Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lili and Ha

Yesterday I had a "me" day. I managed to get to the hairdresser for a much needed haircut. I'm back to an "80's" shag cut. Maybe I should say I had it layer cut all over. I think it's the same thing; saying shag cut just makes it sound dated. Changing what we call it doesn't change the outcome. I watch as one term has to be deleted because it now has negative conatones; it suddenly becomes politically incorrect to use the term any longer. The tag is changed and within 20 years that tag has to be changed once again because of the negative tones associated with it. We give it a fresh name and it is supposed to shed it's past dirogatory references. I don't know if this is successful but it's done anyway.

Back to the "me" day. After the haircut I headed to the salon to get a pedicure. I've been having my manicure and pedicures at the same place for 10years now. Lili and her husband manage this place. I'm sure you've noticed the nail techs in these places and usually you've noted they are of Asian descent. Well, Lili and Ha are from Viet Nam. We see them sitting at their little tables holding the clients hands while they clean, file and polish our nails. Their English is broken; their smiles are timid. They drop their heads and smile when talking to you. I think they are embarrassed because of their broken English.

I've been around through all three of Lili's pregnancy. In her broken English I decipher what she is trying to tell me and sometimes she has to repeat herself many times before I figure out what she is saying.

Lili came to the USA when Saigon fell and she left with her father who was a Major in the South Vietnam army and was an ally to the American Army. He had to leave and take his family to keep from being murdered by the North Vietnam Government when they reentered and took over South Vietnam again. She met and married another Viet Namese here in the States and both went to school to learn to be nail techs.

Ha is a thirty-something female that speaks better English although she sometimes searches for the correct word to use when we are in conversation. Usually she knows the word but has to repeat it a few times to get the pronounciation correct. I so enjoy my visits with these young women and I'm always in converstation with them. We laugh and giggle about anything and everything.

In depth, Ha is an extremly educated lady. She would finish a degree in a college in Viet Nam and re enter once again for more schooling. She is fluent in Russian, is a registered tour guide in Viet Nam hence her desire to learn the Russian langauge. She has a 14yr old daughter that lives with her parents in the country home in Viet Nam. Ha only works for 6 months, then she leaves to live in her homeland for the remainder of the year with her family. Her boyfriend is a shrimper or a "fisher men" as she calls him and he works for 6 months and also returns to Viet Nam for the other 6 months of the year. They will both retire in their home country. Ha glows when she speaks of her home land; she loves it.

Both Ha and Lili want me to save my money and go home with them for a vacation. I'm assured I can stay in the country house and they will escort me around. I laughingly tease them about getting me there and dumping me to flounder around on my own.

They laugh, giggle and promise me that wouldn't happen.

I got my pedicure, collected my hugs from these ladies and I was on my way to enjoy my highly polished nails and my new haircut.

I needed a break; a diversion from all the hospital drama of late. What better way to enjoy a few hours then with these delightful young brave women who left their homeland with their limited language knowledge and are able to a support themselves, save money and are not a drain on the welfare rolls of the United States unlike some of our own born and raised here  and living off the system.
I'm proud to know you and be your friend!


  1. Sounds like a great day. Most nail techs around here are also Asian, love them, they're so industrious and so cheerful in their industry. Most of North America could take a lesson in work ethics from these folks.

  2. Oh, and 'shag' is way better than 'layered', especially if you're a brit national!


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