My Gifts

Those who are closest to me will say that I am a very physically affectionate person. I like to be touched and touch those around me.

In November last year, I was sitting overlooking the lake at Hanoi’s gorgeous botanic gardens, munching on a sandwhich while contemplating the slightly depressing fact that I had not had a hug for some months. Soon after, a teenage kid with Down’s syndrome joined me on my bench. With slurred speech, he told me his name was Tuk and we sat in silence, watching excited newlyweds have their pictures taken on the very photogenic island in the middle of the lake. Eventually, I finished my lunch and stood, “Well Tuk, I’ll see you later.”

Tuk stood also and held out his hand, which I shook. He then leant in for a hug and feeling somewhat reserved due to the number of onlookers, I gave him a quick one without any conviction and released him. However, Tuk was unsatisfied with this obviously lame attempt and he leant in again and that is when I realised; he was a gift. I embraced him whole-heartedly and exclaimed, “Oh Tuk, how did you know? How did you know that this is what I needed?”

It was a beautiful moment that puts a smile on my face to this day.

It’s been amazing to have the gift of a few more hugs over the past few months. Thanks Luke & Al.

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