Russian woman ‘turns Vietnamese’ to win over mother-in-law

By Hai Hien   May 5, 2023 | 06:00 am PT
When Viktoria Kira recalls the first time she met Minh Nhat three years ago, she calls it fate.

Kira was invited to a meeting of Vietnamese students who studied in Russia. At first, she didn’t want to go because she was tired. But then she changed her mind.

Minh Nhat, 30, was also at the meeting. Their hearts suddenly beat faster when they saw each other for the first time.

"I had a vague feeling that I had known this person for a long time," Kira recalled.

She caught Nhat looking at her several times, but they only had a short conversation before saying goodbye.

Curiosity made Kira follow Nhat's Instagram. Then she dropped a like on one of his photos. After the signal from Kira, Nhat messaged her directly and they began chatting. After a few weeks, Nhat asked Kira out for coffee and she agreed.

Viktoria Kira khi theo sự nghiệp người mẫu tại Việt Nam từ năm 2021. Ảnh: Nhân vật cung cấp

Viktoria Kira started her modeling career in 2021. Photo by Victoria Kira

Kira came to Vietnam in 2021 traveling with friends. During a road trip by motorbike, she had a serious accident and was hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City.

After her recovery, the bustling and vibrant atmosphere of Saigon still beckoned Kira to stay longer. With encouragement from her friends, she then participated in a modeling contest and ended up starting modeling career in Vietnam.

At the age of 23, Kira decided to pursue her dreams here instead of following her family’s plan of returning to Russia to work as an accountant.

As for Nhat, his parents raised him in Russia. He graduated with a master's degree in finance and then worked as a university lecturer in Russia before returning to Vietnam because of the Covid-19 pandemic. When he met Kira, he was the director of a marketing company in Saigon.

When Nhat (a man who loves Russia as much as Vietnam) and Kira (someone who considers Vietnam her second home) accidentally met it was Nhat's knowledge of Russian culture, music and cuisine that first won Kira’s heart.

"I was the one who asked him to be my boyfriend," Kira said.

The Covid-19 pandemic broke out in HCMC in 2021 and turned the couple’s life upside down. To take care of each other during the lockdown, they moved in together. But conflicts also began to arise.

Kira is a modern and independent woman. Instead of being in the kitchen, she likes to follow her passions and exercise to keep her shape. Although she admires people who can cook, Kira has never wanted to be one.

"Women shouldn't try to do what other people want just to please them," Kira said when Nhat suggested that she should learn how to cook.

Nhat felt saddened by his girlfriend's answer. He loves the feeling of standing in the kitchen, cooking and chatting with his lover. According to him, cooking is a necessary skill to take the best care of oneself.

After a barrage of arguments, Nhat understood that he should not force his girlfriend to be someone she was not. But Kira also realized that she could change and try to create more harmony with her boyfriend.

Kira was also inspired to change when she met Nhat’s parents, who didn’t approve their relationship.

At Nhat's house, Kira really wanted to help people cook, but she didn't know how. She Didn’t even know how to hold a cutting knife properly.

Nhat’s mother Thien Ly told him that he should find a Vietnamese girl who knows how to cook and take care of a family.

"Don’t take risks with foreign women," she said.

After seeing her boyfriend's parents’ unhappy attitude, Kira began to understand them a little bit. Many times she tried to hold back her tears and wanted to break up with Nhat, but because she believed their love was destiny, she decided to change.

"I will learn to cook, not only for myself but also to win your parents over," Kira told Nhat after visiting his family for the second time.

In the past, Kira thought every dish had a recipe online and all she needed to do was follow it. But when she really got into the kitchen, she found cooking not easy at all.

"There were times when I was so helpless that I put all of the food into the trash. Then I could only cry," Kira recalled.

Nhat saw it all but he just let his girlfriend release her emotions. When she calmed down, he encouraged her.

"If you fail this time just try again, don't give up," he said.

As a person who loves to cook, Nhat showed his girlfriend how to choose ingredients, how to prepare them, as well as how to hold a knife. He did it slowly to make it easy for her.

Gradually, Kira's cooking skills improved.

She’s now mastered spring rolls, braised fish, and sweet and sour ribs. Kira also knows that Nhat’s parents like desserts, so she taught herself how to make one and brought it to her boyfriend’s house.

Kira giờ có thể gói nem thành thạo. Ảnh: Nhân vật cung cấp

Kira masters making Vietnamese spring rolls. Photo by Victoria Kira

Kira enhanced her Vietnamese with Nhat’s help so that she can talk to his parents. She also observed his mother Ly closely. At first, Kira found it strange that Ly always left the most delicious food to her husband and children. She thought Ly didn't know how to love herself, but Nhat explained that his mother is a traditional Asian woman who is inclined to take care of her family first, and that's her way of showing love.

Since then, Kira has learned how to live and love like a Vietnamese. According to her, it’s also a way for her to prove her love to Nhat instead of only thinking about herself like before.

In early 2022, Nhat brought Kira to his hometown Thanh Hoa for the first time to celebrate the Lunar New Year (Tet). She’d already become very similar to a Vietnamese woman and she joined the family to cook, clean and go to the market.

"During that Tet I saw my mother smiling all the time and she was no longer unhappy like the early days. She saved all the best food for Kira," Nhat said.

Kira và Minh Nhật đón con trai đầu lòng tháng 12/2022. Ảnh: Nhân vật cung cấp

Kira and Nhat with their new born baby in December 2022. Photo by Victoria Kira

In September 2022, the couple registered for marriage when Kira was six months pregnant. The couple has since returned to Binh Duong to live with Nhat’s parents, so that the family can spend more time together.

Despite living together for a long time, Nhat still owes Kira a proper wedding. He’s currently planning one to coincide with their son’s first birthday.

"I believe by that time, Kira will have enough vocabulary to talk to guests," said Nhat.

"And she’ll be able to confidently say 'I do’ in Vietnamese."

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