family secrets

I have gotten used to missing most of the conversation that my family has over dinner, not knowing when special things are happening prior to their occurance, and being generally confused most of the time. This experience notwithstanding, I assumed, until about a week ago, that my family would tell me if anything really BIG was happening; there are certain things you have to tell family, right?

The other Sunday we had an extended-family lunch in honor of Chu Hung's father's death anniversary. I purposely positioned myself next to the younger of my two sisters, Nga, intending to make a point to converse with her. My first question was about whether she thought her cousin and his girlfriend will get married soon (I really want to go to a wedding while I'm here). My second question: "Why do random people come to look at our house sometimes?"

It was something I had been wondering for a while. One time the following thought crossed my mind: "Its like our house is for sale or something." But I immediatly rejected this half-formed idea with another, "It can't be. Surely I would know about that."

I learned how wrong I was when Nga responded with, "We sell the house." Obviously, her tone seemed to add, quite helpfully. After I managed to close my gaping mouth, I gleaned as much information as I could...Moving. In about a month. Clearly.

I've learned a bit more since then. My family is planning to buy land and build a house (a bigger, nicer one, apparently). Until then, they will rent a house on the other side of West Lake. I have heard that we will move by November 15, but I haven't noticed any preparations unless you count buying a new car. I'm interested to see what the Vietnamese process of moving will look like.

The anticipated move has one particular perk--It will put me much closer to the homes of Ali and Hannah. However, it also means a longer bike ride to work at The Gioi Publishers, as well re-settling into a new place and routine. But it's ok--those of you who know me well know that I am excellent at dealing with change. (And those of you who don't know me so well but have been reading this blog are probably learning to detect my always-subtle sarcasm)

If nothing else, I expect that I will gain a few interesting stories and extensive knowledge of the roads in another part of Hanoi. And I will have learned to make less assumptions about the sort of information that families necessarily tell each other.


  1. Makes me wonder what else you're missing... maybe there's a new family member joining too? A wedding - for you? A swimming pool at the new house??

  2. Well, the other night some extended family was over. When I stood up from the meal, a cousin who I hadn't met before commented on how tall I am and wanted to compare his height with mine. Then, after we had determined that he is taller than me, he apparently "wanted me to know that he is single now." hahahaha. but no wedding has been planned (yet)...as far as I know, anyway...

  3. If anything does come to play out from that, you shoudl definitely let your American family (and "extended" family) know. Haha