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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Dead-End Drift

Dead-End Drift

The LONGEST day ever! 

Dazzled- "I just woke up, it's unworkable to get myself ready in a minute so better ask someone to do it instead".  Gosh, how many times have I told them never send me emails in Vietnamese! And do I always have to nudge them to prompt me at least a day before proctoring?  These guys get into my nerves, very unprofessional and yet they always blame you for not showing up.    How could you stand these kinds of staff?   It feels like tossing off an early  caller when you knew that you weren't expecting a  ring from anyone.  Tell you what,  my sister has to make an appointment before she lures coz she knows that a nocturnal never picks up a "ding" in the morning. 

Ok, since I couldn't get back to sleep,  I made a quick shower and went down for a nosh-up with my all time favorite tranquilizer-"hot ginger tea" while preparing for the 930am Business English exams. I was having tantrums, and I easily got ticked off with students who tried to copy answers from others. "If you don't stop I'll get your ID, and send you out! So , you'd better shut up!"  Oh God, it wasn't me really...but I couldn't help it. 

After a "shady"  tiffin in the canteen, I went up to bundle up for my three-hour language class. While I was opening my closet to find a loose-fitting shirt, I got an unheralded sms, " Hey Lady, How are you doing? Are you doing well? You've not been talkative recently." At the back of my mind I was like, "urghh yeah because I guess you're a bit crass so I chose to blog my day-to-day vanilla sentiments".  

The story doesn't end that heart went "boom-boom-boom" coz my cramping fate has come,  Ahhhhh, I lost the  bet! Alright, yeah I gambled with a friend-if "he" doesn't send me any "ni hao" before I go off the deep end down south, "she" would get a free trip to Bali.  End of the story! 


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Be My Travel Buddy!

Be My Travel Buddy


Was soaking wet as I strolled around the local wet market of the town.  Then spotted this inviting street art on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.  If you haven't been to Vietnam I bet you should pay a visit if you need a plunge of ethnical gratification.   As I jumped off the Exciter, I asked how much did it cost for a bouquet  of red my surprise  it costs only 28k vnd or a dollar each. 

Since I was little, I had been in loved with my older brother's garden of red roses. I could still recall how he sprinkles  them as soon as the sun glistens while inhaling the salty yet minty breeze of the ocean.  Yes, thought that was a paradise as we live by the sweet pinkish pebble beach a few meters away from home.  Life was simple back then, but I never realize how precious it was to have such a beauty around, not until I moved to the mega city. 

Despite the ups and downs, I can say that it's my fate to explore Vietnam. The country from the top, to the middle and down south has it's unique cultural and physical charm. My itchy feet have already marked thousands of footprints in the midmost and the northern parts of its map. Obviously, my upcoming kick offs down south have been carefully fabricated as of a blacksmith who religiously forge and bend each weapon for the most awaited battle. 
Well,  I can proudly tell you that each leap gives me various lessons-emotional, physical, cultural, educational, and most of all hardens my appetite. Everybody knows that I'm horrible at cooking, but I'm a crazy Vietnamese-noodle lover. 

Ok, let's go back to where what I was supposed to share with you. Most of the trails or alleys in the country look like those msyterious  yet culturally rich wall paintings of all time.  They are simply amazing! I can't get enough of my drifts  on the avenues, cities, villages, pavements, dead ends which are adorned by the busy, exclusive locals of the area.  

Come join me in my next ventures  down south this spring! 

Yours Truly,


Four-Leaf Clover

Four-Leaf Clover 

Brighter than a feasible milky way
Show me you're ready and gay
As I bravely stop the clock
And wait with the sunset in the dry dock

 You love me, you love me not
The summer storms command me to retreat
I'm stubborn and adamant, not until you tie the knot
For it leads me to the promising yet oblivious fleet

The weeping crimson sky invites me  for a sip
At the vineyard of four-leaf clover
Hummingbird bait is about to slip
Carried away by the aroma of the red wine lover

Go ahead sing me a love song
While my heart dances with the cherry-coated notes
Let's run away as we get along
Cuddling our forbidden loathes


Monday, 29 July 2013

Blazing Winter Moth

Blazing  Winter Moth

Thrusts resemble the ambitious wolly bear
Sores my heart like a kissing bug
Pollinates fragile spring pear flower
And buries your shade in the emptiness you dug

Handcuffs my rimy hand in your pocket
While I wish for the stars
And feeds the bonfire in the icy bucket
Your warmth saves me from a thousand burglars

Whispers my favorite lullaby
As you snore for the night
I thought it was goodbye
The cup of bitter sweet memories are kept as I  sleep tight

Our dreams are doodled in the morning fog
Beg you be truthful to your promises
Though dusk tells me to roll the log
Towards the river of tears and disappointments

Pay attention to the bumble bee in the scorching sun
In the frosty hopes that are withered through time
Asking the bluebottle to light my selfish desires  as I run
To the hidden comb where you ring the blazing bridal chime


Give me a hand-I'm down in the Dumps :(

Give me a Hand-I'm down in the dumps :( 

Wearing fake smiles, giggles, on that obviously pale face in front of your students makes me an award-winning actor! 

Today isn't my day! I'm in class right now-yeah I am a language teacher and guess what I am fed up with what I'm doing.  Can someone cheer me up for being broken-hearted? Seriously, got a horrible headache, soar throat, yet I must do my job.  Blogging, travelling, or maybe doing some sort of photo journalism is what my heart wants to do. 

"Motivation"-you're impossible! Oh God, I don't mean diffusing  negative vibes on a Monday.  Imagine having your English book, a smart phone and a cup of hot ginger tea on the teacher's table while asking your students to do their group activities coz you're dizzy and they can hardly hear your raspy voice.  This is quite frustrating! 


Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Fansipan Dido

The Fansipan Dido


Drowned with too much time complaining how dull my life at work is, pushes me to my limits.  My itchy feet are too stubborn that they can  pull my whole well-being to a run off.  Careful planning never exists in my lists of vocabularies coz there's only one word which enwraps my backpack, "wanderlust"! 

Luckily, I had a two-week vacation from the last week of April to the first quarter the following month.  I was restless so, I spent the first chapter in the central part of Vietnam.  That was indeed one of the most memorable trips I've  had.  Then the second half of the game started at a nine-hour trip from Ha Noi to Sa Pa-farther north of Vietnam.  To count, it was my third visit and obviously, I couldn't get enough of the place and even considered  retiring there one day.

The most exciting part of the game was the Fansipan challenge.- the highest mountain in Indochina. I bet my new pair of grayish pink Nike running shoes, Snickers and Hershey's kisses together with a hundred bucks worth of black leggings were enough for the sprint.  Two days before the venture, I pacified myself with the shivery  weather in Sa Pa, and stuffed my face with grilled meat paired with the traditional apple wine.  Honestly, I was a bit drunk but I tried to control myself from being teased.  

Before the sun hit us, we began packing up-"this is it", we thought.  Everything was ready and in two hours we were picked up by a van which took  us to the starting block located a few kilometers away from the "Love Waterfalls".  We started the climb in ten minutes.  My feet were so  uneasy during the first few wet, rocky tracks on its way up.  "How could you manage to sing while everyone is short of breath?", he said. "This climb would kill me without my favorite song", I replied.  Each course had different faces-muddy, twisted, steep, narrow, slippery, unfriendly, and a bit scary.  

Lunch was served on the first stop after a few- hour hike.  An hour was enough to start the next tread.   At 1630, the tents on the last stop welcomed us. Dinner  was the best time to get to know each stranger we encountered along the way.  I was worn out that I could hardly move my tired legs as well as it was impossible to open my mouth, yet decided to walk around the numbing field.    It was dark , and stormy, and everyone was almost asleep. 

Since I couldn't induce myself to bed, I dropped in the dirty kitchen to warm my spinal cords with the bonfire.  The tour guide handed me a cup of hot ginger tea while chewing real life stories with one another.  It was midnight when I got on to the idea that I was more privileged than others. His stories were touching that it dawned on me to be more grateful for what I have and to be content for who I am now.  "Even if these random people  give you too much stress, and  no matter how much grievance you  feel  for your boss, you should finish the race fairly and passionately", he said.   Gosh, he was right! 

On an algid, bone-chilling, showery, stormy morning we kicked off the top of  Fansipan.  I was physically drained, and I thought of giving up but my soul was brave enough to win the race.  Yes, in three hours we reached the wet, frigid, foggy peak of the mountain.  I thanked God for the amazing scenery. 

We made it down to the town at exactly 6pm. My limbs were torpid, I couldn't even bend my droopy knees. Our last night in Sa Pa was staggering and we rewarded ourselves with a foot massage after dinner. Then we headed back to Ha Noi the next day. 

No matter how bleary I was, I thought I would rather drag my feet again up to Fansipan rather than corrupting my flesh and spirit  in the reality of life.   That ascend made me a fighter emotionally! 

Faith Factor

Faith Factor 

Harsh, raspy, strained voice-this is what I got after dancing with the rain last night. Despite the unwieldy feeling, I managed to clock in the Sunday worship in Ha Noi International Fellowship.  An hour travel by bus on a showery Sunday from my dormitory to the church didn't matter coz it's His love which makes me happier, cheerful, stronger and most of all steadfast.  

"In Christ's resurrection, there is redemption.  We all receive the same price at the end.  Living by faith isn't about perfect situations. God uses imperfect but "faithful" people", the young pastor Manuel explained.  The sermon hit on me that I was still on the soft seat-thinking about how truthful God is. I suddenly lifted my hands to Him-"Lord I offer my life to you, as a living sacrifice." All I had was mixed emotions believing that He has great things in store for me." 

The past few days turned into tough, emotional months of challenges as I gawk  at every corner of my crib.  Bitterness, grudges, anger, hopelessness, self-pity, revenge.  But tell you what, when I unfastened my lens sack this morning,  I was so grateful I was still alive and kicking, realizing how He has been with me through the most sturdy walks of my life. He never leaves! 

Faith is fair! After the worship, people went on their own blessed and unruffled.  As soon as I kicked myself out of the lift, I saw the racing raindrops as seen from the glass door. Oh Uh, summer storms are on their way.  Hopefully it would subside in a few minutes-but the crackling sound of each drop just gave me false hopes. 

 Then I decided to pick up a piece of chocolate cookie from a nearby coffee shop.  While I was at the counter, I saw a familiar shade-her obviously droopy feet had been waiting for the rain to sober. Since I would take a cab to Vpresso, I decided to drop her off the bus station on my way.  She was about to get out of the cab when I heard a soft voice telling me to lend her my umbrella.  I wrestled, "No, I got a flu and I also have to walk later to catch a bus on my way home." Oh, yes I gave her what she needed, and I learned that it was having the faith that later this afternoon, the skies would be as bright as the most sumptuous and precious gold in the universe.


She's not religious nor a devout believer but she always falls for the fact that faith is personal and in every prayer, God is behind. Have a blesseed Sunday! 


Saturday, 27 July 2013

My Bad


Hate the feeling of how monsters consume your large intestines before exams? You're not alone kid. Yes, I knew how it feels. From afar, I could overhear someone saying, "Oh sh*t, she's the proctor!" Deep inside my heart was feasting, yeah you're dead." (evil laugh) 

It was only 730am and everyone was  half awake.   Last night (or should I say, "this morning"),  I gave myself a chance to go to bed as early as 2am. Not bad, wasn't it? Ooppss  my stomach was protesting, "feed me or it would be an armageddon"!  Ok, don't worry I will stuff you with an egg and pate sandwich today.  The last bite seemed to be really hearty-and the "catchword" began.  

A few questionnaires were answered when a familiar face sat right the 1500 angle from my seat.  Oh yeah, he was one of the boys most girls in the campus are crazy about.  No further explanation-drives an SH, perfect fit, tan, tall, makes most of the goals in football, and smells sugar-coated you can't get enough of it. 
"Which of the following type of  company would you prefer to work for? -a large multinational company,-a small or medium-sized family business, -a trendy new high-tech corporation?" "Shoot it hon," said the ceiling fan. "No, I bet he is too bashful to open his mouth!", I murmured.  Guess I am not going to give you any clue. Forget it! 

Thanks to Ally Coffee for the crispy, tasty pork ribs and veggies for lunch. In twenty minutes, another speaking test would start in a sleety, empty classroom. Ok, "I will repeat the question, blah blah..." tryin to maintain the British demeanor so as not to sound like the "minions".   My apologies, I couldn't help but give some of them a backslide.   Anyway, instead of feeling sorry for some who whimpered because of being in the bottom,  I just gloated  my milk tea wickedly! 

Language teaching is the most fulfilling and modest careers in the world of innocent cuddies! Haha


Friday, 26 July 2013

The Missing Piece

When I hopped on the Exciter, you started falling from those wrothful cumulonimbus ahead of us while Thắng was on a 70kph  trying to race against each droplet. As soon as we arrived the coffee shop, the bartender handed us a snifter of avocado smoothie, a punch of blue Hawaiian cocktail, and a mug of hot Vietnamese traditional drip coffee. Sitting by the glass wall was the best time to  reminisce the old me...I meant someone told me  that I wasn't the person he knew before- people change and so do I.  

It was pitched dark outside, and all I could see from the glazy glass was the silhouette of every heart beat wishing you were here with me.  The howling thunder, and the strike of the tearing lightning didn't scare the hell out of my shadow.   Instead, it gave me the nerves to jump off the couch, and looked for your cherubic smile from each liquid formed on the ground into tiny drops of hopes.  

Sigh...I couldn't find even the meager of your angelic smell. At dawn, I will try my luck to follow that long and weaving road going nowhere, hoping I could feel your warmth from the four-leaf clover dew on my way. Before dusk, I will be home with your missing piece I had been longing for to fill in my emotional emptiness. And  yes, I'm in love with you Mr. Afternoon Nap. 


Red Sneaker Stepmother

Yeah you- I meant you, tell you what-standing still and staring at me for hours  don't make sense. And that dull, boring look makes me feel like a groggy fairy godmother! Ok, I guess I should do something. 

While my attention was on the smudgy, eye-soring shoe rack in front of me, I decided to spend my day off sorting the light colors from the darker ones so it wouldn't look like a sloppy christmas tree decors on a Halloween. From Seanny's chucks to my big sister's pumps down to my red white high top canvas. I'm not a perfectionist, but I guess there was something missing in the rack. Then , I thought of filling in the gap with a pair of  "Converse Men's All Star Print Hi Red", and another pair of "All Star Ox Toddler Red". Flawless! 

As I was about to switch the channel, I heard a familiar ringtone.  "Hey baby, I have just sent you a gorgeous, pink pair of sneakers"! What?! "Oh, that's so sweet of you baby!"  Please tell me, I'm not excited for those pink stuff from Alaska. Yes, pink is my color, too.  On the other corner of the study table, are ruddy classic "Swatch" and some scarlet handmade bracelets.  Am I trapped in a world where I could only see crimson skies instead of blue? 

"Hey, Stefan stop playing with the sand"! "Go get fresh and call your dad for lunch." Yes, mom", he replied.  Was that for real? He called me mom? Well, you're right. I don't know where his "veteran" mom is. "And don't forget my "cherry" flipflops as well as your dad's carmine baseball cap." The Carribean escapade has come true.  

It's not easy to be a wife nor a "red sneaker stepmother".  

Shutter Speed Friday

"Summer has come and passed. The innocent can never last.  Wake me up when September ends."-    "wake up or you'll be late", says the alarm.  Oh well, I should be glad it's Friday! 

If you have gotten up with eyes wide open as of an owl, then bravo, I salute you!     Imagine dragging yourself in front of the sink's tiny, muzzy mirror, counting how many pimples have gone, or how much wrinkles have you gained in a few days time, or thinking of not washing your hair because you're too lazy to dry it, and or feeling puzzled whether the glass of water you're holding is half-empty or half-full. 

In the next few hours, you'll find yourself in front of the class with a blanch, lifeless facial expressions telling you, " No Hablo Ingles".  Alright, please understand that it's Friday and everyone wants to set the shutter as fast as they could.  It's bleak staring at the virtual clock in front of you as it doesn't have hands which would move according to your speed limit!   "Is it broken?" 

Once you open your mouth, these ears can only clutch the first and the last words they expect you to utter, "Go---Home".  Let's call it a day.  But these guys hold the magic wand,  so my wish is their command. No objections and or violent reactions, please. Come and enjoy the ride, let's work together, get the perfect coalescense of "exposure settings" to come up with a more artistic value, and believe that everyday is a Friday. Your life doesn't depend on how winged can you count days from Mondays to Sundays, rather it's on how you keep your life's shutter speed limits for overall success. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Itchy Feet

 Passport, boarding pass, camera, and cash are all I need to complete my domestic travels. But the most heartening fact of every trip is the whet of traditional Vietnamese noodles. A bowl of Mì Quảng for lunch never satisfies my voracity nor a vessel of "bún mam" to call it a night.  The central part of Vietnam such as Da Nang or the nearby Quang Nam provinces have the excellent mouth-watering, long-established way of serving these noodles, that I would give my eye teeth to sate my avidity. 

The truth is, the moment I get off the plane, I could feel the sweet blow of zephyr saying, "welcome home".   It is worth spending a fortune wandering around the city from dawn to dusk.  Every visit is a surprise as it never fails to give butterflies in my stomach. Well, leaving is the most harrowing part of each memorable  and extraordinary jaunt as it breaks my heart saying goodbye to friends, streets, foods, beaches, beautiful landscapes, and the whole venture. 

Reality bites, I'm back to where I am supposed to fabricate my  future wanderlusts. "Hasta La Vista" my one and only Da Nang. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Four Corners

Stuck in a round baler dumping a freshly rolled hay bale clueless, heartsick and overwhelmed...asking where on earth she could see the blue skies of her dreams . Is there someone on a honeymoon in Maldives she can swap a night with right now?  Or a cool friend who could take her to Bali for free? She feels like she's just a poor kitten who couldn't get out of her shadow's shoe box. "Poor me!" 

Thinking about the "four corners" is a nightmare for someone who wants adventure, adrenalin rush, romantic sceneries, classical music, movies like "51st Dates", or Venice maybe a perfect getaway! By the way, she will never admit that she believes in fairy tales. Uh oh! No worries, nobody would know-it's a secret between you and the four corners of those sausages you're having for dinner.   Haha why so serious?! Chances are,  she would object to the fact that only her room has four corners. Ok, enough with the number and the corners.  Whatever! 

Look, shes not a bum, she's pretty, her heart beats fast with rage when he doesn't call her, she can stuff her belly with every dish she wants while people around her are fasting. She's fine, isn't she? It's just that she's not in the place where she thinks she must be in. There's something inside her soul telling her to run away from her present-forcing her to escape behind bars, but on the other hand her unconscious self is cuddling her to slow down and breathe.  Don't worry, she will be fine. One fine day, she will wake up with a pocket of love, hope, courage to take the craziest leap in life, and a trip to Bali! 

Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander as well as all types of evil behaviour.  Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." (Ecclesiates 1:9)

My patience has been tested through the toughest times in my almost three years in this country. Traffic issues, relationships among co-workers, students, new friends, strangers in the malls, supermarket attendants, restaurant waiters, bartenders, and so on.  At first, I always wanted to wrestle as if I could win over every battle, until one day my energy ran-down. What was that supposed to mean? No, it wasn't being left pathetic and helpless. Sometimes, calling for a ceasefire doesn't mean losing the fight. I couldn't recall how many times I had been through struggles and how hard it was to face them on my own.  

Before I start the real story, let me tell you one thing, I got "Zero Tolerance" on hypocrites, users, selfish and insensitive people. 

She  was raised by a very conservative family in a small town at the central part of the Philippines.  Her childhood days weren't as fun as she thought compared to other kids in her neighborhood. As young as five, she already learned how to play with the dirty kitchen.  After a year gambling with the firewood, she found herself sitting in a classroom of first graders without any idea what a "pencil" was. Her mom was so worried she couldn't make it, but after ten months she was the second best student in class. I couldn't imagine how happy and surprised her mom was when she received the invitation.  

"Child, always remember to respect others regardless of age, status, gender and race." She was so innocent and fragile to understand why her Dad on the other hand, reminded her never to cheat, nor use others for selfish benefits.  

When she became a teacher, it dawned on her that her parents especially  her humble mom raised her well. All she could hold on to fight was a river of tears to assuage her anger, disappointments, and frustrations. Years had gone so fast, until one day she decided to work overseas. In the first few months, things went well not expecting a colleague to betray her. The incident was like a sirocco blinding and following up to her dreams. And it came the new phase of life-this adventure was more rugged that it almost tear her down leaving her short of breath.  But this pilgrimage made her more fierce than a whirlwind. Yes, she still cries, a bit delicate and naive at times but shines like the gleam of dawn.  "I will never allow anyone to hurt nor use me, not once again."  Surely, God gave her a forgiving heart to be more humble and patient.  It's a part of her walk with Him...and it wouldn't be that easy BUT I'm sure she will make it to the finish line-victorious! 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ageless Passion

"Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night." ~Terri Guillemets

" So what if I couldn't take the last bus of the night? I can patiently wait until the next day", she thought. I know exactly how childish she might be to the extent that her first blog was so "high school".  Mind you, she was very proud of it that she sent her close friends the link and forced them to read it asap! Oh,  I think I'm trying to derail you, we won't be talking about how silly she is. 

I'm 32 in a few months time...not ready for anything yet.  No enough savings, hates being called "grandma", not seeing anyone  but is "comme il faut"  at daydreaming about Mr Afternoon Nap.   "Don't worry about tomorrow, let it worry itself." This is always my sort of an "excuse" for being juvenile.  I mean everything is just a number! At my early 30s, I knew that it's the perfect time to make a difference.  Passion it is!   I have been a frustrated guitarist, an artist, a journalist, and a photographer.  Yesterday wasn't so late to start giggling, blogging, cloud chasing, and staying up late filling out those backbreaker scholarship forms online. Well, who cares? I'm single and amazing! You think she's trying to race against the odds and the impossible? For her nothing is futile. She's a superwoman! 

Each day is a gift from God.  I always believe that He commands my destiny, and He shapes my future. All I need to do is to follow Him, though it would be most likely "unusual." 

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Big Clean

Mr. Afternoon Nap

"When you started talking, I knew you weren't from the place coz your English is perfect. " She wasn't paying attention- "Oh god, please I can't go home without the other pair of my favorite slippers." What was that? Oh nooo, all she could hear was Jon speculating that a kid might have had sniped it from her.  It was 2pm, and the place was deserted. She was pre-occupied losing hope someone could find it for her. A few guys were left to clean up the area, after a long day for the "Big Clean" project. Everyone had an awesome day with the kids at the pagoda. Anyhow, she wasn't the kind to give up that easily. After 10 minutes, she heard Cuong shouting, "Hey, I found it!"  You saved her life and that made her believe in super heroes. Since it was about time to head home, they settled on sharing the photos via facebook but unfortunately, she didn't have any. "Ok, I got an idea, you keep the SD card and return it to me whenever possible." "Oh ok, but if you wish to take more photos, feel free and I'll get it later." That was so nice of him, but she insisted to give him the card.  He agreed with a smile which could change her whole world. It was time for her to pack up, and get back to reality. As she started walking, Mr. T invited her for "tra chanh" or lemon tea.   She nodded, wondering where and how could she get to the place. While waiting for Mr T, she had fun having a small talk with Mr. Afternoon Nap. "Uhmmm what's your name again?" "I am very bad at names so I always have to ask for it at least two times." He was awesome, she thought. Oopss, please don't take her heart away! In a few seconds, she just realized that she was riding on his motorbike. God, I knew how she felt. A glass of lemon tea quenched their thirst while sharing random stories with one another.  She found out that he was a Canadian root who grew up in Thailand but couldn't speak Thai.  He had been in Ha Noi for two weeks as an engineering intern. Those words sounded like sweet whispers to her as she was mesmerized by his perfect teeth, soulful eyes, and eyebrows which were delicately painted under his forehead.  What was she thinking?! Obviously, she couldn't get enough of him. How about Mr. T? I heard that she used to be crazy about him. Was she having an amnesia? Who knows? By the way, did she call Him Mr. Afternoon Nap? Weird!   "Guys, I have to go, I need to take my afternoon nap."  

Then she took a cab home. 

P/S: That was the first time she talked to him,  but it seems like she can write a page about him.