I never thought that I would ever need to write this letter to you.
However, after two months of trying to survive the Corona Pandemic Crisis, we are facing financial issues.
About two weeks ago we had to lay off our staff and only kept a few to help us to work out the delivery service. However, the delivery service is very slow and takes time to build, especially knowing that we have never promoted ourselves in the community very well.
It was always word by mouth and most of our guests (now friends) are overseas.
I am pretty old fashioned when it comes to promoting our restaurant, our mission, vision.
I believe that serving guests is about opening up to a relationship.
In Germany there is a saying “Liebe geht durch den Magen”. It means “The way to a man’s heart leads through his stomach”. And yes, I take this saying very seriously. Hence, we become friends and sooner or later we become part of their family.
That is why, I never feel like I am running a restaurant business. I am opening my house to the community, because I love to share and make whoever enters the room, feel my attention and care.
I have thought about giving up and closing the restaurant more than a thousand times. But struggling to do so. I had hopes for this year and many ideas. That we could do so much more and become more sustainable.
BECOMING MORE SUSTAINABLE & BUILDING BRIDGES
I wanted to apply more environmental friendly practices and was already starting to study how to support young Vietnamese to apply for apprenticeship and work in Germany as an intercultural exchange of knowledge and furthermore work experiences. Things looked pretty good before the pandemic started and I was super excited to gain this experience.
As a kid of boat people, I always felt extremely thankful to be able give back. Ever since my childhood I have had that strong feeling of wanting to be part of the community and help the people to strive. Whether as a student’s representative at college, church volunteer, basketball coach, manager of a department of a company and so on.
It feels so painful seeing this now all could come to an end. After so many years of trying.
…then a few of our guests and now friends started to send messages to me, because they worried about us and offered to send money. I could not accept their offer, until they explained to me, that they want to support my cause and give back.
I felt deeply loved by their action and they helped me to realise that it is okay sometimes to ask for help.
I have set up this paypal USD account to receive the donations: https://paypal.me/iny1510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://www.xoom.com/ (Home Delivery to: Yen-Linh Tran, 40 Dang Thi Nhu, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, City, Vietnam, Phone: 0962921773, email@example.com)
(I am sorry, I barely use Paypal and I have seen now there is a 4.7% fee you will pay)
(Also, if you donate to me, paypal has a tick box that says “Paying for goods or service?, please uncheck the box!, it will put the money on hold status for many weeks.)
I am so sorry for the inconvenience!!!
I have learned that it satisfies me to dedicate my life to support others. I don’t need much to be happy other than knowing that I can positively impact the world before I am flying up to the clouds myself.
What will I do with your donations?
I will pay the fixed costs of bills such as rent, electricity, salaries, etc.
I have set up this google sheet to let you see the amount of donations:
LINK TO GOOGLE SHEET DONATIONS REPORT
I will also record the payments and the remaining amount. It’s important to me that you see that I care about transparency and your trust and loyalty. I will use a part of the donations to give back to the community, as everywhere in the world, there is always others that need support, too.
OR BUY A GIFT CARD
Alternatively you can go on our online delivery shop and buy a gift card which is valid when we are allowed to reopen and a driver will come to pick up the payment.
This crisis will teach us a long lasting lesson of compassion and adaption. We need to rethink the value of money and whenever possible disconnect from its importance that creates egotism. By adaption. I mean the understanding how to adapt to nature instead of robbing all the resources of our planet.
I want to thank you you for supporting my mission and vision.
Come as a guest and remain a friend.
PS: A little excerpt about myself
I am Yen-Linh Tran, born in Germany 1980. I left Germany in 2007 and have not returned ever since then. At the age of 11, I had visited Vietnam for the very first time. It was my summer vacation and we stayed for about 5 weeks. I was sad about going back to Germany and felt like wanting to stay here in Vietnam forever. Destiny somehow brought me back at the age of 26. That was when finance crises was and people got laid off. I was one of them, because I graduated from my uni and of course was a newbie. But luckily as a graphic designer I was able to work as freelancer and moved back to my hometown. But there was unhappiness in me. Relationships broke, work didn’t progress as I had ever wanted and then after a while, I remembered my dream again, In my early 20s, I applied as a volunteer to work in Israel in a childcare. I was super excited and the interview was amazing, however I was told, because of my health condition I was not able to go.
That led me to follow my other plan and I became a graphic designer. As I arrived in Vietnam, I found my first job as a graphic designer very easily due to Facebook networks.
I soon realised, how great it is to work in Vietnam and adapt to one’s lifestyle. While experiencing more about myself and realise that I can speak 4 languages, which whatsoever I have never realised back home in Germany. I fell immediately in love with it.
My career path was great. I could not be more thankful to all the opportunities I got.
But then in 2015, I had this strong feeling of taking a pause from work. I took about a 6 month sabbatical, where I did a lot of volunteer work and also spend time with family and friends. It was an amazing year.
When I came back, my plan was to open a restaurant and give back to the community. I did many mistakes and on my path, I met many people who took advantage.
But the experiences led me to the person I am today.
I realised that, if only a sustainable environment can please my desire. I started to turn the restaurant into my cause. Sustainability as the very important key essential factor of all my decisions.
But I also learned that I am the fastest to understand in my team. So I also learned that little steps are good to cheer for rather than setting extremely high expectations and fail.
My team needs time and I will give them the time to transition. My job is to help them to unfold.
So today, I feel like having such a loyal team, I cannot just give up, take the money and only care for myself. We are all in the same boat.
In all the writing, I am not mentioning my son. The person that sacrifices the most. I am a single mum without any support. He had been raised by nannies all the years, until I finally took back the responsibility when realising that no one can ever replace “mum”.
I try my best to balance all, but it ain’t easy. I enjoy every moment, though you may think COVID-19 scares the shit out of us. But maybe just be thankful that this pressure is on us and take the time to rethink what we truly need in this society.
I have come to the conclusion:
1. Sustainability most important factor of change within yourself and the company
2. Only need so much money as you can re-invest in number 1
3. Be happy and thankful
4. Become a vegetarian and contribute to better change
5. It’s a long way to go, but don’t give up
We only live ones. I am thankful for all the donations that have been set.
I am also aware that I can only do so much, if the story is going to be different, I am still there and do what I believe in. We will be all okay, with and without the restaurant.
I believe we will be creatively find a solution.
Thank you very much to all of you!