Rice and Zithers and Different Tones of “Ma”

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Oh my goodness, I’m quite sure attempting to learn Vietnamese might take a lifetime for me as the difference in words isn’t so much spelling, rather tone, creating multiple words out of the same spelling.  Take the word “ma” for example, with a high tone it means “mother”, a low tone creates “rice plant” and a flat toned “ma” refers to a ghost.

Okay, so after our short-lived attempts to learn a bit of Vietnamese, we moved on to zithers and all things musical.  YouTube had lots of fun Vietnamese songs on the zither.  Click here if you’d like to listen to some yourself.

Of course we can’t learn about Vietnam without discussing the role of rice, which is commonly served with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I love the “Ticket to….” series of books from different countries, particularly as my three are on the younger side, and this book has been a great help for us in learning about Vietnam.

A Ticket to Vietnam (Hardcover) ~ Karen O'Connor (Author) Cover Art

After learning about life in Vietnamese cities and countryside, rice and rivers, houses and hand-made items, cuisine and clothes we decided to attempt our own, super easy homemade Vietnamese clothing item.

Non Las

Hmm, well we came somewhat close to the actual sun-and-rain-protecting cone-shaped hats made of bamboo,  that people in Vietnam actually wear, and in just a few simple steps, too!

How to Make a Non-La

(if you want to try and think you might need some directions)

1. Fold a sheet of newspaper in half on the angle, forming a triangle

2. Fold again forming a smaller triangle and staple the open side shut, just along the edge, leaving about 3 inches at the bottom open.

3. Cut an arch shape at the bottom from the stapled side to the opposite edge. Voila!  Three Non las for my three sweeties.

Not quite as amazing as the ones in Vietnam.

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I think our next step could be some lacquerware-type designs.  And of course, we have lots still to do with rice.

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