Monday, July 02, 2018

Return to Rice Cakes, 2018

Tomorrow I will be sitting on a tiny blue plastic chair eating rice cakes in the best market in Ho Chi Minh City with my two sisters, Thuy and Thanh, and Thuy's little boy, who is now six, and the person in the picture with me above (more on that in a minute). Thuy's son was one when I last saw him -- but it really doesn't seem like five years have passed. My sisters and I have kept in close touch... between my friend Pam and me, we have sent them approximately 50 visitors for deluxe food tours through the market and the outer city (although in my opinion (Katherine shares this), paradise is within the market grid and there is no need to go anywhere else, ever.)

T and T's father passed a few months ago, so in that way I will certainly feel the movement of time.


My sixth grade students are all studying in universities in either the States or Canada - they are all doing amazing things and I keep up with many of them on Facebook. Two of my teacher friends still live in the city, but they are now home for summer break. From what I hear, the buildings are taller and the development over the past five years has been crazy. Thanh even sent a video showing how to get to the alley hotel because the street looks so different.

And the original rice cake stand is gone - the laughing women who peeled my shrimp when they saw me coming have moved on. Thanh was afraid to give me that news, but I bought a ticket anyway. And you know what? Two nights ago I got a picture message from her - there is a NEW rice cake stand in the market. Reports to come in approximately one day :)

The person in the picture -- that's a story. Shea is coming with me, I guess you could say, as a testament to the power of stories. Shea wrote a story about their history with psychosis and depression in Scriber's book two years ago, and then helped me edit last year's book in a way that not many teenagers could. Shea was a star, never saying "no" to a speaking event - in fact the word "yes" was always stated before I even gave the opportunity. Anne Kutay of Wildland Adventures was in the audience at one of those events. Anne had wanted to give the gift of travel to someone for years, and when she heard Shea speak, she asked if Shea would be a good candidate. I answered "yes" before Anne finished asking the question. One of the first things Shea said to me when we met was about their desire to travel. And here we are, in the airport about to board a plane to Seoul, then Ho Chi Minh. Shea is deserving, completely. And a ton of fun.

I'm excited to be back. I can't wait to see my sisters and eat my way through the market every morning. I will love swimming in the ocean for a few days when we go to a beach hut near Hoi An. But being able to show this place to this person adds such a special element to the trip.

Because I was (and still consider myself to be) Shea's teacher, I assigned airport homework. Requirements: memorize all of the names and all of the food descriptions of the market map Thanh and I drew for her business. This is what we're doing during our time here with a flight delay. But that just means more time to dream about those rice cakes...


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for both of you! Please give Thuy and Thahn our love. How I wish I could be sitting on those little plastic chairs with you in the market! Can't wait to read all about it. Angie

Cecilie Isaksen Eftedal said...

Safe trip! And enjoy the food!

Unknown said...

... and the journey restarts — enjoy!

Rita Ireland said...

Give two hugs to Thuy and Thahn for me!
Your homework:
Find three things each day that haven’t changed in Saigon ~ and that nearly make you swoon...

Anonymous said...

So happy the blog is back. Wish I were going'1, of course, but since I'm not, I'll relive it through you. Enjoy! Mom

Marjie Bowker said...

That is a fantastic assignment!

Marjie Bowker said...

I should have bought you a ticket for working you so hard this week!

Marjie Bowker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marjie Bowker said...

I will give you a report on new bags in the market!

Marjie Bowker said...

Wish you could be there, too!

Pam Perry said...

With bated breath, I await a report on the new rice cakes...

Leighanne Law said...

This is so exciting!! Happy and safe travels to you and Shae. I’ll be waiting for the next post.

Brian Bowker said...

It's so nice of you to take us all on your trip with you! It's been a while since I've had a good vicarious trip!

Safe travels, Sis!

Next week I'll be travelling to an exotic locale in the warehousing district of Fresno. It's supposed to be 104F - Perfect conference room weather! Looking forward to eating Subway and Dominoes. I'm sure you'll be excited to hear all about it...

shaggerspicchu said...

Oooooo! I can’t wait to follow your HCMC adventures!!!

Marjie Bowker said...

It's like comparing apples to apples...

Mungo said...

'Smarj is BACK!!