While sharing the many photos taken in Vietnam a friend asked why I am smiling so much in most of the photos. I did not realize that. I told her that it is my heart that was smiling. I smile and sing when I am happy, no cue needed. Very seldom do we get an opportunity to revisit a place and time that was so instrumental in who we have become.
In 1971 at the age of 18, I joined the military and in 7 months was shipped to Vietnam. I remember the tradition was to countdown each day “in country” hoping that it would expedite our departure. It did not. I fell in love with the country and the people. I realized early that I was a guest which made my time there much more meaningful. I returned home in 1972 with a full heart, filled with more compassion for others.
This time was different. Trish Thompson is the founder of Loving Work Foundation and also our Retreat Leader. From my arrival at Ho Chi Minh airport until I left 14 days later, each day was started with mindfulness meditation and followed by a fashion show of tea houses, ancient pagodas, and temples, wide magnificent rivers and spectacular mountains. And most importantly, the people of Vietnam. They are still recovering from the violence but are able to open their homes and hearts to guests. Finally, the children of the Tam Binh Children’s Center caused all of us to open our hearts.
The food was fresh, the meals were creative and the fellowship among the group was special. Thank you Trish! I am ready for 2018.