Saturday morning, as I am doing my usual Hanging-Out-With-Thuy-and-Thanh at their stand thing, Thuy says to me, "Maggie. Which one do you like?" She points at three different colors of silk fabric, each with a gold design: white, light blue and dark blue.
"I like this one," I say, and point to the dark blue.
I love it when we agree on things like this. She always nods her head, as if, yes, further confirmation that we are soul sisters. "Meet me here at 3, I want to give you something."
This friendship - with both of them, now, but especially with Thuy - is really something. They just give and give and give. Great amounts of talking things cannot be exchanged between us, but on a daily basis, I am experiencing true friendship without much of the talking things at all.
At 3, I show up for gift #1 million it seems. We walk back toward the castle to Ms. Hao's, dark blue and gold Vietnamese silk in hand. Between the two of them, they have conspired over a shirt they want to make me. It's kind of a tunic - it will come down to my hips and have three-quarter length sleeves. They know I will really love it, and I have no say in any of the details. It's going to be dark blue and gold, with gold and blue trim. Thuy bought the material, and Ms. Hao is making the shirt. It is a "souvenir" for me.
If you remember back to when Thuy first came to cook at the castle, she told me that I was her "friend in Vietnam" - without really knowing me - and then when I told her "thank you" for the cooking lesson, she reprimanded me and said that 'friends don't say thank you.' Ever since, whenever I want to say 'thank you', I just say 'no, thank you' - and this sends everyone into uncontrollable giggling. Especially Thanh.
"No thank you, no thank you, no thank you," I say to my two Vietnamese sisters, the seamstress and the fabric seller.
This morning, Sunday, I visit my turmeric rice cake women and order an extra to-go for Thuy and Thanh, who usually can't think about eating breakfast until they have their stand up and running.
When I deliver it, they say, "Thank you, Maggie!"
I give them a stern look.
Thuy looks confused, but Thanh gets it.
"Oh, NO thank you, Maggie!"