I am still alive. It’s the first question people ask when inquiring about someone who is over 80! (I turned 81 in July.)
For many months after the unfortunate election, I did nothing. After living for 30-plus years with people all over the world, laughing with their children, helping them in their fields and their kitchens, learning about their lives…..I just couldn’t believe what was happening in the U.S.
For months, I spent a lot of time in bed, feeling depressed. (I was living with my daughter, Jan, and her husband, Bill, in their downstairs apartment in Seattle.) My 81-year-old memory was fading, and my body was failing.
Then one day I got a note from Hallie, a reader I had met; would I like to go to Vietnam with her?
On a whim, I said yes. It was time to get out of bed.
We flew into Hanoi, taxied to Hanoi Homestay in the old part of the city (Hallie did all the research), and moved in. The best part of our visit was the warm welcome and comfortable rooms of our host. She spoke English, cooked, and advised us about what to do. She even made reservations, found us taxis, and sometimes joined us. And there were kids around, which Hallie and I enjoyed.
Hanoi was noisy: millions of motorcycles, honking horns, and every time we crossed a street we risked our lives. We did learn how to do it…you just cross and don’t stop or change direction.
The most interesting thing about the old city is the personalities of the streets. One street is kitchen stuff, another expensive jewelry, another cheap jewelry, clothes for women, Our street was bamboo stuff. It was fun wandering.
We also went north (by bus) to Halong Bay where we got on a fancy boat for a couple of days so we could see the hundreds of limestone rock islands piercing the water and creating an ocean personality of islands. It was beautiful. And we took a couple of side trips to villages where village women wore matching home-made clothing.
We were there for two weeks and I did get out of my depressive state. Now I’m back in Seattle, making plans with Jan to go to Rwanda. I loved it there when I went a couple of years ago with her, and this time she has rented a house for a month!! Bill (Jan’s husband) will join us for two weeks and so will Lars and Nirin from France. That’s it for now.
Hooray. I finally did it (the blog!). Thanks for hanging in here. Love, me