Thursday, 28 March 2019

Conversation _ loop _ mother

 Conversation _ loop _ mother _ there's joy in repetition _ Vietnam

Mother: (looking around the streets of Saigon) "It's amazing how things have changed. It's much bigger now"
Me: "Yes, changes are noticeable by the year in Saigon"
Mother: "Saigon?"
Me: "Yes, we are, you are in Saigon!"
Mother: "C'est pas possible! (That's impossible) When? But it doesn't look at all like Saigon..."
Me: "You arrived this morning. We are in Vietnam. Look! Chợ Bến Thành is over there (Ben Thanh market, a very famous spot)."
Mother: "... I don't recognise anything..."
Me: "See all the people, the signs and boards in Vietnamese"
Mother: "Ah.... I thought we were..."
Father: "... in Paris Chinatown!"
Mother: "Exactly!"
Me: (Thanks for your help, dad...)
Mother: "It has changed so much since the last time I was there, not long ago"
Me: "Your last time you were in Vietnam was nearly 20 years ago..."
Mother: "No... it was just a few years. Ask your dad"
Father: "The year 2000. 19 years ago"
Mother: "Oh... (looks at a woman with a cone hat). The Vietnamese community has really grown! They're everywhere now! Even the signs are in Vietnamese!"
Me: "Because we are in Saigon..."
Mother: "What? C'est pas possible!!! I don't believe you... Ask your dad!"
Father: "Saigon, Vietnam. Arrived this morning!"
Mother: "Really? C'est pas possible! I don't remember anything!
Me: "Ah... is that so...."


Mother: (contemplating the garden of my grandfather's house) "This garden is so lovely. All these flowers... so peaceful."
Me: "Yes, I love this house"
Mother: "It's nice to have our own house with a big garden. I remember when your dad was in Vietnam and I started looking for a new house..."
Me: "It's grandfather's house, in Huê, mom"
Mother:  "Grandfather? Huê? C'est pas possible!"
Me: "Look at the house. Look at the furniture..."
Mother: "Oh... yes... Oh... yes. I remember... I love dad's house... and to go to the house you have to climb up the hill and pass a pagoda."
Me: "It's all flat around here. You're describing the way to your dad's house in Nam Giao (her childhood home)
Mother: "It's (my) father's house! Look!"
Me: "It's dad's father's house in Huê..."
Mother: "Huê? But it looks nothing like Huê!!!"
Me: "Look behind, it's grandfather's altar. And here, his furniture. And there is dad's room, when he was young"
Mother: (looking around, eyes drifting)We're in Huê... C'est pas possible! I don't remember anything..."
Me: "(ah...)"


(In a car, on our way to the family tombs)

Mother: "It's amazing how things have changed around here.."
Me: "Huê has not changed as much as Saigon."
Mother: "We can't be in Huê!"
Me: "Look at that sign board. It has Huê written all over it. And here's the Perfume River. "
Mother: "Chinatown has changed so much..."
Me: "This is Huê, mother. We are on a trip in Vietnam. We are spending one week in Huê and we are on our way to see our ancestors' tombs"
Mother: "We're in Vietnam??? Don't lie to me! When? How? C'est pas possible!
Me: "This is your school... look!"
Mother: "Oh yes. And if you go further, there's a street that goes up to our house in Nam Giao."
Me: (relieved) "Exactly! Aren't you glad to be back in Huê?"
Mother: "We're in Huê????? C'EST PAS POSSIBLE!"

I talked my mother on the phone two days ago. She seems to have got back to her routine in her house in Paris. Conversation was our usual conversation (how's work / where are you? / what film I'm working on / she wants to have a copy of it etc...) My father said that she was asking what the luggage in the entrance were for.

She doesn't remember our trip in Vietnam at all.

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