The mind is everything. What you think, you become – Buddha
Just a few photos revisiting our family to Vietnam/Singapore in 2013. I guess you could say that I am reminiscing, but I would hope to think this type of reminiscing is of a different kind – let’s call it a reflection.
It is safe to say that a vast majority of our trip revolved around food and family. We encountered so much food during this trip – come to think of it, I don’t recall whether we inhaled it or chewed it! The day would start with breakfast at 8am, consisting of bánh mì pâté washed down with the mandatory cà phê sữa đá (vietnamese pate baguette and condensed milk iced coffee). This continued with constant munching throughout the day and ended with supper at 11pm, often something sweet like xôi ca dé (sticky rice with coconut jam wrapped in banana leaf). Extra ca dé. No. Regrets.
And what comes with vivid recollections of sharing food for me, is priceless memories. Although they say a picture paints a thousand words, there are no photographs to depict the sheer festivity our family (all 30 of us, from 5yo to 65yo) eating fresh grilled sardines dipped in tamarind sauce as the rain buckets down, on a private fishing boat along the Mekong Delta. Or, the moment of serenity when discovering a Buddhist cave after an hour hike up the mountain looking for a way out.
It is always exciting to travel, to seek new adventures and explore your surroundings. But there is nothing quite like experiencing your own culture, in a country you once called home. It is easy to understand the language, but a whole different story to apprehend people’s reactions, choices and gestures. It was ironic really, that I didn’t want to be seen as the tourist with the camera, but of course that was inevitable.
What I took in from this trip is something that I hope to bring forward into the future. Every taste, smell and memory is a celebration of my own culture. I have come to the realisation that although Australia is my home, Vietnam is my backbone. And I hope to share that with everyone, not just through words and images, but through something a bit more palpable. By now you would have realised that as a family we love our food. We love to eat it, we love to cook it and we most definitely love to share it. Really, swing by on a Sunday morning and you will understand.