I forgot how amazing My Spa (pronounced "Me Spa") is.
Thuy leaves her baby with Thanh for the first extended time in six months and we take her motorbike downtown. We walk in to the smell of bamboo and the sound of a waterfall and "temple music" (what Thuy calls it). We sit and drink ice tea and eat candied ginger while surrounded by pictures of Buddha, Lady Buddha and trees and flowers.
The massage begins with a cool, lemongrass-scented wash cloth (whole-body), which is followed by aromatherapy lemon oil rubbed above our noses, a facial bone structure massage and cool strips of cucumber placed all across our faces for the duration of the massage. The massage style incorporates hot stones and stretching. Cost - $18.
Here's why I love Thuy: We are in the small elevator with our two masseuses, heading up to the second floor, when one of them (after staring at me for a long moment - me, two heads taller than Thuy), says something to Thuy in Vietnamese.
Thuy gestures to me and says, "Sister" in a matter-of-fact tone, then pauses for effect before cracking up.
During the massage, she's on the low table next to me, separated by a red sheer curtain in the dark. When our girls leave to change towels - after a moment of silence - she says, "Maggie. How are you?" She's had two massages in her life: Katherine treated her to the first, and now this.
Afterward, she hands her girl a tip. Wanting to match it, I ask how much she gave her.
"One hundred thousand," she says ($6). "Because she very good. And she need money for everything," she adds, with an all-encompassing gesture. Thuy needs money for everything, too.
Fifty thousand would have been more than enough. But Thuy is generous and kind and is just like that.
Thuy is very happy with her life - with her husband and her baby. She knew what she wanted and made it happen...just like she made me be her friend four and a half years ago.