Like in one of my other posts, “Dinner with China,” I’m going to write more about the friends Asher has met in Vietnam. First there was the girl from the hotel in Halong Bay. Asher and KIeran were so destined to have fun that they met a little girl whose mom worked at the resort and started hopping around on her “taun tauns” together. (That’s the name Asher’s friend James Bothwell gave these bouncy things at home. He thinks they look like the furry white creatures in The Empire Strikes Back.) They literally played with her all day except for when she had to change her clothes and eat. When everyone was ready for a peaceful dinner, that’s not what they got. Asher, Kieran, and their little friend ran from the dinner table to the pool table, jumped on top, and started playing. They even put the taun tauns on top of the pool table and started throwing the balls at them, which caused the balls and the taun tauns to fly everywhere. I had to go up to stop them from doing multiple things including playing “easy pool,” which is when you are up on top of the pool table and you drop the balls into the pockets, take them out, and do it again and again. But the funniest part was that Kieran and Asher had no idea what the little girl was saying, and she had no idea what they were saying. So Asher learned how to use her hands to make the girl follow them and do other stuff.
Even on the train from Hanoi to Hue Asher made a friend. There were three kids on the train, but she decided to play with one. He was a six year old boy who was bored and kept walking past our room and looking in. The two other kids were a boy and a girl. The boy would run through the hall as fast as he could followed by his green dolphin balloon and his mom chasing not far behind. The girl would walk by occasionally to go to the WC. Asher started playing with the boy the same way she started playing with the girl in the restaurant in Beijing. When he came by she popped out at him and made faces through the doorway, and then he did the same. Then he had to go back to his room. Asher followed this time. I followed behind her, but Kieran didn’t because he was asleep. When the boy came back out, they started playing with a bottle cap, from flicking to kicking, and then they started kicking a crabapple sized fruit. Then Kieran woke up and joined the fun. They played until it was time to get off the train. As we drove away in the van to the hotel, they waved goodbye.
Asher can have fun with a Vietnamese child just about anywhere, even on the street outside our hotel. When mom and Asher were walking down the street, this little 3 1/2 year old boy popped out and punched her in the stomach. The moms were both astonished, but Asher just laughed. I don’t know how many friends she is going to make in Vietnam, but it’s gonna be a lot. From Hanoi to Saigon, from Saigon to the world! She will meet so many children in so many places it reminds me of one our favorite books, “Come Over to My House.” Like the kids in the book they’ll probably all be saying in their own languages, “Come over to my house! Come over and play!” From China to India kids will be saying, “Remember that girl, the one with the yellow hair.” Friends upon friends upon friends. Ash will have so many friends all over the world.