Monday, June 14, 2010

The Times They Are A-Changin'...

This morning I put three mangoes on T and T's home altar, then identified myself to the house god and the money god, repeating after Thanh: "I am Marjie. I go home today. Give me lucky, happy and money." We did the prayer gesture three times, then put the lit incense in the sand.

I should have prayed for lucky before going to get rice cakes on my last morning, because she wasn't there. I usually only get cakes on the weekends so I can take my time enjoying them. I went to T's house a little distraught, so after the incense lighting, Thanh said we would at least go to her house to say goodbye. But...she wasn't home. Maybe it's for the best. Maybe I would have choked on those cakes while crying over them.

I got banh cuon from the vendor who never acknowledges me instead, then had two last amazing spring rolls. Because everyone knew it was my last day, many mutual wishes for lucky and happy were exchanged. Tomorrow is the half year Tet day, so Thanh made sure I tried both of the traditional treats present in the market: sticky rice and mung bean wrapped in bamboo leaves (good) and rice soaked in wine (not so good).

I stopped by Nam's house to see if Minh could rustle him up - we'll see if he comes by later. I also sat with Nam's mother for a while - she is sitting up now, but still quite gaunt and twisted from her stroke. She gave me a very gracious farewell.

Last night T and T came over and swung in the hammocks with me for a while. After Thuy went home to cook "salad and cow" for her new husband ('s family?), Thanh and I went to get a double shot of pomelo/pineapple juice and also took a trip to the neighborhood temple. There we lit three sticks of incense to Phuoc Ba- one for the world, one for our families and one for us. We wished the world, etc, "lucky, strong, and busy."

On the way home...I still cannot believe this... right across from wonton soup man we saw a BRAND NEW SUSHI RESTAURANT. It's indoor, bright, polished and cheery - completely unlike all of the other plastic stool restaurants on the street. I eat wonton soup all the time and never saw this going in. Sushi on our street. Wow. I wish I still had a camera so that Katherine would believe me, but it was swiped the other night at the restaurant (don't want to talk about it).

The new road that went in behind our house connects our street with the city in a major way. New sidewalks went in a few months ago, and now buildings are going up all along the new road where the Crispy Vietnamese Ravioli stand is. Thanh says that things will continue to change very quickly on our road. This frightens me.

The T's and I have plans to go to dinner tomorrow night, after we turn in my motorbike and get our hair washed at the Bum Bum (and after I get a last massage and swim and work out at the nicest gym I will ever belong to). I told Thanh I wanted Nguyen Canh Chan Sushi on my last night- nothing raw though! I'm not quite sure why that appeals to me, since it represents the change I dread, but it does.

And after that, we will all go to the airport. T's told me last night that their father wants to come, too. I am very honored - he is really cool. He always says "Maggie! America good!" every time he sees me.

America - it will be nice to see you again~


Cecilie said...

Safe trip home! :o)

Brian Bowker said...

This is hard; I feel like I'm experiencing your goodbyes along with you!

But I am very excited for Ava to see you again!

Tim Baker said...

Margie I am almost crying at all the goodbye stories. You have been able to experience a different culture that few North Americans will ever see. Thank you for taking us along with you. I too am sad that I am losing touch with T&T. They are just so comfortable to be with.

The Norris Clan said...

I feel like I am right along with you in your goodbyes... But America thinks it's great to see you again too! How's Wallingford treating you? :-)