After unpacking our overnight bags I realized that we had left 2 shopping bags and a brand new pack of diapers in the closet at the other hotel. We called over there, feeling like we were just going through the motions. Of course the two shopping bags would be gone by now. I bought 4 tea cups with lids as gifts for the grandmas back home. We started walking back with heavy hearts. When we got there, they had all our things waiting for us at the front desk! Even though I was prepared to cut my losses, telling myself people are poor and times are hard, it always feels so much better to be treated with honesty and kindness.
Last night we ate at a restaurant called The Green Tangerine. We heard some people talking in the lobby about how good it was. It was right across the street from the Rising Dragon. Wanting to avoid the heavy traffic and congestion of downtown Hanoi on a Saturday night, we decided to go there. We forgot all the usual rules: check the menu, make sure it's kid friendly.
I should have turned around and walked out as soon as I saw the tables set with wine glasses, water glasses and two forks, two knives, two spoons. BUT NO, we passively followed the hostess past the courtyard, up the stairs to the second floor. It was a French restaurant with prices to rival any fancy restaurant in the US. We opted for the Vietnasese set menu on the back: a 4 course meal starting with pho bo (beef noodle soup). Maya sipped on her mango shake. When she saw two straws she insisted that I share it with her. Then she ate a few noodles and slurped some soup.
Then she was ready to go. She whined trough the second course: shrimp fritters and spring rolls. By the third course we were taking turns walking around the restaurant trying to keep her from having a melt down: scallops in tamarind sauce and stir fried beef with pineapple, red and green peppers. She was almost unbearable by the time dessert came: friend bananas and coconut ice cream. We paid our bill, left a fat tip (which was more than we usually pay for lunch) and high tailed it out of there, thanking our lucky stars that we made it out without any broken glasses, spilled drinks or tantrums.
Interesting people I have met: While walking Maya around in the Green Tangerine, I was relieved to see another parent trying to pacify his baby in a stroller. He was Ethnically Samoan, grew up in Australia, living in Singapore, in Vietnam for a business trip! The manager of the Rising Dragon is a Vietnamese man married to an American woman from North Carolina named Ginger. This morning when we got back to the hotel, the lobby was full of kids. At one table there were two causasian children sitting with two Asian children. I assumed they were one family with two birth children and two adopted children. They were not related. They are students from a United Nations International School in Thailand, here for a swim meet! I talked with one of the parents: Cathy, an American living in Thailand with her husband and children. Cathy wants to adopt a child from Thailand so we had a nice chat about international adoption.
What's new with Maya? Well, we are still just working on bonding and trust issues while introducing the concept of limit setting. As I told you before, she has a healthy self esteem, and no problems asserting her strong will. We are trying to gently let her know that she is, in fact, NOT the alpha female (which is coming as somewhat of a surprise to her). We are also trying to mitigate the incessant whining with a few more ASL words, like PLEASE. It's very cute when she signs PLEASE: she rubs her tummy instead of her chest!
Today we bought her a little purse of her own. When Sarah was little, she used to play for hours with an old purse of my mom's. She'd put things in it, take them out, carry it around, play make believe for hours. We are trying not to buy too many toys so we won't have to buy another suitcase to go home. (Matt thinks we already need to because of all the gifts I've bought but I'm optimistic that we can get it all home in an extra duffle bag we brought!)