Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Paparazzo with a Vietnamese twist

I knew that bringing my blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter to Vietnam would cause some commotion. I knew that people would want to take her picture and touch her hair. As a redhead, I know firsthand what it is like to have complete strangers lay their hands on you without asking. And while I do my best not to project my personal hang-ups onto my daughters, this was in the back, and sometimes front, of my mind as I mentally prepared for Vietnam.

And so yes, wherever we go, people do take lots and lots of pictures. Sometimes they politely ask, like they did today at the flower shop, and sometimes they do not. When Allison asks why they are taking her picture, I explain that it is because her hair is yellow and they think it is very special. So far, she seems okay with that explanation.

A good deal of the time, people want to have their picture taken with Allison, which depending on her mood can, understandably, be strange and upsetting. But today, she was excited about buying flowers and, in the mid-day heat, was enjoying the cool water mist for the flowers, so she was a willing and happy participant.

As I downloaded these pictures, I was struck by the utter joy in the faces - of the shopgirls who were enamored and of Allison who was knee-deep in a new experience.

Today, like every day, I was reminded how grateful I am for the Vietnamese people - for their kind and warm spirit, their huge smiles and their unwaivering love of children.

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