This was very exciting. No one ever came to see us when we lived in Beijing, and if they did, they couldn't have stayed with us anyway. We had only been in Vietnam for six months before hosting our first guest.
We intentionally got a house with an extra room so that we could do this. The Central Coast of Vietnam is a much better vacation destination than Beijing, and we already know of at least three more trips to visit us that various friends and family are working on.
|Part of the guest room|
I'm so glad my eldest sister was our first guest. She was an easy guest, not too demanding, but she and I are close enough that I could ask her honestly for advice on improvements to the guest room. Also, she was very relaxed about scheduling things, so we didn't have to plan the heck out of her week.
I learned a few things that I will do differently regarding future visitors.
1. Weather. I am a bad judge of weather now. I can look at an app with the best of 'em, but now that the humidity doesn't bug me, I was advising my sister to pack capris with a few shorts. It was delightfully cool with all the rain that happened! She was melting in our upper 70s. The humidity is intense for a midwesterner! Huh. Guess that's why it takes three days for my clothes to dry if it's rainy.
2. Distances. I measure distance in time. "How far is Old Town?" "About a 25 minute walk." (It's about two and a half kilometers.) I have always loved walking. I don't notice distance because I'm looking around me enjoying the life I see. It was that way in the States, too. Moving to Asia, walking has become a necessity. I walk a lot. I walk fairly fast, usually. Not everyone does. My sister has an iffy knee, and moves more slowly than I do. (She would decide whether a walk sounded do-able, but based on my distance estimation.) I don't think she enjoyed the interesting things that we passed while walking. She was very intent on the motion itself, it seemed. Maybe I'm wrong.
3. Environment. I love where I live. I notice things like the variety of colors of the houses and their gates, the distinctive shrines that are everywhere, any new fruit I see on a street-side cart, the shape of the clouds or fog in the morning. I love the smells of incense and spices and exhaust that make up Asia. I breathe deep as we pass by the rice paddies or sit by the river. I am enchanted by our cultural differences. Not everyone notices these things, or indeed cares. I think, if a person doesn't find joy in detail, or mark the uniqueness of beauty, perhaps Vietnam is not a great place to visit.
I do believe that overall, we had a good time. We did some stuff, went some places, and also relaxed a good deal. I hope my sister enjoyed herself. I honestly don't know. She didn't love the things I love about this place, but maybe enjoyed enough in her own way. With my family, I may never get a straight answer.