Saturday, 14 March 2009

A family dinner

I was invited to have dinner with Dung, my interpreter, and her family at their home this evening. Wearing a bright pink helmet and what looked like a surgical mask to keep me from inhaling the dust, I sat on the back of her scooter as she skilfully manoeuvred her way through the Hai Phong traffic. Helmets, you’ll be pleased and possibly surprised to know, are common place in Vietnam, everybody wears them, even the little kids sat perched on their parent’s lap.

I got introduced to 4 generations of her family - her mother (sounds like mayaa – tone going down), her father (sounds like bowa – tone going up), her 2 sisters (sounds like chi guy), her brother-in-law (sounds like ang chy), her grandmother and her 1 year old nephew. After a dinner consisting of clams, noodles and some delicious homemade spring rolls, we sat down to drink strawberry flavoured tea and to watch the Man U/Liverpool match. Dung’s parents are huge Man U fans and they plan to celebrate their wedding anniversary by going to watch them play at Old Trafford. Shouting, cheering and disagreeing with the ref’s decision through the TV screen, is something we amusingly share with the Vietnamese.

During my visit, I was also shown Dung’s sisters’ wedding photos and got quizzed on my own upcoming wedding (7 weeks to go!) They would like to see photos and have asked me to bring Pete (and our children) back to Vietnam with me in the future. I had a lovely time, and it is another example of the hospitality we have been shown. To finish off the evening, they asked me to text them once I had got back to the hotel safely, which reminded me so much of my own parents. They have invited me to come and visit them again before I leave Vietnam.

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