About the Power of the Sneeze

Walking down Vu Trong Phung with what must have been a grumpy look on my face, I head towards my destination. I am not a happy camper- for reasons I won’t get into right now. My phone starts ringing. You’re disturbing my happy song on Spotify, leave me aloooooneee. I decide not to answer it, ‘ cause I just need some recovery time. “Woooow, wooooow” The loud yelling from a couple of guys in a passing car pulls me back to the present. By now I’m used to street workers and such shouting, waving and smiling at me. I look up with a faint smile, happy to get some positive attention and to take my mind off of my bad mood. Guess again….

The driver is the first one I see. He’s making an ‘O’ with his left hand and sticks his index finger through his beautifully shaped circle pulling it back and forth. The other guy follows suit and they’re both having a blast. I feel a rush of anger flowing all the way from the tip of my toes to the top of my head. My grumpy face changes into a red flushed “I’m going to get you” face. I grit my teeth and mutter “assholes” under my breath. Speeding up my pace, I’m determined to go up to them and tell ’em off.

Traffic is slow. I’m almost there. Abruptly, I stop in the middle of all the chaos on the pavement. The voice of the lady on my ‘Calm’ app pops up in my head and calmly (as the app suggests) reminds me to ’catch myself’. It was a guided meditation on choosing how to react to your surroundings. I pull myself back on time. Wouldn’t have made it to the car anyway, but fortunately now I don’t feel the need to anymore. I laugh at myself ’cause I’m sooo cranky. That’s why these guys are able to get under my skin with something so stupid, which usually makes me laugh. Hard.

Thankfully, I’ve also reached my destination so the boys are in the clear….for now ; )

Bad mood has softened, but isn’t quite over yet. I walk into my favorite place, that always makes me feel good, but it’s completely packed. That’s fine, you wanted to check out the other coffee house anyway. They serve lots of cool drinks at the new place, but no nice coffees. Black it is! Haven’t had the best experience with just black coffees thus far, but it’s fine. I just wanna sit down, have my fix and write away the blues.

The guy comes up and brings me a cup with one of those tiny percolators on top. After about fifteen minutes of struggling to get wifi to work, I’m ready to take my first sip. What? Only two drops went through? Shit, did I break it?? I had been toying with the percolator a bit, ’cause this one seemed different from the others I had seen so far. Sheepishly, I walk down the stairs holding the entire thing, show them the missing coffee. The guy looks at me with this ‘I don’t know what your problem is’ look. “Wait, Wait” he says. It’s been over twenty minutes, how much longer do I have to wait? Another 30 minutes is his answer. My deer in headlight eyes seem to amuse him. “The coffee is going to be cold by then!”. “No, no. Ies okay” he replies. If you say so….

Just as I’m about to accept that this is gonna be one of those days, the coffee guy unexpectedly walks in with a nice FULL cup of warm coffee, ready to drink!!! I could kiss him right then and there. You just totally made my day buddy!!! Not knowing it was going to get so much better, I continue writing my sulk story when I feel a little itch coming up.

“Achoooooo, Achoo”. The girl sitting opposite me looks up and says “God bless you”. We smile at each other and five minutes later we’re in a deep conversation about teaching and what not. Her ‘English’ name is Wendy. We chat on for about half an hour when she asks me to join her for lunch at her house. Earlier she invited me to actually stay (as in- live) with her in her apartment that she shares with two other guys. Just like that! I’m amazed at how open everyone is here about just inviting people in their homes that they just met.

This is not the first time I experience such immense kindness here. It warms my heart. At the same time I feel a bit odd. Like I’m waiting for the ‘catch’. I still don’t know if there is one. This seems to be the Vietnamese way. People sleep in living rooms on the floor with three people sharing a blanket. I’m still getting used to sharing a bed with another person, and a room with three others. Let alone a bed and one blanket…pretty impressive, yet glad I still have a spot on the bed to myself.

That day I stayed with Wendy and her roomies all afternoon feeling great. A week later we met up again for coffee and lots of girl talk and I will stay with her for a couple of nights this week before traveling North : ) To think that all it took to connect us was a sneeze!! One must definitely not underestimate the power of the sneeze….

Inspirational writer @ www.trulyfeelgood.com

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