Today, Sunday, Hannah came to Hải Phòng from Hạ Long to say goodbye to her Nam Phap Church family one last time. Next week she and her husband are leaving Việt Nam and don't know if they will return, for that depends on his job. So one last time the students from her class of past years gathered to spend time with her.
I was teaching in the morning, so Xuân picked me up from work to take me to the restaurant where they had already begun lunch.... horse meat BarBQ followed by goat hot pot.
Lan, Lực, Trang and Nga Hannah, Quỳnh, Nam and Nguyên
Minhi and his girlfriend, Ủy and Tinh and a friend of his from Hạ Long
Dũng, Phương, Cường and Hảo Hảo and Nét
There were many toasts...
Tinh and me Khánh and Lan
After lunch, we all went for tea at Hannah's favourite tea house ... we went there last year, too, but I can't remember the name of it. Anyway, it's a gorgeous place and I understand why it's her favourite place.
This is Ủy in the garden.
There are ponds on either side of the walkway in between the buildings and it's all quite charming and restful.
Trung and Nga are expecting a daughter before the end of this, the year of the dragon... good fortune!
Once again, we took lots of photos...
We rearranged the furniture to make one big long table and all sat and enjoyed tea and fruit juices while all these old friends caught up... most of them are working now, so they don't see one another so much these days. Hannah asked everyone around the table to take a couple of minutes to tell everyone what they are doing now. It was wonderful to hear how often they expressed gratitude to Hannah for taking time to teach them and care about them. They also exhorted one another to keep in touch, now that Hannah's visits would no longer be a reason to gather together. Unfortunately I had to leave before they got right around the table... I left it as long as possible, but I had to be teaching at 3pm and it was 12 minutes to!! So sadly I missed the final group photos and didn't have time for farewells even...
Just as Xuân and I were dashing out the door, Tinh and Quỳnh rode up with gifts for Hannah and me. What a shame I had to rush off. This is the gift... a beautiful framed ceramic tile of the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi.