1,2,3, I can’t count your laughter.

It was a sunny Friday, and I bet you can’t have found anything more beautiful than that. I bet.

It was the second time I volunteered in the Child Development Center. I never question the name, though I think I should, because it is no more than a place where certified grown-ups take care of the children while the children’s parents go to work, which makes “Kindergarten” a perfectly suitable name for the building. But all the small things make a huge difference, and significant differences are created by silent things.

I have seen, been in touch, played, talked to many 4 to 5-year-old Vietnamese Children, I have visited many Kindergarten, and the experiences with the kid always remind me of my past childhood. Nevertheless, nowhere was quite like the Child Development Center. I was amazed, worried and amused when I saw kids holding hands with their “buddies,” in a row silently following their teachers, trying their best to put on their jackets and shocks themselves, calmly heading to the playground as their faces lightened up with excitement. Can you believe that? One and another, each of them brought me from this surprise to another surprise, endlessly; the more time I spent with them, the more I felt like I could be one of them – to be a child again, without much to think about.

And the boy laid down on the grass, his eyes gazed at the blue sky. Free, and undisturbed.

With two racks, girls picking up a small mountain of fallen leaves on the ground. Yellow, Orange, Red, Light. They combined, and they mingled, and they shone like nothing else. I would never forget a single detail about the children. Brown, Purple, Green, Ground. I was happier than with anybody else. Blue, Tan, White, Sky. I was counting the rainbow in their eyes and hearing millions of bells ringing through their laughter.

And then my little Batman told me that I am wearing his favourite colour. Something changed when he said that. I remembered him having been distant to me, and when I asked if he missed me, he insisted on not knowing who I was. I told him if he still kept the Hulk mask I made with him last Friday, and he said it was too tight to wear. I managed to stop before actually asking him: “Did you throw it away?”. But here he was, saying that I am wearing his favourite colour. Not “What a cute jacket!”, neither it was “It looks good on you”, but still, how remarkable it was, the exclamation.

When I was there swinging the children around in my hands, letting them put me in their “Baby’s jail,” pretending like I was a bad guy trying to catch those stealing my cage’s keys, for a moment, I thought to myself: You are a real bad girl, Linh.

A selfish girl.

A girl was so lonely that she started to seek the warmth and serenity in the innocent children. A girl wishing she could have had more when she was still a kid. A girl kept telling the child that she adored their pink jacket, their rosy bow because those make them look like princesses, just because no one ever said to her that way. A girl still remembered when she had her very first doll. A girl kept looking for the most silent boy in the class to make sure he had found his jacket and put it on before going outside.

Put on your jacket, find your friends, drink water, eat your healthy snack, go to sleep, wash your hands,… Studying abroad have taught me one thing, and that thing is to love myself. First and foremost.

 

Today is a sunny Sunday, and it is so beautiful that I bet you cannot find anything more beautiful than that.

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