My partner copes with a hearing loss. It’s been a creeping presence in our lives for some time, its insidious presence in our lives progressing steadily over many years.
Its an invisible condition, and while such privacy is welcome, it also means that he often has to put in real effort to communicate effectively. Hearing aids help, but they are not the complete answer. The science is improving, but they are essentially indiscriminate amplifiers.
So, there are times when a withdrawal from the visual /audible clutter and relentless busy-ness of cities was needed. A chance to recalibrate so to speak. The prospect of a retreat to quiet and stillness became more and more alluring as we continued to travel. Crowds were wearing us down.
Sometimes you need a break from the overstimulation..
So, it was a wonderful surprise to find the Reaching Out Tea House, in Hoi An, Vietnam. Staffed by hearing impaired folk, and run to assist people with disabilities, ordering is done by ticking your choices off on a paper menu. Tea is served with great ceremony, presented beautifully in handmade tea ware and we savoured it in the serenity of the garden courtyard.
Patrons are encouraged to respect the atmosphere, keeping conversation muted and refrain from speaking on the phone.
A truly enjoyable experience, and one where your holiday dollar enriches the community, it was absolutely therapeutic. We emerged, in much the same way (I imagine) as post-meditation… energised and invigorated.
Couldn’t we all do with a little more tranquility in our lives?
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