I would like to introduce you to Tu. (actually I’m trying to learn more about how to BLOG…intimidating for a kinda computer illiterate guy like me…I’m trying though!) But back to Tu.

This is Tu…pronounced like “Two” but your voice should rise as you speak. Almost like your voice is questioning…Tu? Imagine you’re asking, “Is your name Tu?” That should do it.  He answers to any way that his name is pronounced though.  He’s heard all kinds from NonVietnamese who can’t usually get their tongues and voices around this tonal language!

I’ve explained that the etymology of HarmonyHomeLife begins with the meaning of my name.  Allan.  It means something close to “harmony”.

Tu’s full name is Nguyen Ngoc Tu.  All Vietnamese names are: family name first, middle name second and given name last. The opposite of the way we Westerners arrange our names.  And they use the given name to address each other always…and with their “title”.  So Tu is never called just “Tu”, but always “Mr. Tu”.   Got it?  Not really?  Don’t worry.  It’s a common Asian name structure and it’s “normal” when you’re here!

The “Ngoc Tu” part of Tu’s name means pretty close to “Bright Star”.  Gotta like it.  It’s just like him too.  Wish we could all be more like our names.  Cuz they’re usually  a lot on the positive side of “whatsoever things are good…etc. etc.”

We’ve been around each other most of the time now for 5 years.  You really get to know someone well by then!  Mostly it’s good.  Not all mind you.  Ha.  (I mean who am I to suggest someone’s not perfect…sure know I don’t fit the bill of perfection).

Anyway.  Without Tu I would never have been able to discover as much as I have about Vietnam.  Or go places and understand a lot that most foreigners cannot experience.  And share some quite awesome life experiences.  Through some good times and bad times we’ve hung together…

A few tours of Vietnam’s charms.  A couple of forays to some other Asean countries.

Countless dining and social and cultural experiences.

A restaurant ownership that almost killed us!  Well not literally.  It did have it good points, but finally it was a relief to put it all on the shoulders of another entrepreneur who was welcome to the headaches…and heartaches.  But it wasn’t all bad though.  Tu learned to be a pretty cool Restaurant Manager and I was Mr. Hospitality for lots of expats here!

And there was the house building experience.  Not many Vietnamese get to build their own homes.  But Tu got lucky.  2011 was his year. The old house came down and the new one went up.

I got to be a big part of that process.  Fun.  Some huge “debates” between Tu and me during it all.  But in the end…a very cool house.  A real HOME.

More about HOME in several places on HarmonyHomeLife blog.


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