As the lunar new year approaches, other countries in Asia will usher in the Year of the Rabbit, but Vietnam does things a little different. Felines are more in style, I guess, as the Year of the Cat is upon us. The lunar new year, otherwise known as Tet, has been on my mind a lot this week. Ever since we moved here, I've heard other foreigners recommend that we leave HCMC for the holiday, as "the city shuts down!" - whatever that means, exactly. Lately, I've been hearing more about how all the beach and mountain resorts here are booked up already and stories of families who decided to stay in the city running out of food! I'm not sure if we're going to be able to go anywhere, so I feel that I should start nuturing my hoarding instincts (Side-note: I knew that there were some benefits to buying the shelf-stable milk here!).
The other thing about Tet is that theft also ramps up in the weeks before the holiday. A friend explained to me that the locals who have come into Saigon from the country to work are under a lot of pressure to bring expensive gifts back to their families, so muggings have been on the upswing, as well as reports of home-invasions. We don't live in particularly nice neighbourhood, so we've upgraded the lighting in our yard such that it's now bright enough to play baseball at midnight (not that our yard is bigger than a postage stamp) in the hopes that no one is going to come after our laptop computer and iPods at night. I think that the night that I discover someone with a flashlight rummaging through my kids' bedrooms will be the swan song for Saigon for me - could you even imagine how freaky that would be?
On a lighter note, today Sadie and I happily skipped Gymboree - we're never going back, thank you very much. We've found a lovely regular toddler playgroup for Wednesdays that actually encourages them to be individuals. And my little individual seems to have made a New Years resolution to mature some - communicating with actual words, sitting to play quietly with lacing beads, cutting food, looking at books, doing "crafts" - it's so not like her, but it's a lovely change for sure.