While on the island of Phu Quoc, Vietnam I was invited to dinner with a local family. I had met their son while ordering a banana smoothie at the hotel poolside bar. He’s a bartender aspiring to own his own bar someday. He invited myself and the hotel musician, a singer named Gary from Singapore, to join him after he finished closing the bar.

Vien took me to his home and we drank wine as he roasted fish and squid on the campfire on the beach. Gary and I discussed religion, philosophy, and life. After our discussion, a guitar was taken out for a time of singing to the sound of the ocean waves as we sat under the stars.

I fell asleep under those stars. Right there on the beach. The sand was cool and the ocean breeze soft. After an hour they woke me and brought me inside. They had a bed prepared for me.

In the morning I was invited to return. The Nguyen family told me I was welcome to stay every night instead of sleeping in a hotel or hostel.

Every day it was the same, I’d meet Vien at the hotel bar and we’d ride his scooter to their home. We’d eat dinner and I’d play with Vien’s niece. I’d fall asleep and then we’d eat breakfast as a family. Vien and I would drink coffee and his parents would leave for work. I’d return home and his sister, Tramanh, would already be preparing lunch for the family. In the afternoon Vien and Tramanh leave for work at the hotel and I’d fall asleep in a hammock in the living room or play with Tramanh’s daughter.

She doesn’t speak English. No one in the family speaks English except Vien. But we could still communicate by pointing, smiling, and laughing. When necessary, Viens father and sister and I would use translation software on our phones to ask each other questions.

Today we parted ways as my visa in Vietnam ends tomorrow. It was a sad parting, but I intend to return to see them again.

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