“It was a serendipitous encounter with Anna in Hoi An.

And coincidentally too, our encounter in Saigon a few weeks later when she stepped into Leinné Apartment and I happened to be there.

In my life I’ve always believed in chances and moments, and I felt completely lucky for having known Anna, who also has a Vietnamese name: Hanh. Vietnamese – American, born and raised in Hawaii, she visits Vietnam from time to time and now heading to France to pursue her passion: dance.”

About Anna- from Leinné founder, Hai Minh

Hello Anna,

What brings you to Vietnam?

I came to Vietnam this summer primarily to visit family and for an internship.                

My mother is from Hanoi and the last time I visited Vietnam was 15 years ago! After finding my internship, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with family I hadn’t seen in years.

You shared with me that you are passionate with ballet and dance. How did you discover your passion?

I started dancing when I was five years old. I remember sitting in front of the TV, when some sort of ballet clip or commercial came on and I was struck by how graceful the dancers’ movements were. I turned around and immediately told my parents I wanted to dance. Luckily, they supported my decision and I have been dancing ever since.

I have to admit that I spent most of my time in District 1 and although it felt like I was exploring non-stop, the city is so huge that it’s impossible to see everything in just one month.

One of my favorite places was Chợ Bến Thành. I didn’t do much shopping, but I would just walk through the labyrinth of vendors and get lost and overwhelmed by the sensory overload. When I finally made my way out I would usually find somewhere to sit down and have a fresh smoothie.

I also loved walking along Dong Khoi street looking at the French colonial-style buildings and spending my afternoon reading in one of the many cafés.

I somehow got lost late at night in District 7 with two great friends. The streets were completely deserted and it really felt like a ghost town as we seemed to be walking in circles through a residential area. Thankfully we made it out but it was a memorable adventure.

I was born and raised in Hawaii, one of the most remote places on the planet.

Travel has always been very special to me.

Some of my most memorable places I have come by are in Europe. I love how easy it is to travel from one country to the other to immerse yourself in a completely different language, climate, cuisine, etc.

My favourite moments come from just walking around, observing how people go about their day, following my nose into delicious restaurants and especially meeting and interacting with people.

Actually, one of the most memorable and serendipitous moments on my trip to Vietnam was meeting Mimi (Hai Minh) in Hoi An! Who knew that we would briefly meet and then reconnect again a couple weeks later?

I was born and raised in Hawaii, so it would be the most appropriate place to call home. Hawaii is such a beautiful place to call home, but it was hard to grow up far away from family and to have many of my closest friends move to the mainland U.S.  

So, does Hawaii feel like home? Definitely, but I’ve found other places that also felt like “home,” especially when surrounded by good company and loved ones.

How do you dress for everyday and on vacation?
I tend to keep things simple and like to wear versatile pieces. Dresses are probably my favorite to wear and I often wear nice blouses with a simple pair of pants.

On vacation, I dress pretty much the same; however, I put a lot of thought into what I’m packing. I’m a super light packer – I try to only bring a carry-on even for several weeks. I pay more attention to fabrics when I travel and try to pack things I can get away with not ironing if I have to.

What kind of clothing and accessories you feel comfortable in?

I feel most comfortable in clothes that fit me well. I avoid fussy clothing that I have to adjust as I’m walking and go about my day. Since I like to keep things simple, I usually keep my accessories pretty minimal. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I always have a bag with me and wear a lot of hats and sunglasses to keep me protected from the tropical sun.

Do you have plan to come back to Vietnam soon? What are the places that you want to go in Vietnam?
I would love to come back to Vietnam within the next year or two. I loved my trip! The colors looked so saturated, the food was delicious and above all, the people were so genuine and lovely. I started my trip in Hanoi, went up a bit further north to see where my grandparents were from, and then slowly made my way down to Saigon by car. I didn’t get a chance to go any further south of Saigon, so I would love to visit the Mekong Delta area the next time I visit.

Who is your role model? Are you inspired by any women?

I can’t think of a specific role model, but your second question makes me realize that most of the people I’ve looked up to have been women. It’s hard to have a celebrity as a role model, since you never really know what that person is like, but I think we all have people in our lives (friends, mentors, relatives) that have a certain strength that we really respect.

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