I had always known that it is the little things that work for me, from being happy to being upset. Friends tell me I hold on to the tiny things I shouldn’t be holding on to, and that times when I should actually be upset over something, I don’t even think it is worth being upset over. Even back in the university, all it had taken for me to be happy was a long walk, a cup of coffee and some feel-happy song playing full blast on repeat.
I had never known just how little it takes to make me go all sunshine-y and summer-y until I came here.
No, honest! So while the first two days we spent running around getting stuff for the kitchen from Big C, on the third day we decided to take our chances on the Vincom Tower (or to put it officially Hanoi Vincom Center) which is a business center with six levels used for commercial purposes, including a supermarket spanning across a whole level. The other 17 levels are used by the embassy and other international organisations. Even as I entered the brightly lit, welcoming place, there was a smile plastered on my face. Finally a mall where I could actually take a breath without gulping in someone else’s. Escalators with steps! And not those clumsy step-less ones where I can’t ever maintain my balance. Brands I actually had heard of before! Le’s Mart with awesome music being played in the background! It took all of my self-restraint not to dance a jig right in the middle of the store. Such was my relief to get a change from noisy crowded Big C.
The husband and I methodically scanned each aisle and each shelf for stuff we needed. Sugar, salt, and ketchup (Heinz!). Cornflakes (Kelloggs, another name I knew!) and biscuits (Oreo, my dear friend you!). The exclamations at the end are en exact depiction of my reaction, just in case you were wondering. But my favorite buy of that day had to be the perfect saucepan with a glass lid for making tea, and a wooden spatula with the flattest end possible to flip my omelettes, and oh, an egg beater just like the one we have back home in Mamma’s kitchen. Funny how “just like the one we have back home” seems to be the yardstick for the “good” now that I am this far away from home. And did I mention the humongous wooden rolling pin that we got? I mean, which self-respecting wife doesn’t have one both for self-defense and sometimes offense, eh? That I used it to make map shaped “lusis” the other day is just something that comes along with it, I guess. And just when I thought my shopping couldn’t get any better, I saw these warm cuddly bedroom slippers that made me feel like I was gliding on a cloud, and I had to pick them up. The wooden floor is starting to get colder as the days pass by, you see. Oh, look at me gush over saucepans and spatulas and bedroom slippers!
But even now, as I look at the sunshine somehow peeking through the fog, I realize once again it is always about the small things. The picture perfect golden yellow omelette that slides from the pan to the plate without me having to fumble over it. The yellow and red roses I bought dirt cheap from the flower shop just three minutes from my place. The fragrant pink lilies which make me take a deep breath each time I pass them by in my living room. Discovering a KFC and an Al’Fresco’s (a chain of restaurants which serve the most amazing steak and chips) at walking distance from where we live during our late night post-dinner walk yesterday. Being able to give instructions to the taxi driver in Vietnamese, and actually managing to reach my destination correctly. Standing on the top of a foot bridge and watching the busy evening traffic melt into a sea of red and yellow lights.
I don’t know if this is how things will be, for days to come as well. But I am enjoying it while it lasts. Someday, I will start worrying about jobs and salary and savings and taxes. But for now, it will be just about the pots and pans and flowers and slippers.