Flew into Hoi An, not knowing what awaited.

The weather greets us, hot and humid, but we seem to have left the rains behinds us. Soaking Saigon. Our small villa is tucked behind a miniature road, a fragrant lush oasis sits inside the gate. Lily pad ponds, glistening gardens embracing a pool.

Lucky days.

We rent a motorbike and scoot towards town, knowing little else than the guidebooks’s description of a lovely old port filled with history and style.

Not to be missed.

We head down the road, crossing bridges and cruising alongside the riverbed. Hoi An suddenly appears, graceful and full of charm.

The streets turn into dazzling displays of art and magic. Rows of silk lanterns dangle in the skies, glowing like Christmas tree lights. Tailor houses hum away, seamstresses snipping fabrics and measuring clients of all shapes and sizes, waiting anxiously for their custom creations.

Again, another mural of beautiful people with wrinkly faces lifting heavy loads, tottering about in pajamas. Cute as buttons, strong as soldiers.

Markets and textiles. Old men perched by the riverside accompanied by small pooches or peering out curiously from their shops. River canoes captained by little old ladies with magic, toothless smiles.

Candles floating on the river, soft light cradled in blackened waters.

Serene. Hopeful. Powerful.

I send off 4 candles, vessels of my heart. One for this present moment. Such gratitude for my current happiness and fortune. Two for Pa’s health. Three for Mel’s health. And four for our marriage and future family. Bless it and keep it.

I watch the candles float off and feel strengthened by the simplicity of this gesture. The warm flames and the cool water, merging together. Harmony and beauty.

Hoi An has made me grateful again. Funny how places have their own spirit, similar to people. They can fill you and nourish you, even when you least expect it.