Back in our quiet, sterile hotel room, we're feeling positively alone and bleak about the state of the world. As we're busy entertaining comforting fantasies of flying home to be with family, imagining ourselves knocking at our parents' doors, shouting "SURPRISE!!", we receive an unexpected treat.
An email pops up in my inbox—it's from our friend, Natasha, with whom we've been unsuccessfully trying to coordinate plans for New Year's. But this time, it's not about the logistics of meeting to ring in twenty eleven together; it's a single line message that makes my mouth widen and my eyes crinkle at the corners.
Decided to come to HCM tonight. How bout a xmas dinner?
Now, I'm grinning from ear to ear, and a wave of happiness rushes through me. Suddenly, the world isn't looking so grim and bleak. "TY-LERRRR!! Guess what!! Pete and Natasha are on their way to Ho Chi Minh City right now, and we're going to see them tonight!"
It'll be a Merry Christmas after all.
When our friends arrive at our hotel, we greet them with huge hugs. Together we walk to the pizza place, where, instead of the buffet, three out of four of us opt for a turkey dinner complete with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. Tyler, the odd man out, orders a huge pizza feast.
As we eat, we talk and laugh, getting caught up on the time since we've seen each other last. When we're stuffed and can't possibly eat another bite, we migrate to a rooftop bar and continue our conversation over beers, watching the lights of the city twinkle below.
As we walk home, parting ways with another round of hugs and Merry Christmases, I am thankful for how our evening turned out, and grateful for the happy surprise of comforting, familiar company when we needed it most.
Thank you so much for coming to visit us Pete & Natasha!