour in the Crayola pack,
 when I was ten...sky blue... and yours?  :)


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mr and Mrs H head for the hills...



If you read my last post...
you will know that I have been thinking on a cottage by the sea in Maine
and a farmhouse in New Hampshire. You may be wondering why I am
now showing a village in the northern region of Vietnam.
Have we finally found our home away from home?

'A Village in Sapa' by Roland Renaud


Did we decide to call it quits, 
buy a jeep and head for the hills?



love this jeep!

In our dreams....in fact, the village is a painting...
which arrived wrapped in a big red bow, inside this jeep.

Surprise!

Mr. and Mrs. H are celebrating 26 years of adventurous, 
marital bliss today.
It's our anniversary...so I can say bliss. :)

I spotted the painting a few months back 
and have been regularly admiring it ever since..
It speaks to our travelling life...I was hoping Mr. H agreed. 
Sweet man that he is, he did.

I have written about Mr. H many times..










Always on my mind and in my heart.
 ...ah.. the things we do for love.


Happy Anniversary Mr. H!...
safe travels back from Hong Kong. 

Mrs. H xxx


With that...
I send warm wishes to one and all from Saigon 
for a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx




Sunday, October 07, 2012

House hunting....down a dirt road


It's as if he's simply taking his mind and imagination for a walk, 
and as they forage, as any dogs might do, 
he never quite knows where they will take him... 
looking for the road less travelled and the humble pleasures overlooked.

...it's in the digression, the getting lost, 
the unexpected diversion that the joy of travel comes. 
Trains of thought can take you places that no other trains reach at all.

Written by author, Pico Iyer regarding W. Somerset Maugham
in the book, 'The Skeptical Romancer- Selected Travel Writings'

It is a rainy day in Ho Chi Minh City, we are coming to the close of the monsoon season, or so they say. I am actually kind of enjoying it, the temps have eased a bit (81F/27C) and it has given me an excuse to curl up with a new book. I started Pico Iyer's collection of travel writings by W. Somerset Maugham, 'The Skeptical Romancer'.

I had to laugh at the passage above...at the similarities. In my mind the same could be said for blogging...never quite knowing where a thought will take you..

A road less travelled...

On that note, I have decided, one day, I would like to live down a dirt road...to a place where peace reigns and grass grows softly underfoot. I have no wish for the faintest sound of a plane, train or automobile. Just a place to roam and stand amongst the silence of nature with a cup of coffee in hand and to be able to say...yes, this is it, if only for a little while. That would just about do it for me.


It started in Maine....

This all came about on my recent trip to the USA which started in the most uncanny way...it started here, on my blog and on Facebook. One day, I shared my interest in mid-coast Maine, in a particular town and low and behold, a high school classmate, Bill, who I had not seen in 40 years, and had only recently discovered on Facebook...wrote to say, he lived in the town I mentioned and was a local realtor. Mission accomplished. He listened to what I was interested in and brought me along to some wonderful properties. From the minute I arrived to the moment I drove off...it was magical. If you were to think of that one home, that one place, where you could truly be at peace and create the life you dreamed of...it could easily be in Maine. The following is a collage of my experiences on this brief visit... Bill, got it just right. Each home, inside and out, was just what I had in mind. I left with the perfect house in mind....

A landscape in Maine...

Places to create...

A home by the sea...



and then...I was on the road again, to New Hampshire...

Down a dirt road...

A few days later, I drove into New Hampshire to a town I had never heard of until I started corresponding with Lisa, Joe and Paula.  Lisa wrote to me last year to say she enjoyed reading my blog and the similarities we share. We started writing back and forth about our lives and our interests in books, gardening, small town life and then it happened...

The Blind Blogging Date...

On a visit back to the USA in 2011, we had the opportunity to meet. It was one of those meetings that many bloggers have had. I call it the BBD (Blind Blogging Date). You make arrangements to meet, indicate a way of recognising each other and hope for the best. I have never been disappointed and I wasn't with Lisa. We met and hours later we parted.  Lisa mentioned Joe, a keen gardener's who has a wonderful blog, Notes from Juniper Hill, and suggested I check it out. I did and another kindred spirit was found in Joe and his partner in life, Paula. Letters, blog comments, Facebook conversations ensued and there I was last week...sitting in Joe and Paula's garden with Lisa. We met and it was like old friends coming together...you know that feeling, when it does not matter how far or how long since you last spent time with a friend...it feels like yesterday? It was the same feeling, except in this case it was the beginning of something special. I could feel it.

Small world that it is, Lisa is also a realtor and knowing me, she knew what this small town girl had in mind for a special home. From house to house we travelled and then, down a dirt road, I found it....that perfect spot...a farmhouse and silence in the trees. Nothing grand...just a house and a barn and a quiet landscape. The perfect retreat...to create.


a view....

a house....

and a barn.

Thinking..

Now...you are most likely thinking what I am thinking...but...you said you found the perfect spot in Maine?  I did. I also found the perfect spot in New Hampshire. So I sit...in confusion...searching, wondering what I am doing and what I am going to do. As I type in Ho Chi Minh City on this rainy 'monsoony' kind of day, explaining this to you. I end as I began...



It's as if he's simply taking his mind and imagination for a walk, 
and as they forage, as any dogs might do, 
he never quite knows where they will take him... 
looking for the road less travelled and the humble pleasures overlooked.

...it's in  the digression, the getting lost, 
the unexpected diversion that the joy of travel comes. 
Trains of thought can take you places that no other trains reach at all.

Written by author, Pico Iyer regarding W. Somerset Maugham
in the book, 'The Skeptical Romancer- Selected Travel Writings'

Still curious? Me too...

In truth...at this moment, I am uncertain of the outcome. The 'H' family is in discussion..so much to consider, our life swiftly moves from page to page as we think ahead. Mrs. H knows that one thing is true..one day she would like to live at the end of a dirt road...where there is silence in the trees. In this big wide world... there are many options.

Dear Henry...

It is times like this when I pull out one of my favourite writers, Henry David Thoreau. He has been a great source of inspiration to me over the years. Some days I just need the wisdom of Henry...I think he would have understood.

'I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, 
which, if we unconsciously yield to it, 
will direct us aright'

Henry David Thoreau


PS...

If you would like to know more about these properties,you can write to me... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com
I am sure Bill in Maine or Lisa from Vermont and New Hampshire,
would be happy to help. They come highly recommended from this blogger. 


Best wishes for a lovely weekend to one and all...

Jeanne xx



Wednesday, October 03, 2012

mother, wife, expat...tarzan, jane


I am sitting in the transit lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, working on what has taken me a few months to update...my 'About Me' page.

I am updating bits and pieces...it as a work in progress...as life tends to be. I have promised answers to those who have asked about this crazy life we live. If we were to meet, I would enjoy it if we could sit in the two chairs above..taking in a peaceful vista and just talking.

To those of you who have read my page, I thank you sincerely and to those of you who are new to Collage of Life...I welcome you!


My story...




I have been writing at Collage of Life for nearly three years and over
that time I have met the most wonderful people...in the written word and in person.
The natural way of things, when we connect, is to tell a little bit about ourselves.
So here goes...if you and I were to meet, most likely over a cup of coffee...I imagine
our conversation would go like this.... I will start.

What can I say about me 
that will not totally confuse you?
Let's see how this works...
I like to laugh and mostly laugh at myself.
I think...
taking oneself to seriously, can be exhausting.

I am an Expat...or better put, 
a travelling spouse and mother.
I have four children who call me 'Mom' and 'Mum'.
My travelling partner in this crazy life is Mr. H.

Some of us are American by birth, 
some are Australian by birth.
We call both countries home in addition to 
New Zealand and England where we lived for several years.
Oh yes, we have a family dog who travels with us. 
Her name is Tika.

In 2012, we moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
To say it is an adventure, equal to no other, is an understatement.
You can find lots on that topic within this blog.

My interests today...
my family, travel, photography, gardening, fashion, 
to name a few, it's all here.



As a mother,
I stay in touch with three of my children, one living in Australia, 
one living in New Zealand and the other living in America. What does it feel like
to have them spread wide and far? I will be honest, it is not easy, but we manage
through Skype and visits throughout the year.

The story does not end there as our fourth child, the lucky last is
with us in Ho Chi Minh City. At the age of twelve and knowing only 
the life of an expat since birth...we have only to guess where he will call
home one day.

As a wife,
I am the travelling spouse or as I frequently write on my immigration forms,
the 'Homemaker' to Mr. H and our children. I have thoughts on that one, 
long ones, you can read them here and here.  I often feel like Jane following Tarzan,
with a tribe of little ones (who are not so little anymore) following behind. The life of a wife?
I haven't written much about that yet, I will take note for future writing.

As an expat,
Life is interesting and I reflect on that through my photography and writing at Collage of Life.
We moved away from the USA in 1999, with thoughts about when and if we would return.
A question we often ask ourselves..and one that we can never find a definitive answer to..
'Where is home?'  Each of your children would have a different answer but at the end of the day, 
it is the time and place when we are all together. 

I should mention that I also write another blog, Expat Diary: Vietnam (here). 
I fill it with travel notes. If you are thinking of travelling to Vietnam, 
you just might find something to guide you.



If you like to stay connected, you can also fine me ...
Twitter 
and hang around here, where I list my favourite books, 
music and bits and pieces, My Shop Around The Corner ...
they might be some of yours too. 

With that, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart
for reading along. If you would like to drop me a line, with your story.
I would love to hear from you...

Warm wishes from Vietnam...
Jeanne xx

Email:
jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

BROWN PAPER BOOK CLUB @ Collage of Life