I spent the first day of the new year with my son going to a pagoda nearby and visiting relatives, as a tradition in Vietnam. The weather was cold but not raining, so travelling outside was fine. After the pagoda, I took my son to my mum-in-law's house. She is staying home alone. The house big with four storeys but frankly it looks so dull and dirty, lacking personal care. I sighted sadly when coming into the house. Then I proceeded to Long Bien where my mum lives. I also visitted my mum's brother, my father's brother and my mum's aunt who is more than 90 years old. I had dinner with my mum and my sisters and brothers (not all of them because two sisters could not visit mum on the first day - one busy with her husband's family which is number 1 priority and one living too far, in HCMC). My eldest sister had a change: she used to have long straight hair, now she has wavy hair. Wow, I am very very surprised when looking at her. She looks younger and more 'up to date'. Among four sisters, she is the most modest... But now time to enjoy life, time to take care of herself after a long hard working life. I like her much. I also feel sorry for her because she can travel by car, train or plane. She spends her life just within Hanoi. My eyes once got wet when she told us that she has never been to some famous pagodas in inner Hanoi. Her daughters can not take her because they are busy with their own family. I promised to be her guide in the near future. Can you imagine that she lives just 7 km from Hoan Kiem Lake?
Today we stay home. We wanted to prepare for the trip which starts tomorrow. So far everything is ready. Two suitcases for mum and son, money, important documents and tickets. A week away is really good for me to refresh before I come back to work on 5 February. As planned we are going to explore Bangkok.