A Family Culture Beyond Our Own
One of the most evident things witnessed here in Vietnam already is their never-failing habit of daily family activity. I’m not simply talking about going to the movies with each other either. The Le family household contains six people, including Hằng, Tuấn (her brother), Tuận (her father), Hà (her mother), and her grandparents Nghệ and Lược. At mealtime, the entire household is invited and included at the table.
They have the typical three meals per day that we have in America, however their diets are quite different here. For starters, as most of you probably already know, rice is a primary food in every meal (with the exception of breakfast, where they frequently substitute rice for noodles or other just have more Phở). At every lunch and dinner (so far) we have had a small bowl of rice in front of us, and the rest of the portions of the meal we added to it from the center of the table. Everything is shared.
Today’s lunch actually reminded me of dinnertime at my house, under special occasion. I actually found myself a little bit taken aback by my own thoughts of my family at home, realizing that these people here in Vietnam were far closer to the ideal “family style living” than mine in Clare. Meals are always at the table, and never in front of a television screen. They are always cooked with fresh foods, and never foods from a can or box. Best of all, there is always so much cooked that all members of the dinner easily have enough to eat, and don’t really find themselves wishing that one person hadn’t ate it all gone, before they had their chances at seconds.
I really like mealtime here. It just has a different feel to it than in America. Feels much more personal, and right about it. It’s sort of odd, but the little things that everybody would say “so what, big deal?” about in America are the very things these people cherish about their lifestyle. I envy it.
Life is simple… that’s how it should be.