As we celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary in Okotoks, Canada, this time last year it occurred to us that we had no idea where we would be celebrating our 40th. To be honest, Hanoi, Vietnam did not even cross our minds. We had applied to attend Crossroads Discipleship Training School at the University of the Nations in Kona, but that was all we knew. In fact, at that time YWAM Kona didn’t know. Vietnam is a new location for Kona, our outreach team is the first longer term team to visit Hanoi. In the past there have been a couple of teams from New Zealand and one from California that have been here for a couple of weeks. It looks like eight weeks is better for establishing relationships. With the help of some local contacts we have been exploring opportunities to make a difference. Vietnam is is hungry. So far most of our time has been spent in the city of Hanoi, but we have made a couple of trips to a village in the countryside west of Hanoi, where we held English camps for some pre-teens and in-betweens. Last Saturday Marjo, one of our leaders, Glenda and I, headed out into the country to assist with a special English club, while there we spotted our first Vietnamese wildlife in a tree near the building we were in. I believe it is a long-tailed macaque. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me so I have only a zoomed-in iPhone picture.
Our anniversary dinner was shared with our team and hosts, 18 of us at The Republic, we had an excellent roast beef dinner, with the biggest Yorkshire pudding, very tasty gravy and roast potatoes. It was an awesome treat that reminded of us the many traditional Sunday roast dinners we had before moving to Canada. Unfortunately, the Hanoi winter has kicked in and some inclement weather forced us to sit inside to avoid the rain and wind. The restaurant has a great balcony which we had reserved for the occasion, it overlooks Ho Tay Lake and the city skyline.
We had the opportunity to share an evening with two teachers that we have worked with. They took us out for coffee and Bun Ngan, this is a very popular dish that can be found at many of the street soup kitchens, most customers sit on plastic stools on the sidewalks/pavement. The best eating places are obvious by how far the clientele is spread down the street from the soup pots. This place was very popular. The link I put on Bun Ngan is to a blog site which describes the experience very well, there is much discussion in the comments around what Ngan is, duck? goose? swan? It was described to us by our friends as a big duck, more like a swan, but with no definitive answer we can only vouch that it was very, very tasty. The chilli pepper and garlic dip had lots of garlic.
Vietnam continues to surprise us, every day brings a new joy, we even have a dog that likes to walk upright on its back legs as it passes our apartment.
Until next week, be blessed and be a blessing, A&G.