Q & A…Where to Next? #23

Morning sun...Chateau Mango, Vietnam

Thank you! Ask and you shall receive! The questions are coming in from every direction and I am excited to be able to answer many of them on the blog. Some questions,I will respond to via email, so please be assured, either way, I will respond to you. A few questions have come through my other blog, Expat Diary: Viet Nam. If a question relates to travel information for Vietnam, I will respond here and post a link when I do.

Ok, let's jump into life in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)

Tika...a dog's life in Vietnam

1. What is it like having a dog in Ho Chi Minh CIty? 

Tika loves that you asked. I took the photo above this morning as she sat patiently waiting for us to give the nod for another round in the pool. Tika is an English Springer Spaniel and a few months into her 12th year..which makes her 75 in dog years. She hails from Victoria, Australia and has moved and lived with us in Australia, New Zealand, England and now Vietnam.

Tika lives a very comfortable life in Vietnam. She ingratiates herself with everyone she meets and is fortunate to have a pool and garden to exercise in.

Would I say this is the ideal situation for her? Not really. I would pack her up to Tahilla Farm in a heartbeat if the timing were right. I would love to see her running through the woods and streams and chasing something other than geckos. 

We have to be mindful of her whereabouts and make sure that she is never left to her own devices outside of our property. We are surrounded by large garden walls and even larger walls around the perimeter of the compound where we live. 

Dogs do go missing and we shudder to think where. Tika has many watchful eyes on her at all times. I am just thankful that she is no longer a puppy. When she was, she had a habit of getting into mischief. Nowadays she takes life as it comes. 

With every passing year we worry about our next assignment and how Tika will fare with long distance travel and possible quarantine. It is always on our mind. Which leads me to the next question....

Bougainvillea cascading this week at Chateau Mango

2. How much longer will you be living in Vietnam?

A good question and one I wish I had the answer to. I was so happy to have someone ask that of Mr. H recently rather than me. I always wait to see what his answer will be in case I missed something. I am guessing we will be in Vietnam for another year or so. But saying that, in his business, you just never know. Speaking of Mr. H and our reason for being in Vietnam...

3. What is your husband's work?

Mr. H tossed his hat into the multinational corporate arena years ago. It keeps us on the move.

4. Will you be living abroad after you leave Vietnam?

This question leads into the next. Yes, we will be living abroad but are uncertain as to where. At some point, when retirement beckons, we will be spending time in our home in Sydney, Australia. With three children, a daughter-in-law to be and many dear friends living in Australia, and a daughter, family and friends living in the USA, we plan on spending time between both locations. In an ideal world, we will head Down Under for the harshest months of the New England winters and head back to Tahilla Farm for spring, summer and fall. Having both locations in opposite seasons works well for the retirement plan. 

Morning sun...Tahilla Farm

4. When will you make Tahilla Farm your (main) home?

With our time in Vietnam uncertain, it is hard to say when we will make the full time commitment to Tahilla Farm. Last year, I spent more time out of Vietnam than in. The bulk of the time was spent at Tahilla. Our construction should be close to completion later this year. I head back again in a few months for another long term visit. It is kind of the way of the world for us.

Last one and on to another topic...

Shelter from the sun in HCMC..

5. What are the best ways to deal with the humidity in HCMC? 

Ok, this is easy..and then again maybe not. The humidity in levels in HCMC are moving up with the approach of spring and that nasty rainy season that follow soon after. Have I ever mentioned that I am a sweater girl at heart and really do not like the heat? Well, I don't but I manage. 

For those living in an air conditioned world, you know that you plan accordingly. If you happen to have a husband who loves the heat and sneezes at the slightest breeze from an air conditioner, you have a problem. It is an ongoing battle in our house but we manage.

Living in a paisley world...Vietnam

When we moved to HCMC, I quickly realised that all my "summer" clothes from the previous countries we lived in were not going to work. The fabric was to heavy. I keep it simple now by taking full advantage of the dressmakers in HCMC. I live in a linen, light cotton and Vietnamese silk world. It suits me best to keep it all loose and flowing. 

I wear very little makeup as it is lasts about five minutes in this weather. It took me a while but I finally found the perfect face cream and sunscreen for this climate. You have no idea what a challenge that was!

I keep my hair shoulder length, pull it back and pop on a hat when I head out. I stay well hydrated and have my favourite cafes and shops for an AC break.

Never leave home with out it.
My essentials, ones that I never leave home without, are featured above. A fan to take away the humidity blues, a bandanna to mop the brow, sunglasses,Colorescience Sunforgettable Lip Gloss (SPF 35), journal, pens, a few thousand Dong (Vietnamese currency), my camera and everyday over sized wallet, both with wrist straps. Very important if you want to avoid the accidental drop or bag snatch.  

I will stop there....

More Q&A to come in future posts. Once again, thank you for responding and feel free to ask more questions. I am sure there are things that I missed and most likely, the answers here will spark more thoughts. I know it has for me. 

Best wishes on this first day of March. Happy Autumn to my readers in the Southern Hemisphere and to my friends in the north...20 more days to the first day of Spring. It will come!!

Signing off from Chateau Mango
28 Day Writing Challenge #23
Vietnam Time

Collage of Life
28 Day Writing Challenge
(click on title to read)

#23 Q & A...Where to Next?

Photos above taken by me 
around Chateau Margo
and Tahilla Farm.


  1. I love your beautiful blog postings. I find your life amazing.
    Love Jeanne

  2. Thank you for the information
    The humidity in tropical zones is the question most on my mind. Heat and I don't get along well.
    However, the warmer climates and I do.

    1. I am the same Maywyn, I could do without the humidity. If given a choice, cool enough for a sweater would do me just fine. I think I need to move back to England for that to happen. ;)

  3. Hello Jeanne
    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I admit I was curious but make a habit of only accepting what one wishes to tell me. I can envision your life even more now. I understand your concern and thoughts on Tika. We have a similar situation, where Spice Girl must remain in Ireland now while we travel and being away from her is difficult of us. We make repeated short trips back to see her. (Many think we are a bit soft in the head for doing this!) Your wardrobe choice is sensible for your climate. Thank God for linen, fine cotton and silks.
    Wishing you a great week
    Helen xx

    1. Thank you Helen, and I completely understand your need to check in with Spice Girl. If only, we could add them to our luggage and travel with them. I think there was a time when people did just that. It is hard choosing a lifestyle when you have a pet at home. We often wonder what we will do "after" Tika. I say sign me up for another. Just not sure if it is realistic. Safe travels...xx

  4. Great post about your future plans etc. Jeanne - stay well and do as much as you can while still young!

    I was in Vietnam in cooler (quite a lot of rain) weather, never did feel overly warm but know it must be very humid in Summer. . . . . . . . and that I would have trouble with as I can't even handle it here in NC!
    Like you, a hat and minimal makeup would have to suffice.

    Loved Tika's story - what a well-traveled dog. Hope she does get to run through those beautiful New Hampshire fields some day soon.

    From icy North Carolina - wishing I was somewhere warmer right now!
    Hugs - Mary

    1. Thank you Mary, it sounds like you came to Vietnam during your summer months? The nothern areas of Vietnam experience the 'seasons" more than we do. Our variance seems to come in the shift of the breeze. Wishing you well and sending you warmth from Saigon...xx

  5. Jeanne, you describe things so beautifully, and I'm so happy to see you have a dog. She is beautiful !!
    I have so enjoyed reading your blog, and learning a bit about living in VietNam as an ex-pat.

    1. Thank you Marsha...I really appreciate you reading along and taking the time to comment. :)

  6. I imagine so much of your life is wonderful, and yet I know I would have trouble with the uncertainty of what you'll live next, and when retirement might hit. I am a planner, and I can imagine having to take a lot of deep breaths. Mr. H. is fortunate, and of course you are too!

    1. Thank you Lisa...yes, I have mastered the art of deep breathing. I just have to "ride" with it. It is the only way I know how to get through one transition to the next. If that makes sense... ;) I agree, Mr. H is fortunate, and I am too!

  7. Reto superado. Tu disciplina es ejemplar. Felicidades
    (Traducción a través de Google)
    Esther-D. Abad

    1. Thank you Esther...I agree, it takes a lot of discipline with a bit of "crazy" thrown in. ;)

  8. Nice post. Uncertainty is a new child.

  9. Wonderful post and all questions answered about your wonderful life and blog. Thank you Jeanne.

  10. I have so been enjoying your 28 day writing challenge! It took me a bit to think about what questions I would most like to ask (that haven't already been asked), and so...here goes:

    - You say that you live in a "compound". Why is that? Is it for safety's sake? You seem to wander about Vietnam pretty freely, so I assume you feel relatively safe. Is it housing that is provided for you? Is it just your preference, and you could easily live in a less secure situation?

    - When in Vietnam, do you ever yearn for English-speaking cultural experiences? Do you crave the ability to attend a lecture at an art museum?...or go to a touring Broadway play?

    - Kate
    P.S.; I assume you have friends in New Hampshire, but maybe not. If you have any questions about life in NH, I'd be happy to try to answer those! We moved here seven years ago, so I'm no great expert, but feel like this southern California city girl has learned a lot moving to the country!

    1. Thank so much Kate! I will be sure to come back and answer your questions! I appreciate your offer for help in NH, very kind!! xx


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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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