“Ta về ta tắm ao ta”
- Transliterated proverb:
- Ta: I, me
- Về: home
- Tằm: shower, bath, bathe
- Ao: pond
- Full translation: I will return home and bathe in my own pond
- Explanation: An American equivalent of this proverb would be “There is no place better than home.” Thus, this proverb means the best place is home, and could otherwise be stated as “I would rather go home and bathe in my own pond.” My grandmother explains that this proverb could be used to describe a situation where you have traveled to another country, but facing difficulties there makes you realize that your home country was better. It can also be generally referring to another person’s home or an unfamiliar place that is otherwise not your own home. Within the meaning of this proverb is the possibility of the other country, the unfamiliar place, or stranger’s home being wealthier, shinier, or more glamorous than your country or your home. Yet, she explains, at least your home is yours, thus, the wealthier place is not necessarily better.
I like this proverb because I believe that it attests to the culture of my family and the culture I was raised in. When my grandmother was raising my father and his siblings, Vietnam was in the midst of war, and then had to rebuild after the war. Because of this, financial instability was common. The principle of being only concerned with how you are doing and taking care of your home rather than desiring another person’s wealth shines through those circumstances and has followed how my parents raised me. I remember wanting to sleep over at my cousins’ houses often when I was younger, and sometimes complaining to my parents about things they can do or have that I cannot do or have. My parents always responded then that I should want to sleep in my own house and that “it doesn’t matter what someone else has” and reminded me to be grateful for the things that are mine. This sentiment has always been with my grandmother as well, who once expressed to me how “the best place is home” to explain why she turned down my uncle’s offer for her to live with him for a few months in California.