A 7-day journey to experience life: the trip of youth
Youthhood can have many trips to go, but there are always some that are especially memorable. For me, the last trip of 2017 left the most unforgettable impression of the year. The end of the year was the beginning of our 7-day journey to Tra Que Vegetable Village - Hoi An.
We, young people with the rare opportunity to know each other, have been travelling by cars to all the rivers and mountains to admire them and immerse ourselves. From the new, unfamiliar strangers, we, after a day of attachment, became bonded as if we have known each other for a long time.
On the last night of the year, we welcomed New Year's Eve, watched the fireworks, and counted down the New Year's moments and wished each other a happy new year.
The second day of the trip, also the first day of 2018, we moved to the final destination of the journey, Tra Que Vegetable Village. I felt nervous and little concerned at that time. Because this was the first time my friends and I asked for permission from the households in this place to "stay" for the next 7 days.
Accompanying us was the village chief who helped us find our home. After more than 3 hours, all were "saved". The first day with the native family, it was certain that everyone would be surprised and cautious, but only after the first meal with the "godfather", we could confirm that the family was very easy-going, loving, super kind and super friendly.
After a day of getting used to new life and jobs, we embarked on the main task: to experience the life of growing vegetables. In the early morning, the homeowners had to bring vegetables to sell at supermarkets and markets but we with little experience stayed at home, assigning each other to clean the house and cook the meals. After that, our vegetable planting afternoon arrived. Due to the weather, most of the people here choose to go to the garden in the evening. Starting with planting vegetables clumsily, slowly, and after a "training" we were able to accelerate the process of planting vegetables, sowing, weeding, picking vegetables, packaging,…
There are things that have to be done to see the joy and the meaning they bring. The smiles, the encouragement from the natives gave us even more motivation for the coming days.
Only here can we see the friendliness and hospitality of Hoi An people in general and Tra Que Vegetable Village in particular. Eating together, sleeping, working together, working in the field, living with the native family who grow vegetables here, we gradually realized more of the hardship as well as the process of putting a bunch of vegetables from the sowing stage to harvest and delivering them to the supermarket.
And just like that, cleaning and cooking in the morning, gardening in the afternoon, reunion in the evening. In addition, we spent free time in the mornings to clean the streets around the village. After a morning of community activities, many of the houses in the village became more beautiful after having been cleaned of rubbish and weeds. Many of the roads in the village were clean and much different from the dusty and muddy appearance due to the rains over the past few days.
Returning to the native family, we felt truly lucky and happy to be treated like a grandchild in the house by them. Each meal was a joy, a new dish that was introduced by them. Today's dinner was complete with a fragrant smell of Hoi An chicken rice, which made other families also come for the fun. Ingredients for the meals are completely self-sufficient. From domesticated chickens to bundles of vegetables, from cilantro to bundles of fresh vegetables, along with the guidance of the homeowners, everything formed together a colorful and flavorful meal.
The next day, the cleaning and sanitation work continued. Some used shovels to scoop up weeds, some used machetes, others pushed a turtle cart to gather the weeds to the gathering spot. Each one has a job, works smoothly. Two hours passed, the brick road crossing the vegetable garden was basically cleared and much more neat. Everyone was tired, but the words of encouragement and gratitude of the farmers were all heartwarming.
After the afternoon break, everyone in the afternoon began the journey to discover Hoi An ancient town. The bikes were fully prepared, ready to take us on the road from the vegetable village to the old town. I have been to Hoi An before, but by motorbike, this bike ride brought a new and exciting experience. Our group enjoyed the specialties of Hoi An, went shopping together, and visited the monuments that make up the characteristics of this ancient land.
Although we do not want to leave this peaceful land, having a nostalgia for the place, we still have to return to the hustle and bustle of daily life in the city.
Every party has its own end, every trip has an end date. Before saying goodbye to this place, we had a gratitude party, as well as having fun with the natives, eating dinner together with the flickering candlelight at the cultural house. Here, we said all the words we wanted to give to our hosts, who kindly gave us food, peaceful sleep during the past few days, and gifted them a bouquet of flowers to show our sincere appreciation.
Ending the trip brought us many happy and sad memories and all that remained in each person was tolerance, love and mutual understanding. That was the first homestay in my life, the hosts were like my parents, loving and caring, while the neighbors were like siblings in the family.
In this village of Tra Que, I had another family, where later, though tired, difficult, I will still find peace in the place.