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Published: October 21st 2009
Hoang Anh & Thanh Dao
The couple from Cu Chi
Mr. Phuong is my English teaching friend from HCMC. He is quite the friend. I met him as I was bicycling down a Saigon street. He pulled up beside me on his motorbike and said: "If you would just stop at that pub ahead, I'll buy you a beer if you talk English with me. I don't like beer but I stopped anyway. I guess that was the start of our friendship, doing things neither one of us finds all that interesting just to be with someone who is interesting.
Mr. Phuong is an English teacher, public and private. He is an excellent musician on a number of instruments. He composes songs. He leads a band. He started his married life past forty but now has a beautiful wife and two beautiful children. His Mother speaks fluent French and his Dad is a great band conductor. I gave Mr. Phuong the nickname; MAMAM (moves a mile a minute). My gosh, he has so much energy.
I would just once like to have dinner with Mr. Phuong and have a quiet conversation. I don't think that will ever happen. Once, we were both invited to go with Bich Lieu's Church Choir on
Playing Bich Lieu's new piano. One of the few real pianos in Vietnam. They use keyboards. I don't know how the piano will be kept in tune with all the humid weather.
a mission to Tam Nong to deliver food to the poor. My job was to play Santa Claus; Mr. Phuong's job was to help provide a little music support to the choir. We left at midnight, driving all night to get there by 5AM. I thought we would all sleep on the way there but that will never happen with Mr. Phuong around. He pulled out his guitar as soon as the van left the block and they sang songs all the way to Tam Nong
So, Mr. Phuong met me at the airport when I came to Vietnam and soon offered another invitation to go to a Vietnamese wedding. I told him that I had been to a lot of weddings but I would think about it. During the week I thought about it a lot and finally wrote him an email saying that I had been to enough weddings and really didn't care about going to another. He wrote back: “I’ll pick you up at Bich Lieu's at 9AM Saturday.
So, I went to another wedding with Mr. Phuong
To my surprise I enjoyed this wedding more than the others. The wedding was between Hoang Anh, an office
worker and Thanh Dao, a policeman. Their parents put on quite the party and I suppose like most even went into debt putting on the right face. It seems that the Vietnamese really do like these blowouts and I am always surprised by the number of professional and amateur performers. When Trang's family gets together I am always amazed at how many of her Uncles and cousins can sing really well. In the US, we have to beg people of talent to perform, here they willing volunteer.
Something about this wedding was very enjoyable. They all wanted to know me and told me it was an honor to have the first American to visit their neighborhood. There was also some good humor provided by some who wanted to inform me of the former Viet Cong in the party. I don't know if they were kidding or not but it is amazing how this country has pulled itself together after one of the bloodiest civil wars you can imagine. Maybe a country which is only 10 % Christian is a great example of Christ teachings. That is the impression I get.
The newlywed couple was really charming. They will go by
car to Da Lat, the honeymoon capital of Vietnam. I wish them good fortune in the future and pray their union will produce throughout their journey, the love that had on this special day. May God Bless Your Union.
Bạn bè của tôi Hoàng Anh và Thanh Đảo,
Cảm ơn bạn đã cho tôi kinh nghiệm tiệc cưới của bạn. Nó được rất nhiều niềm vui. Bạn làm cho một cặp vợ chồng đẹp.
Tôi muốn bạn nhiều hạnh phúc trong tương lai. Có thể bạn luôn yêu thương nhau hơn mỗi ngày. Chăm sóc lẫn nhau và tôn trọng lẫn nhau.
Có thể tương lai của bạn được tươi sáng và vui chơi.
Bạn của bạn,
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