Doesn't this smile solve all of the worlds problems?
My day began with a 7:30 am rendezvous at my old work, where I met up with other volunteers and shared a taxi to the orphanage. I arrived a bit early and was ecstatic to have Bánh cuốn from my all time favorite street vender, who remembered me and said "long time!", only to find that she was only making Bánh mì... a slight disappointment however it was still one of the best breakfast experiences I could have asked for!
What a great way to start the day, having a woman who has seen tons of western teachers over the years, remembering me after a two year absence!
After a long taxi ride, and plenty of time getting to know a few new friends, we had arrived at my favorite orphanage. It was like I had been there yesterday, it felt so beautiful. So familiar.
My heart was filled with excitement, love and anticipation as we headed in and I saw fifteen kids playing on the playground. At this point, I also experienced a very hard life lesson. The children playing were the children I had worked with two years ago. The children with down syndrome. The children no one wants to adopt.
Even though I was sad, and confused- my heart was lifted up once again with the hugest bear hug from one of the little boys who remembered me. It actually took two of the vietnamese staff to get him to release his embrace when it was time for them to go have lunch.
It was this boy:
(Picture is from 2007 )
I went on to assist in the initial breakfast feed for the infants... Wow is all I can say.
After this, this gorgeous connection between myself and an amazing little girl named Hanh, I headed over to the infant room to laugh, play and snuggle.
While there I met this young lady called Phouc.
At first, Phouc did not appreciate me sitting next to her. This did not last long, as she curled up in my lap and didn't leave my side until nap time.
We played airplane, we danced around, and we went around the room making friends with the other toddlers.
I ended the morning with the second round of feeding in the infant room. This time, a little girl named Ngoc was bright eyed while all the other infants rested. I was drawn to her and she just stared at me with this huge toothless grin and I simply melted.
And like I said at the beginning of this entry.... One look at a this alluringly pure smile and all of your troubles, all of your worries, your stresses, your fears- simply fade away. These children aren't bogged down with the pressures of modern society. They smile even though they live in terrible conditions, and live in a state of constant uncertainty. They wait in patience, filled with hope that a family will bring them home. These children did nothing to deserve this, and yet they smile and laugh every single day.
What a gift they give to me, to bring out my laughter and to reward me with unconditional love. A few hours with them and everything seems manageable. All goals seem reachable. A sense of calm, peace and comfort fills your heart and lasts for days.
I can't help but post this image one more time: