My Journey in Vietnam
In the spring of 2009, My husband and I traveled to Vietnam via Hong Kong, eventually landing in Ho Chi Minh City. The people who were to escort us to the school met us at the airport and we set off to the place where we were to lodge for the night.
I am always fascinated by traffic dynamics, and the traffic there was quite something to behold. It was close to quitting time, and chaos was all around us. In between the two sides of traffic were hundreds of small motorcycles, buzzing past the bigger vehicles like a hoard of flies.
Their riders were mostly younger people, some (including young women) dressed in business suits. Many bikes carried two people, and some even a third. As I observed them zooming artfully around and in between the cars and trucks, while also avoiding pedestrians at the side of the road.
I couldn't help but be impressed. In all of the many hours we spent on the road, not once did we see one vehicle bump into another. Apparently, the Vietnamese are all very good drivers―and they need to be, to survive the chaos!
Traveling to The School
The next day, we were to make our way to the school where we were to have our teaching adventure, so we awoke at 4:30 a.m. to prepare for our 5:30 a.m. departure. From our hotel, we were ushered onto a bus and offered a breakfast of French buns and beef, which we ate as we traveled through the tropical countryside, green with coconut trees.
We crossed many rivers along the way, all tributaries of the great Mekong River. Adjacent to the rivers, we saw many villages with wonderful food markets. We could always spot a butcher’s storefront by the carcasses hanging out in front.
In fact, there are all kinds of interesting sights along the roads. I noticed, for example, there were baby chickens in wire cages. Elsewhere, roosters or hens were kept in wicker cages on the ground. The cages get moved periodically so the fowls can peruse different soil under their feet for fresh delicacies.
Again, traffic was everywhere, and so was the accompanying noise. Whether large truck, medium-size bus, motorcycle, or bike, the drivers of all vehicles beep their horns to signify their intent to pass. The sound of these traffic trumpets was a constant part of the daily orchestra of life on the streets.
The people seemed extremely industrious, with many carrying incredible loads on the backs of their bikes and motorbikes. Yet, despite working so hard, they were always smiling.
From time to time, I noticed several beautiful homes built back some way from the highway. Sometimes these sat right next to corrugated tin shacks or rice paddies, and canals running beside the fields. I would soon learn that half of the population is middle class, 30% are poor and 20% are rich. Middle-class women believe that being white is essential to being beautiful.
We saw many girls walking to school in their national school uniforms, called co-dai. These consist of a tight, white upper bodice and a dress that is slit from the waist down with pants underneath. Although they look lovely and display sleek bodies wonderfully, these uniforms are very hot to wear. The boys wear dark pants and white shirts.
There were about ten of us on this outing. Pierre, the only male, sat up front in the bus where he had the best view in the house. I was delighted to discover that our companions on the trip, several young girls, liked to sing. That helped to pass the time.
Teaching In Vietnam
At last, we came to a halt at the edge of the Mekong River where we waited to drive onto a ferry that would take us across. This was a very busy crossing. We saw six large ferryboats continually traveling back and forth near each other. Eventually, our ferry arrived, and the crossing was fun. It seemed there were more motorbikes than people on the boat.
Our journey, expected to last four hours, ended up taking well over eight. At long last, we arrived at our destination: a small campus consisting of yellow stucco buildings. This was Tra Vinh University Campus 2 in Can Tho, Province, where we would be teaching English to university students. Our hosts showed us to our quarters: a little suite with a kitchen, bathroom, sitting area, and bedroom. It was now well past our bedtime, so we fell into bed, hungry for sleep.
Meanwhile, as teachers in Vietnam, we were given a lot of freedom in the classroom. I decided I would ask the students to write their life stories as if they were fairy tales. I encouraged them to see themselves as princes and princesses and their parents as kings and queens living in castles. Because they lived their lives at such a basic level, many did not access their imagination easily, so this was a challenge for them on many levels. Yet, they responded.
I divided the class of 40 into six groups and had them read their stories to one another. Then each group had to choose one story and turn it into a play they were to perform in front of the whole class. They made costumes and created scenery that they projected on the wall. Pierre recorded the plays on video, and they each got a copy. Afterward, they were excited and amazed to see what they had accomplished. They were very shy, which held them back at times, so they came away feeling very proud of themselves. That was wonderful to witness.
Anne de Nada
Love of Life
Life is a gift
Innocent and pure we arrive
If innocent and pure, happily we depart
Having joyfully accomplished our lessons.
From Birth to death
We are passing through
Only our bodies are mortal
We are eternal possessing the spark of Divinity
Man alone chooses separation
Fear shrinks, stifles, keeps us powerless
It feeds our habit of self abandonment
Not our true nature.
Heart space of purity, love and expansion
Connects us to the truth of life
To our guides, angels, archangels, masters
Willingly support us in our Earthly school.
Passing over requires complete surrender
Akin to falling asleep each night
We meet our deceased loved ones
Review unconditionally our life's lessons.
We learn it is in the doing
Not in possessions, but in giving
Not in the expectations that we grow
We choose our life, we choose our death.
To reach our spiritual state
Involves journeying deeply
Where energy meets matter
Where creation and wisdom exist.
Our body, like our car, is our vehicle,
It is our soul and spirit that lives forever
We reach our Creator
Through knowledge, patience and trust.
We are to emotionally absorb our lessons
So clarity exists on many dimensions
Be assured in passing over
We rest in peace and harmony.
Uniting with our departed loved ones.
Anne de Nada
Road to Truth
The road to truth is the only one-
Without it we are done.
Floundering on land like blubber,
Truth cuts through all dark places,
Igniting the nights with stars.
Of all the lies, exaggerated, white and silent
None have the power to ignite a flame.
Like the unveiling of the truth.
Lies and darkness are done
When truth and light are one.
Unto yourself first be true
You won’t mind being lost
Truth, patience and love are a blast
All strung together
Where heaven and Earth are one.
Anne de Nada
Nature Minuscule and Gigantic
Twisted, contorted roots
Strung across the foot path
Solidly spread and grounded
In between, fine, dried, soft pine needles.
Baby spruce trees spreading
Tall pine trees not so well.
Virginia Falls higher than Niagara.
Sun's magic spreading light,
Warmth and sparkles.
Lighting the fire in my heart
Oh butterfly, butterfly
How magnificent your home.
Above the rock escarpment
Lining the Nahanni gorge.
Smashing, thrashing, tumbling
Rumbling north to the Arctic.
Roaring, chaotic, hustling & bustling
Forming mist, flying high.
Beneath my feet a dragon flies
Flutters, sunning and resting on a leg.
A triangle rock, rising up from
The middle of the torrent.
Carved through eons by water power
Tunnelling, funnelling temple steps below.
All around, rushing, gushing topsy
Turvey water explosions.
Shouting out, sounding high and low
I am here, admire my magnificent force.
A mist above the falls captures
A mystical rainbow beauty.
Amongst the trees, colourful mushrooms
White, brown, orange and yellow.
Red cranberries, shining through
Pale, dark, lime green leaves.
Yellow buttercups open wide
Different textures, shapes and shadows.
For all our astonishments
These are my Heavenly Delights.
Anne de Nada
Two Faces of Eternity
Melting snow, shining crystal facets
Skree valleys, jagged rocks, triangle spires
Worn mounds just above the tree line.
Snow ledges, deep, shallow and rounded.
Undaunted mountains piercing the skyline
With peaks, crevices, rock folds and crags.
Your strength, boldness and intimate exposure
Speak to the majesty, purity and beauty.
In stillness, solidarity and surrender
You are my heart’s Guru at Truin.
Sitting at your feet, feeling ant-like,
My heart expands farther than the eye can see.
Humbleness arises, opening the door to oneness.
Beneath clumps of grass, the melting snow glistens
On the small wet mud face.
Here all is bathed in Sun’s warmth and light.
Buzzing flies whiz by, landing now and then.
Valleys roll sharply, one behind the other;
Birds chirp their morning song,
While the crows feed, squawk and soar below.
Here one is renewed and reborn;
All is forgotten and forgiven.
As the yellow butterflies flit by,
Rhododendrons stand out against the greens.
The cool invigorating mountain air
Slowly warms as the Sun climbs high.
Shadows grow, offering shelter from the heat.
One feels the energy of eternity,
Knowing it to be untrue.
In this Himalayan wonderland.
Here hearts and spirits soar,
As we see a lone tree in the distant snow.
Recognizing the truth, we are never alone;
All is connected in the cycle of birth and death.
Anne de Nada
A Different Reality
Within my body, aware of my feelings,
Reaching up for Spirit, on a boat to Elephanta Caves
Light, shinning, glimmering on top of the water
Not far from the gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel.
Oh how wonderful to be a bird caressing the sea carpet.
Flying through the skyscape with my Spirit
Enjoying Spirits power and freedom
Acknowledging the magnificence of the heavens
My heart cries out with the joy of expansion.
All my cells are one
Floating, gloating and moving through, space, peace and calm
Does life get any better?
I feel not, I think not.
Never before has my heart and soul rested
On Earth, while feeling the heavens,
Where sky and sea touch
Spirit gliding and sliding into that space
Of rhythm, pulsation and vibration.
I am one
I am nothing
But truly free
To love, feel, sing
Like a bird on its wing.
May I always live
Aligned with this place of union
Meeting, connecting and
Loving, all things as one.
The Gateway to India
Marked my passage,
Whereby I connected to Soul
Uniting Heaven and Earth momentarily.
Every cell, nadir, tissue and bone
Is my temporary home for this heavenly Spirit
And all those gone before me
To experience the magnificence of life’s gifts.
Life is what we create
We create what we feel
Moving towards love or fear
As we glide, and vibrate
Through our physical creations.
On this boat feeling safe, secure and knowing
The world is to be explored
Feeling my roots deep within
Penetrating, moving, falling, rising anywhere
Life’s eddies take me.
Knowing few have journeyed here
Committing to express this truth
Through my art, massaging, poetry and children’s books
Dancing off my hands.
Spinning an intricate web of purity, innocence, and joy.
Committed to releasing man’s toxic gases.
I willingly give of my heart and soul
To her warrior places.
My heart has found its true calling
I willingly offer myself
Working for heavenly peace.
The depth of my love is for your connection.
I hunger for it, not man’s connection.
Anne de Nada
Panorama views, snow capped peaks,
Snow trails snaking down between the pines.
Clouds crowning and surrounding Mountain spires.
Heaven resides within the Mountain air.
Sun’s rays peaking behind cumulus clouds.
Laughing as they move into clear blue sky.
Skiers flying by like angels on a devoted mission.
Some with new found wings.
Rocking and rolling as they go.
The experienced ones, all centered, riveted in their boots.
Reaching and jumping through the air.
Landing head over heels in love with each moment.
Skiing requires heavenly skills,
Physical balance, slow and fast motion,
Trust and courage that gravity will hold one on earth.
Beauty and inspiration in awe of Mother Nature’s free ride.
Absorbing heaven’s free spirit for heart’s expansion.
The power of one, the power of Mountains,
The power and joy of skiing is to know
All is one in the love of life.
Anne de Nada
Fire Harp | A Story of Pain Release Through Forgiveness
Three black witches stole a pure innocent baby from her family when she was only a few months old. The witches wanted to perform a ceremony. They were the kind of witches who crossed over to the evil side and wanted to destroy purity and innocence.
One black night they headed deep into the woods and started a fire. With only the trees and forest animals as their witness, they began to chant becoming wilder, crazier, and more abandoned as they progressed.
Eventually, they placed the baby in the circle centre and started injecting poison into the baby more and more vigorously. There was no one to rescue the baby girl. All the animals cried out in horror for her suffering. The trees projected as much love energy as they could. The witches originally planned to kill the baby, but they lost their nerve, and instead, they ran away like cowards.
The little one was so close to death. The only thing that kept her alive was the animals surrounding her and comforting her. The next day, the animals directed a lonely woodsman to the tragic corner to a scene he could not believe. He quickly swept up the baby and raced her home to his wife. They were childless and had always longed for children. They raised the little one and never shared with her the secret of her beginnings.
She grew up to become a successful businesswoman, who could not really accept love or self-appreciation. Inside of her, there was always something missing. Instead, there was this dark space. It was as if she belonged to another planet. She could not relax, nor had an energy reserve tank.
One day, while doing energy healing work with herself, she felt the horrible throbbing pain inside her head. It was as if 6 witches had three poison arrows each, that were constantly been pounded into her head just as chaotic and rapid as if darts were thrown piercing her very core.
Her pain was so intense, she called upon her friends to come to her aid. She first asked the black crow to make himself small and dive inside her and pull out any black poisonous energy that was not of her true nature. The crow was to wrap the dark energy with a fine mesh and toss it to a white stalk that would fly it over the centre of the nearest and deepest lake and drop it.
The crow called upon his friends who had to help as the attacks of poisonous substance were continuing to throb in her head and it was impossible to bear. Blackbirds came to the rescue. At times, there were up to 6 teams of birds on either side of her head diving in being replaced and flying off to recuperate.
The birds worked hard discovering all the deep and fine roots and then pulling them out and wrapping them in fine mesh and tossing them to the stalks for final delivery. Stalks flew high above the lakes and sometimes they saw beautiful white swans standing by paying homage to the work they were doing.
The crows and blackbirds did not give up. The depth of the poison was so deep the adult woman had to call upon the bats to come to her rescue because they could feel the vibration of energy and they were more than happy to assist. Unfortunately, nothing was sufficient.
The woman felt there was something outside of her that was feeding this dark energy in, as fast as it was being removed. She decided to place her life in the hands of the crocodiles and ask them to surround her as she floated on top of the water. She wanted them to use their teeth and jaws to cut through any dark, black poisonous energy and protect her completely.
At the same time, the crows, blackbirds, stalks, swans all continued to do their work. She knew that only black animals understood the power of blackness as at times it resonated with evil. They all chose the colour black and treasured it because inside, they held pure white souls. She called upon all black creatures, the jaguar, and the bear even the skunk to come to her aid.
Unfortunately, her strength was fading fast. The woman began to realize just how much poison, demonic evil energy had been changed into her as a baby. No one had ever explained why she felt angry or felt like she was always attacked or felt like attacking.
It was all becoming so clear. She needed desperate measures, so she decided to ask for forgiveness, but it did not work. It was conditional. “Stop the pain, and I will forgive all.” When she realized that she then tried forgiveness from the bottom of her heart and even that didn’t stop the pain.
She finally had no other choice but to totally surrender to her soul and she was prepared to die with her baby if there was no other way. She told her soul if it wanted her to become a light worker it was necessary to assist or to send her guidance because the pain was too much.
Before she totally gave up, she called her best friend and told her how she felt. How none of this was explained as a baby and she was able to forgive herself for her injustices in this world.
Her friend was kind, understanding, and would do anything to help. The thing she needed most was for someone who likes her friend who also had been to this dark place or almost there, to sit and hold her pain with her until it was completely removed.
Together their two flaming hearts were able to release the final black poisonous energy and, in a flash, the universal energy of love and light entered their hearts, expanding their bodies, their life force, returning their creative juices, and teaching them how to maintain and understand the power of good over evil.
Anne de Nada
My Trip To Nepal | A Story of Making The Best Out of Any Situation
Things don’t always go as planned, that’s for sure. My three-week trip to Nepal is an example of how quickly things can drastically change. It’s one of many life lessons to learn how to make the best out of your situation.
We were making our way toTibet when a series of disasters occurred. While we got stranded for a while, we all tried to make the best of things. Plus, we met a lot of interesting people along the way. Keep reading to learn all about my adventure in Nepal.
I was two-thirds of the way through our trip by the time we reached the Tibet/China border. My group was about to cross the Friendship bridge with visas in hand, when the ground started trembling under our feet.
We were experiencing a 7.9-scale Earthquake. The porters started running, and we quickly followed while watching the big boulders rolling down the mountain landing on buses, cars, and killing people. In this little village, there were about 147 people who died that day.
We only had mere minutes to go through our luggage, to take what necessities we could think of, and walk a couple of kilometres up the road to a high, flat area. To get to safety, we had to pass buildings that were now rubble, wires that were strung across the street, and boulders everywhere.
Safe, But Stranded
When we finally found flat ground, there were not many people. I arrived with a backpack and a strong stick I found along the way.
There was nothing on the mountain when we arrived other than terraced land and a very steep rock stairway up to the house to the side of the mountain. That first night was a challenge, to say the least.
We were stranded in unfamiliar surroundings in a terrible situation. We had cell-phone service to call for aid, the first day only, but we had no shelter, food, nor could we drink the local water.
The Second Earthquake
On the second day, we were shaken again by a second earthquake 7.5-scale. We were in a refugee camp that eventually totalled around 6,000 people that had lost their homes during the earthquakes.
There were around 20 international tourists in my group. Three from Russia, two from Belgium, one from Switzerland, and our group of ten Americans and five Canadians.
What’s Going On?
In the first refugee camp, where we spent 5 days, many small helicopters arrived and left with the people in medical needs. It was becoming very frustrating because no one was giving us any information.
We eventually found out that the priority consisted of the injured or sick followed by the ammunition, which was hidden in the mountains. Why? I expect it was hidden for security, and needed to be moved for fear of exploding in the Earthquake.
There were reporters from India and England who obtained information from us and some local people. We later heard that the Nepal government asked the Indian reporters to leave the country, for over dramatizing their story. The Chinese and Tibetan armies are well-known for trying to keep a tight seal on their affairs, especially disasters.
Experiencing The Refugee Camps
On our fifth day eventually, 8 of us were taken by three helicopters on a 20-minute ride along a steep river gorge about 100ft deep. Here we were to wait for a bigger helicopter to take us back to Kathmandu.
When we arrived at the second refugee camp, we were given a small glass of hot tea, the first touch of warmth in five days. The man who offered it to us was called Pasang, who took care of us while we were in his village.
I went for a walk around the village and found a school yard. The highlight of my Earthquake adventure was this little village and the children within it.
Most of them were shy and the average age was about 6-8. We started dancing and they joined in, unfortunately, the boys stayed to themselves initially.
Having My Own Fun
I was very frustrated with all the garbage that had been strewn around. So, with my big stick, I started putting the plastic wrappers in a pile, as well as bottles and cans. To make it seem fun, I started playing games like football with the big empty bottles or golf aiming towards the big trash pile.
I was hoping that if the kids saw me having fun, they might join in. I hoped for the boys to get involved. So, we marked a goalie area, and they bounced a large plastic bottle off their legs and went to play. They had fun.
On the second day at the second camp, I spent some time with the girls in the morning, combing and plaiting their hair. I figured there were about 60 children and only one comb for all of them. So many of them had lice or ticks, but from my experience in animal grooming, it was no issue to me.
A Bright Moment During A Gloomy Day
Eventually, it started to rain and Pasang, who wished to help us, came and told some of us to follow him. He directed us into an empty tent, with one person resting in there. Doug, our teacher, came and started drawing. Ted, a student, was lying down, resting as well.
In came the children. While out in the yard, the children were singing and they sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in English. It was delightful, so I encouraged them to sing inside our tent.
Then, came a six-year-old girl who sang that and a few Nepalese songs. The children decided more support was needed, and a little boy about 6 arrived. The two sang a duet beautifully. All of the children were happy singing and having a great time. I loved it.
I then returned to the adult area a little sad because being with the children was great as they did not allow their happy bubble to burst.
Leaving The Camp
After spending a night in the small village, we were told we had to walk out. We had a very steep and long climb down a narrow path. We came to a crossing where everyone had to stop. This was because the path went over a steep creek that was covered in barb wire.
We went down, through narrow paths and obstacles, until we came to an incredibly challenging switch back in the journey. This one had a lot of unstable rubble. In fact, it was almost impossible to find a solid footing. The rock was like crumbled-looking cement pieces. That was our last big challenge until our final steep descent onto a road.
An American-Nepalese man named Tsansin hired the last jeep in the village. We had our luggage on top and 11 of us drove off. It was hot and we were crushed next to each other. It was about 75 kilometres to Katmandu, and we saw how the road was barely passable because the rubble had to be pushed alongside the mountain or over the edge.
Traveling Through The Villages
The road was narrow, one car width in places. Small villages existed along this narrow road where the mountain terrace was wider. On our left, the road dropped off down into a steep river gorge.
Some houses on our right were rubble. The ones that stood were the more expensive ones. We manoeuvered around big potholes and fissures. Looking at destruction along the way. At times when we were on the road passing villages, it was like a beautiful Sunday drive, as the sun was out and the scenery was magnificent.
On our left across the river were steep mountains, this narrow river wound its way through the high Himalayan mountains. Driving towards Katmandu we saw on our right that the tallest statue in the world, the one of Shiva was still standing.
Our Destination, At Last
We eventually road into Katmandu, after having a tire changed, past the cultivated terraced, lush gardens. As we came closer we saw more destruction and tent cities which the army had erected and many walls that had been toppled.
We were happy to arrive at our hotel that was fortunately untouched and the other members of our group waiting at the entrance to welcome us.
Anne de Nada
Incalculable power intoxicating Nature
As tiny miniscule light balls of energy
It never ceases, it never slacks
Infused, absorbed, immersed
Upon extended branches, leaves of
Autumn reds, orange, plum and yellow.
Sunlight spread in gullies
Over crest, floats on ponds
Glistens on dew drops
Working its magic
Weaving the forest floor.
Dawning of light
Its silence rests, in ravines,
Over rocks, lakes, marsh land, and ponds
Northern forest, silent in prayer
Bowed in awe, bathed in light.
The life force, of sunlight
Seen everywhere, stimulating growth
In trees, leaves, shoots, & flowers
Invigorating, energizing ferns, grasses, & moss
Other latitudes, it blinds, dazzles
Burns, scorches and destroys
Plains, grasses, flora and scrubs.
The dimming of light, turns
Day into night
Twilight reveals the struggle
Between, lightness and darkness at dusk
The golden, reds, yellows, oranges & pinks
Of sunsets, do not distinguish,
Discriminate, label or identify
As they alight, from one surface to another.
Sunlight is like a spider
Weaving her web
Where ever there is space
Filtrating, cracks, curbs & crevices
Cradling the void, as she spreads her mist.
The unenlightened in Nature
Where darkness lies, in the shadow of death
Knowingly wait their turn
For time and patience to bring
To LIFE: the power and wisdom of light.
Anne de Nada