One of my most unforgettable tours is the tour with M. Michaelle Jean, Former Governor General of Canada and Secretary General of La Francophonie.
Being a Francophonie student, it’s really hard to believe that one day I would have the chance to go on a tour with one of the potential candidates to be the next Secretary General of La Francophonie (at this time, M. Michaelle was still a candidate). The thought alone got me so excited and anxious, since it’s a very special one and I haven’t been on tours for god knows how long.
I came 20 minutes early to meet Ms. Hai Anh, one of the staff from the Embassy of Canada, to discuss about the content of the tour and such. Although had been preparing over and over again for the tour, I couldn’t help but feel utterly worried when Ms. Hai Anh told me there were also some VIP from the Embassy of Canada that came along with M.Michaelle on this tour.
After about 30 minutes, finally the wait was over. And I was stunned right from the start of the tour! M.Michaelle has an amazing aura that attracted everyone’s attention right when she set foot in the Temple of Literature. I remembered introducing myself with the Secretary General in both English and French, and she seemed to be surprised to know that I’m a bilingual student, to the point she gave me a really tight hug and a put on a big smile: “Hi! My name is Michaelle! You know to speak French? Let’s speak French then!”. Her eyes twinkled when she said that and at that very moment I didn’t feel so anxious at all because she seemed so friendly and adorable and genuine, just like a friend of mine, really!
Due to M.Michaelle’s packed schedule, we were only able to visit the Temple of Literature. M.Michaelle and other staff in the crew were very interested in the history of the Temple of Literature and what it represents. On that day, the temple was filled with students from all over Hanoi coming to take graduation photos. M.Michaelle was impressed by the scene, saying it was the first time she has ever experienced this in all the countries she has visited. She even came to the students and asked for some photos! (while it’s supposed to be vice versa) And later, when knowing I was going to take my graduation photos, she asked me to send the photos to Ms. Hai Anh and Ms. Aysha, so that these 2 would send her and she could know. How nice of her!
M.Michaelle said she was impressed by the meaning of the symbol of two carps with one jar and the story about the steele garden. She told me that education is indeed important and encouraged me to learn more languages (she speaks 5), and even asked Ms. Hai Anh and Ms. Aysha to provide me information about the Embassy’s scholarship programs.
It’s an interesting coincidence that there were so many Canadians at the Temple that day. And everyone recognized Ms.Michaelle and came to talk to her and asked her for a photo, showing how much she was loved in her own country! One man got so excited he even dropped his phone on the ground haha.
The tour was super short, only 30 minutes, give or take a few minutes. On any other day, these 30 minutes would most likely go by in a blur, with hardly anthing special to do. Yet for me, on that day, in only 30 minutes, I was able to have a conversation with an amazing woman, share my views and opinions with her and get inspired so much by her. More than anything, I was able to show her the beauty of my country and its people, and a bit of Hanoi’s daily life. It’s definitely one of the most memorable 30 minutes of my life! Thank you so much, TOD, for giving me this once-in-a-life time experience.
P/s: At the end of the tour, I gave M.Michaelle a big hug and wished her good luck with the secretary general selection. My wish came true!
Photo credit goes to the Embassy of Canada.
Member in charge: Búp Xì
Written by Búp Xì