A nice weekend with grandma in the countryside
My name is Hoang – an 8 years old boy. I live with my parents and my little sister in the center of Da Nang city in Viet Nam, where I study at a wonderful nearby school called UK Academy.
Last weekend I went back the countryside, visiting my grandpa and grandma. They live in Hoa Tien, a village 15 km from the city center. They have been living there 70 years and that is the place where my dad spent his childhood.
My grandparents’ house has 3 bedrooms and a living room, it also has a shed at the corner of the big garden to keep tools for farming. The garden has different vegetables and fruits. We can pick tomatoe, lettuce, cucumber, onion and some hot chili. I like playing around the garden, chasing dragonflies while my sister just wants to capture butterfly. “It’s girl game,” I told her.
I like my grandparents but I don’t like spending time with them – it is boring for they don’t run and play with me. Last weekend, I asked them to play with me, but they all said No. First, I asked grandpa to play football but he said, “No, I’am too old to run.” Then, I asked him to play cards. He said, “No, my eyes are two weak to see.” Finally, I asked him to play video games, but he also said, “No, my hands are shaking.” It is true, his hands are shaking occasionally. My dad explained that is a disease called Parkinson, makes people body parts shake constantly or occassionally. What’s a strange disease! I thought.
Never mind, my grandpa is boring. He just sat on his rocking chair and looked at the paddy field right in front of his house, sometimes he looked at the sky. He rarely speaks. My dad said that’s his style.
Since my grandpa couldn’t become my playmate, I shifted my attention to grandma who was siting on a nearby wooden bed. I wishpered in her ears that I would like to go to the paddy field and play kite. She said, “No, I had had enough with the paddy field. I had spent all my adult life there. Now, I am tired and just want to rest.” I tried to brainstom ideas for games that grandma can join, but I was out of ideas. Seeing me a little down, my mom suggested that I should ask grandma to cook spicy food which is her favorite. That’s what I did, I told her that I loved spicy foods and wanted to learn how to prepare, cook and savor them. I could not believe my eyes seeing a smile on her face, she stood up and said, “Let’s start!”
She explained that to cook a good dish, we must be careful at every step from choosing raw gradients to display food on the table, and how to eat them. It is the art and science combined. We left the living room and went to the kitchen, took out a bucket and strolled to the garden behind the kitchen. Grandma picked some vegetables, potatoes and chili. Then we cleaned them, cut them, mixed them with other ingradients found in her fridge. To be honest, it is not easy to follow my grandma instruction. Her hands are quicker than her words, I fell behind and struggled to grasp the cuisine terms. I understood at that moment that my grandma only joy is life besides her family is cooking. She loves it more than watching TV or travelling.
The dish she prepared for us was “Rau xao ot” which kind of mixture of vegetables with chili. She said the hard part is that you cook all the vegetable but not a single one of them overcooked. All must be just right. You must control the flame, the time and how to mix them on the cooking pan. The order that each one is added to the mixture is critical too. “You must be a scientist to cook well,” she said. It is hard to imagine an old lady in the countryside think like that about cooking. I must be very lucky having a wonderful grandma like her. I told her, “Grandma, you’re amazing. Next time, when I come back here, I want to cook with you again.” She chuckled with satisfaction.