While visiting Vietnam I had the unique opportunity to travel outside of Hanoi and get a taste (literally) of life in the small villages outside of this big city. I remember very vividly the trek out to the village as the road we traveled on was full of huge potholes that we maneuvered along the way, making for a funand interesting drive. As we drew closer to the village the noise and hustle and bustle of the city dissipated and soon we had arrived into a beautiful and peaceful setting.
When we pulled up to Tân's family's village we were immediately greeted with hugs and welcomed into the home where I met grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and children. The house was not huge, and yet with all of us there everyone seemed to maneuver around one another with ease. I could immediately see how close knit the family was and everyone was going out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and had something to drink. We had arrived just in time to watch and help with making dinner. Everything was fresh from their farm that day, including the chickens that were prepared.
One thing that really stood out to me is how there wasn't anything that went to waste, almost every single part of the chicken was consumed. It made me really appreciate their culture as I thought about how wasteful we can be in America. I tried many different foods, some of which I hadn't ever even heard of and every single dish was amazing. I loved how everyone gathered together for dinner, crowding around the table and really making an event of the meal. To say that the dinner was 2-3 hours long is not an exaggeration, it really made for a fun and relaxing atmosphere. This was truly a unique experience, one that will stay with me for a long time and would not have been possible had I not been with Tân and his family.