My younger sister decided to extend her stay in Vietnam for another three weeks as a Father’s Day gift to my Dad, and he’s totally delighted! He told her (and me) that now since my mom is in the US, sometimes it feels really, really lonely, and he doesn’t have anyone to talk to. Watching CNN/ BBC channels would get boring after a while. So does playing the guitar. He’s been taking my younger sister to the gym even when it’s really hot outside, and sometimes he even waits around to pick her up. Being lonely can be really scary, and I’m so, so glad that Tran got to go back and spend time with my parents as well as Vy. I still remember all the sweet memories with Dad from my childhood. My parents never, or very rarely let us eat candies since they’re just plain sugar, unhealthy, etc. But I still remember when I was in kindergarten, once in a while Dad would reach to his shirt pocket and gave me one red, round candy wrapped in clear plastic with stars on them. They were cherry-flavored and oh my gosh they tasted so, so good, better than any other candies I’d had. Later on, I learned that they were imported from the USA. My Dad barely spends money on himself, but when it comes to us, he always goes for the best quality. My sisters and I didn’t really get to eat lots of cakes when we were little either (not that we really care now, but at that time they looked so delicious, at least to me), but the few occasions when my Dad brought home a couple slices for us to share, little did we know that they came from Brodard/ Givral, which were among the fancy cake stores in Saigon with prices probably double that of a regular store. After Tran bought the new flight ticket, Vy and Tran took my Dad out for dinner and they announced it to him in person. I could totally see the happy look on his face upon hearing the news. Dad, I’m so, so lucky to have you as a father, you’re absolutely the #1 man in my life. Happy [belated] Father’s Day, I’m super excited to see you this Christmas, and some day soon I’ll come back to Vietnam to browse the streets of Saigon with you!
On a totally different topic, I hiked Hanging Rock State Park a couple weeks ago with two friends. Yay for having a chance to get my hiking shoes out after four years (!). I didn’t go all the way to the tip of the Hanging Rock itself because I think I would have puked before reaching it, but I didn’t care anyway. It was a nice trip. I probably will return sometime soon, maybe this time just by myself and hike the longer Moore’s Wall loop. That will be some good time for self-reflection and meditation I guess, since I just can’t sit still in some yoga pose and meditate like normal people… The two-hour drive will be a pain though.
My running resolution is going well. I’m about 80 miles ahead of schedule now, so I’m not too worried about covering the distance. These days usually I run 3 times a week, two medium 4-5 mile run on weekdays, and one longer run on the weekend. The American Tobacco Trail is great for the long weekend run because it has lots of shades and is very well-maintained, but at the same time, it has some seriously very mean bugs. Twice they scared the crap out of me and I ended up running an extra mile or two (!). I bought some DEET-free mosquitoes bands the other day, hopefully they work! Carrying the phone is getting more and more annoying, so I’m thinking about buying the Fitbit Surge. It has GPS so I won’t need my phone. But then, I’ll have to give up the music I guess. It’s also not really cheap, I think it costs about $220 now?
My friend Linh L. posted this on her Facebook the other day, and I just have to save a copy here for myself:
One good thing about life: everything is temporary. There can’t always be sunshine and rainbows, but thunderstorms also don’t last forever.
So, yes, keep calm and carry on.
You learn that when you are angry,
You have the right to be angry,
But this doesn’t give you the right to be cruel.
You discover that only because someone doesn’t love you the way you would like her to,
It doesn’t mean that this person doesn’t love you the most she can,
Because there are people who love us,
But just don’t know how to show or live that.
You learn that sometimes it isn’t enough being forgiven by someone,
Sometimes you have to learn how to forgive yourself.
You learn that with the same harshness you judge,
Some day you will be condemned.
You learn that it doesn’t matter in how many pieces your heart has been broken,
The world doesn’t stop for you to fix it.
You learn that time isn’t something you can turn back,
Therefore you must plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure.
You really are strong.
The other night I had a nightmare that was ridiculously vividly realistic that I woke up trembling for a good few minutes. It was a combination of two separate segments. In the first one, I was at some sort of water park. Obviously I wasn’t riding any turbulent rides but was just chilling on a buoy in a small pool. There were gentle waves. I was dreamily thinking of what cocktail to order: a pina colada, or a Long Island Ice tea? And suddenly, out of nowhere, this weird wave was approaching us. It’s skinny and tall instead of… short and fat like the usual ones. I was still mesmerized at the strangeness of the wave when he suddenly grabbed my buoy and screamed: RUN! (I guess he meant “SWIM”?) It was only seconds later when this wall of water erupted from that seemingly gentle wave and collapsed on us. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t even have time to feel scared. My last thought was: Can I ride this wave to the land just like in movies?
And somehow, we were strolling on the street of a pretty small town. It was a beautiful day. And out of nowhere, that beautiful blue sky was no longer beautiful nor blue. There were several columns of dark, ominous smoke shooting up from the horizon to the sky. People were screaming, and we were hustled to some sort of safety room in the basement of a house. (And I was like WTF why does this peaceful town have such safety rooms???). There were a couple one-way windows in the room, so we could see the outside, but couldn’t be seen. The door to the safety room was shut, locked, and chained. I looked outside, and one of the smoke columns started to wiggle. I couldn’t believe in my eyes… it was a freaking dragon, like the one in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Several people were panicking. Some babies started to cry. Then my companion decided to open the one-way window so he could run outside to take a clearer look at the dragon. And that’s when I started to panic. I called out for him but he was already too far to hear me. I tried to open the window but several people held me down. As I was lying on the floor, I suddenly smelled something so bad ; and somehow I knew it was the dragon coming near. Oh my gosh, did it eat him alive?
I’ve always wondered how our brains generated dreams. Some dreams I can kind of get why I had them because they would be linked to an upcoming or recent event. But this kind of ridiculous nightmare with dragons and some weird Tsunami-wave on a Lazy pool??? Maybe I should pick up a book about sleeps, dreams, and nightmares.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about. – Haruki Murakami
Last weekend I was out of town to attend a wedding in Ohio – it was a last minute decision since I got my ticket the weekend before, and was lucky to not have to worry about accommodations. I got some sneak peek at the venue, the gorgeous decorations, the beautiful flower arrangements, and even got to help laying out the seating chart cookies! (The idea is pretty neat – each guest has a cookie with their name and table number printed on top. The whole thing is edible so they can nibble on this while waiting for the food lol.) This is the third American wedding I’ve been to, and definitely the one that makes me most emotional, probably because I know the bride & groom a bit more. It was kind of funny how I really couldn’t sleep in on the wedding day, and I woke up before 9am – it felt like Christmas Day! I can honestly say that I think the wedding was perfect in pretty much every way, and it was something that probably many women dream of. Sarah & John, I’m so happy for you and I wish you a lifetime of happiness together <3
Seeing all the love and care the parents put into preparing for the wedding makes me miss my parents a ton. I think this is partially why I got so ridiculously emotional. It reminds me of my sister’s wedding in 2012 when several family members flew over from Australia, Canada, and Vietnam. My sister probably was under a lot of stress and expectation – she was the first among the cousins to get married after all – but she passed the stress test with flying colors. I don’t remember seeing my dad tearing up, but his look at my sister on her wedding day was so precious: full of love, care, and enormous pride. At the last minute, after lots of begging (and even some whining) from my sister and aunt, he agreed to sing a song during the reception. So, two nights before the wedding, he seriously practiced singing for hours along a Youtube video – so serious that my little cousin thought he was super into karaoke. Talking about parents, my parents are planning to come visit us in June/ July & I’m super excited! I hope they can manage to come visit me at my place, but even if they can’t, I’ll fly to CA to see the whole crew no matter what. There will be some awkward explanations to do, but I’ll figure out a way to deal with that. I haven’t seen Dad in 3 years and Mom in over a year! This time I have to remember to bring all the pieces of clothing that need alterations so my Mom can help me fix them. June can’t come quick enough!
Last note: My goal to run more than 67 miles in May might not come true – I stupidly injured my left foot last weekend over a tiny rock on the road. It’s on the way to recovery now but sometimes I still have to tiptoe a little bit. I intend to give it one more day of rest before trying to go on a gentle run. Dear foot, please recover soon since the weather is beautiful these days! I promise to be more careful while running :(.