Tag Archives: Hanoi

Happy 2013 (a look back).

This past year was filled with so much wonder, discovery, challenge, and I hope, growth.

Exiting a mosque in Cairo's City of the Dead.  Photo by Ben Robinson.
Exiting a mosque in Cairo’s City of the Dead. Photo by Ben Robinson.

I can’t hardly believe that we began the past year in Egypt, on the anniversary of their revolution, traveling with good friends in Cairo and then in the UAE.  I wasn’t sure I’d ever return to the Middle East after such a whirlwind trip, but lately I can’t stop thinking about that trip, the people, the cities, the mystique of it all.

My friend, Emily, and I above Tahrir Square on the anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution this past January.  Photo by Ben Robinson.
My friend, Emily, and I above Tahrir Square on the anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution this past January. Photo by Ben Robinson.

My fieldwork really began to pick up in 2012 as I traveled frequently to a new foster care project for disabled children in a village several hours outside the capital city.  I wrote one of the most popular posts on the blog that month, describing some of the lessons I’d learned from doing fieldwork in China, and tried to give you a glimpse of what I really did everyday!

In March, Evan and I spent 72 hours in Hong Kong, where I presented some initial findings of my research to the Department of Anthropology at Chinese University of Hong Kong.  It was one of my favorite trips to one of my favorite cities!

The view from Lantau Island, Hong Kong.  Photo by Evan Schneider.
The view from Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Photo by Evan Schneider.

In May, our friends Zack and Kristina joined us in China and we did another tour of Hanoi and Halong Bay.  Soon, Evan was finishing up teaching, and I was wrapping up fieldwork.  My family joined us in June, and we all traveled to the breathtaking rice terraces outside of Guilin together.  Finally, at the end of July, we left China, and I’ve been looking back ever since.

This is our guide, Xiao Pan, looking out on the rice terraces outside her Yao village, Zhongliu, in the Guangxi mountains.  Photo by David Raffety.
This is our guide, Xiao Pan, looking out on the rice terraces outside her Yao village, Zhongliu, in the Guangxi mountains. Photo by David Raffety.

Back in the US, challenges took a different shape–moving, readjusting to our home culture, academic culture for me, a new job for Evan (yay!).  The last few months feel as though they’ve flown by even faster than our time traveling the world and living in China.  We love being back in Princeton, because our friends seem to enjoy coming back here, too, and we’ve had countless visits from dear friends these past few months.

And though I never thought I’d get there, but I’m starting to ache again to set flight for somewhere new and exotic.  Guess that’s just the anthropologist in me!

My friend, Abbie, and I walk on the canal path this fall in Princeton.  Photo by Evan Schneider.
My friend, Abbie, and I walk on the canal path this fall in Princeton. Photo by Evan Schneider.

2012 was also the five year anniversary for this blog.  Five years of anthropology and ministry, Spanish, Chinese, world travels, centering prayer, physical and spiritual journeying, and gratitude–gratitude for you, dear readers, and gratitude for God’s blessings upon this past year and the next.  Thanks for making this journey with me!

In Cairo, with my husband.  Photo by Ben Robinson.
In Cairo, with my husband. Photo by Ben Robinson.

Happy New Year!

What would you like to see more of on the blog in 2013?

 

 

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Where did May go?

Yes, I know it’s already the fourth of June, but I’m stunned.

May seemed to just fly by…what do you think?

For me, May highlights included:

A view of the countryside in South China.
Evan and I on Halong Bay.
A photo of me and my grandparents from spring 2008.
  • A myriad of foster visits
  • Perhaps my last trip to the countryside to see the disabled kids who are thriving there in foster care
  • A visit from dear friends and a jaunt back to Hanoi and Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • The passing of my lovely Grandfather
  • My twin sister’s seminary graduation (it really feels like just yesterday she started her classes at Denver Seminary.  Congratulations, Julie!  Now both twins graduated from seminary: praise God!)
  • Our fourth-wedding anniversary
  • Experiencing God’s blessings, grace, and joy!
Photo from my seminary graduation in 2008….
…and the twin’s this May. See the resemblance??

And looking forward to in June:

Hanoi Highlights

It’s been about a year since our first trip to Hanoi, the bustling Northern Vietnamese city that both assaults and enchants with its peddlers, propaganda posters, and world-famous pho.

And it was in a familiar sleepy stupor that we first wandered the streets after disembarking the overnight train from Nanning at the ungodly hour of 5:30 China time/4:30 am in Hanoi.

Good morning, Vietnam.

We stopped into a nearby noodle shop to stomach some pho and a coffee shop to grab a stiff early-morning brew, and then it was off to St. Joseph’s cathedral, the statuesque steepled church in the middle of the city.  While mass was just letting out as we arrived at seven am, in the early afternoon locals gather nearby to drink fabulous lime tea under the awnings, and it’s a more festive atmosphere.

We also made our way to the iconic red bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake and enjoyed watching the locals practice their tai chi. We grabbed a couple pan chocolate (God bless Vietnam’s French heritage!) and savored them as we continued meandering our way through the colorful streets.

When we came back on Saturday from our tour on Halong Bay, we had just a few short hours in Hanoi, so we made a beeline for Cong Caphe, where we downed some fabulous little cups of coffee and stocked up on supplies for the train home to China.

We ended the evening in Hanoi by dining on a set menu at the popular (and pricey) Wild Lotus.  The atmosphere was relaxing, the food pretty good, and the company excellent, of course.  While our time in Hanoi was short, it did not disappoint.

More on Halong Bay and the rest of our trip to come…

A taste of Vietnam

Ben, Emily, and I sipping on Vietnamese coffee in the loft of Cong Caphe, Hanoi.

There are some travel locales that just linger in your mind, and for me, Hanoi, despite its rough-around-the-edges-24-hour-hawker-identity is one of those places.  

And the taste that lingers with me is that of the Cong Caphe I brought back in humble brown bag sacks.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the first taste of Vietnamese coffee was a revelation, the bitter strength of the brew cut by the sticky, sweet and condensed milk.

There are many places that claim to do Vietnamese coffee in China, but hardly do it justice (in fact this was something that made me outright suspicious of every coffee shop we saw with umbrellas emblazoned with the Trung Ngyuen label, the same one that has let me down so famously here in Nanning).

And so, the next best thing to a return trip to Vietnam (which we hope to do next year for our anniversary), is a cup of home-brewed Cong Caphe, with sweet milk out of Chinese cardboard cartons and some sugar.

This morning’s breakfast: wheat bread with butter and honey my husband brought from a beehive in Yunnan, a fried egg, and you guessed it, a cup of Cong Caphe.

A lovely way to start the morning, if not a mite short of a revelation.

Photo Taken by Evan Schneider, Courtesy of Ben Robinson.