A wonderful experience with Frulia

My amazing Fulia

Words can not express how special it was to have Julia and Frank (their shorted combination name is Frulia) staying at our homestay recently during their vacation in Hoian.

They arrived in a late afternoon one day in September and decided to book for their stay for 2 nights from 23rd September 2017 and ended up with staying for 18 nights!!

They are a very lovely couple with good hearts,beautiful character and good sense of humor who brought a lot of energy and fun to our family. They tried to learn some Vietnamese so that they could communicate with my mother, this made my mother very happy. We love having them at our house and it was always great time having them around, hanging out, playing cards with them and showing them Hoian secrect places.

It was Frank’s 31st birthday on 25th September. How special the occasion was!

Happy 31st birthday to Frank!

Happy 31st birthday to Frank!

"Let me burn the candle for you"

“Let me burn the candle for you”

They supposed to check out on 27th September 2017 but Julia kept telling me ” I don’t want to leave, please don’t book others at our room yet” and it seemed we never knew when they would check out :) and we kept on the pleasant having them around.

Every day we saw Frank playing some tricks of  Kendama and Julia watched and encouraged him. This is the first time we have known about this Japanese toy thanks to Frank. He tried to teach us but it was so hard to play and we know we need a lot of passion, skills and practice to be able to play. For him, Kendama is a great way to be creative and improve one’s patience and hand-eye corordination. http://fhaughee.weebly.com/kendama.html

Playing Kendama

Playing Kendama

One day, they would like to join in our home cooking class so I took them to the local market where I go everyday to buy food. It is always an interesting time for me to show our guests different kinds of vegetable, herbals, traditional medicine, Vietnamese culture, custome, life and ways of thinking during the time we visit the market. Julia and Frank were also very interested in that visit and they were curious about what was the taste when people chew areca nut and betel leaf in Viet Nam.

The preparation and cooking lesson was fun. I was proud that they love cooking and they are good cooks.

cooking class set up

cooking class set up

How excited is Julia!

How excited she is!

Making crispy rice pancake

Making crispy rice pancake

Weekend comes and being inspired by the lovely guests, we decided to cook and invite them to join in our family lunch. It was a very good time with good food, good laugh, talks and smiling faces.

Lunch with Fulia and other guests

Kendama on Frank’s neck

IMG_6868

Frulia, Ésme and Gill- her sweet mother from UK, Elva from China and the two lovely boys Julio from Mexico and Hunter from the USA

Time for Frank to do what he wished to do at the market! Chewing areca nut and betel leaf along with calcium hydroxide like many  old Vietnamese still do nowadays. I felt really admire about his willingness to try new things because chewing that can burn the inside of our mouth and also can make us feel “drunk” but Bravo! Frank made it! Lesson for me ” Don’t hesitate to try things you have never done before”

chewing areca nut and betel leaf along with calcium hydroxide

Was it yummy? :)

Mid Autumn Festival is a festival for children in Vietnam but for many children in Hoi An this festival is far more interesting and colorful than in other places inVietnam because Hoian people like to keep their tradition and like to play more than just eating Moon Cakes. Staying in our city during this time,  Frank and Julia could have a very lovely experience with all the activities and playingwith kids is always fun:

Group of kids coming to the houseIMG_6880

One day, I were delighted to take them to some secrect places in Hoi An to enjoy some Hoian street food. We started with Bánh lọc, Bánh ít and then another house for Bánh bèo. So much fun for me and wonderful suprise for them !

Bánh lọc, bánh ít

Bánh lọc, bánh ít

Bánh bèo Hội An

Bánh bèo Hội An

After that we went to Chè Lệ- the popular 30 year old dessert restaurant which serves different kinds of sweet soup made from some kinds of bean, taro, pomelo in Hoi An so that they could try some kinds of yummy sweet soup and then we went to Song Thu Restaurant for some beer and talk about marriage in Viet Nam. I will never forget what Frank said ” I can’t wait till I get married to go out with my boy friends:)

( to this post readers: This subject we can talk more if you like lol)

And another hang out with Andrew- a new friend they met at the beach at Happy Buffalo Bar where we played Dutch Blitz together.

for a memory

for our memory

Dutch Blitz is a wonderful American game which we now get addicted to it. Frank and Julia were very enthusiastic in teaching all of our family to play and we did play together sometime in a day, some also with other guests staying at our house.

Dutch Blitz playing

Dutch Blitz playing

IMG_6913

Another weekend came so we went to a wonderful goat meat restaurant in town to enjoy goat meat together. They really like it although the way of cooking is different with what people do in New Zealand:

at goat meat Dong Quan Restaurant

yummy steamed goat meat

16 nights passing by and time they decided to keep exploring other places in Vietnam so they invited us out for dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant at An Bang Beach named SÁU Restaurant where local people often go:

Farewell dinner@An Bang Beach

Farewell dinner@An Bang Beach

My amazing Fulia

My amazing Frulia

This was in the morning of 11Oct2017, we were very sad having to say goodbye to this special and georgeous couple who we know that we could never forget and are always looking forward to meet again.

farewell

farewell :(

Frank and Mum

Frank and Mum

Julia and mum

Julia and mum

Fulia and our family and the beautiful flowers they gave us

Frulia and our family and the beautiful flowers they gave us

we all at the front gate, the car was waiting behind

we all at the front gate, the car was waiting behind

flower of love

flower of love

message for us

message for us

written with lots of  their thoughts and love for each of our family member

written with lots of their thoughts and love for each of our family member

We know we will meet them again.

We miss you Frank and Julia. Thank you very much for everything and we love the experience having you. Love you.

How to make Vietnamese coffee?

Brighten your day with a cup of Vietnamese white coffee every morning and be inspired. We are very proud to know that all guests who visit our country even Italian love our Vietnamese coffee. Some are wondering how to make it or particularly how to brew it properly so we hope this video clip would help. You can use fresh milk if that is your taste. However Vietnamese white coffee ( or Cà phê sữa) is mostly matched with condensed milk. I like to serve it with ice ( Cà phê sữa đá). How about you?

Mid- Autumn Festival in Hoi An ( 15th of August in Lunar month )

In Vietnam, Mid Autumn Festival can be considered as the second biggest festival after Tet holidays ( Vietnamese Lunar New Year) and it is specialized for children. In Vietnamese, we call it Tet Trung Thu. It happens 7 to 10 days prior to the 15th of August in Lunar month.

I still remember how joyful we felt when we were kids in this festival- it dated back to the days  in the beginning of year 1990s when we just had electricity 2-3 days a week.  We burned the candles in the paper lanterns made by ourselves a few days before the festival and allowed by our parents to follow the teenagers including my brothers and his friends who played unicorn dance, drum. We walked from streets to streets and in the dark, our lanterns and the eyes of the unicorn were bright like our eye lights. At that time Moon Cakes were something a luxury for us but our parents and also our friend’s parents could still try to buy it for us as we kids all loved it in Tet Trung Thu.

Today, it is good that most children in Viet Nam can have Moon Cakes easily ( Bánh Trung Thu) and enjoy the festival in a new comfortable way with many kinds of unicorn, lion dances and can be driven by their parents on motorbike to see the unicorn dancing, buy many kinds of lanterns.

Perhaps the most picturesque place in Vietnam now to experience Mid Autumn Festival is in Hoi An. The Hoi An old quarter comes alive during Mid-Autumn Festival with folk games on the streets and floating lanterns on the river running through the town, making for a magical atmosphere. Adding to the festivities are groups of lion dancers who engage in mock dance battles in a contest of skills, involving the coordinated efforts of up to a dozen people performing a mixture of rhythmic dance and acrobatics.

It is great to welcome Mid Autumn Festival in Hoi An which falls from 24th to 28th September 2015 and a good chance for tourists to experience the special children festival in our small beautiful town

Special Joel and Angie

At lunch time after work I went home and met a couple having known that they just came back from outside while waiting for the room to be made. He is English and she is Korean-American living in Hong kong. The girl looked secretive and the man looked more open with excellent English ☺ He has a sweet voice too and she seems still secretive behind her sun glasses. We upgraded room to Charming Deluxe room as a gift for their honeymoon vacation. And our stories begin from that…They booked for staying 3 nights and ended up with 12 nights (01Aug-13Aug) then they decided to find the way back to Hoi An for another 6 night stay ( 28Aug to 03Sep) after their vacation to Hue- Quang Binh- Ninh Binh- Hanoi- Halong-Bay. We cannot say thank you enough to Joel Manley and his wife- warm heart and smart Angelina Shin Manley for the fabulous time we had together and for their love for our family and Hoi An. And we know they will come back to Charming Homestay in a soonest day.

https://joelmanley.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/hoi-an-aug-1st-13th-15/

Tra Que Vegetable Village- a must to go place when you visit Hoi An

There is a place in Hoi An where I can find myself relaxed the most and always recommend our homestay guests to go there. At this place, farmers from generation to generation for hundred years have grown the wonderful tasty and nice smell vegetable and herbs. The special thing here is local farmers don’t use any chemical for the vegetable. They use alga/ seaweed from the river nearby the village as a fertilizer. Another special thing and also the most important thing is about the land there -It is very fertilized. For the same seeds if you grow at another place what you can get after that is not as sweet, fragrant and tasty like that. Tra Que vegetable is nice of course but for me this is the place where you can feel your life very peaceful.

Tips:

  • Time:The best time to visit this village is in the early morning at around 6:30am(the earlier the better )and the late afternoon around 05:00pm.
  • How to get there: by bicycles, 2.5km from our homestay. So on the way to go to An Bang beach you will see a signboard named Tra Que Vegetable Village on the right, turn right to the alley and you will easily find it. Distance from the village to An Bang beach: 500 metes.
  • I can take you there for free in my free time and I love to do that.