Friday, February 29, 2008

48 hours and then some

So, jet lag isn't just that you are tired. It's that you wake up at 2 am and can't get back to sleep because your body thinks it is 2pm and wants some good noodles for lunch. Which of course would be impossible to get, even if the restaurants were open, which they are not, because food in the United States just isn't as good.

It is a simple fact that everything we have eaten since coming back has more or less been a disappointment. Even our own home made breakfast today, with eggs which were likely laid a month ago, was terrible.

We got back very late on Wednesday night, exactly 27 hours after we were supposed to, because our 747 jumbo jet to Hong Kong had some unexplained mechanical problem and they ended up canceling our flight on Tuesday morning. United Airlines seemed like they had no clue how to handle the situation. (400 frustrated passengers!) But they eventually sent us off to the swankiest hotel in Sai Gon with meal vouchers and taxi fare and promised to get in touch with us with further instructions.

The New World Hotel is the very one that Bill Clinton stayed in when he visited Viet Nam a few years ago, and happens to be right across the street from the very modest place we stayed for our first two nights in Sai Gon. So it literally felt like the chickens had come home to roost. (And yes, there ARE chickens in downtown Sai Gon, LOL.)

The New World has the most beautiful swimming pool I have ever seen. It is designed so the water is at the exact same level as the tile patio surrounding it. The whole area was filled with tropical plants and chaise lounges, big white umbrellas and beautiful fluffy blue towels. The water was about 85 degrees, which is to say hot as a tub, but since the air on Tuesday was in the high 90s, it was actually refreshing.

The boys wanted to use our 'lost day' for hanging at the pool. Nguyen was on a quest for his last street vendor meals. He had visited the Banh Xiao stall the day before and wanted another go at it. This one, he said, had curry in it, which made the rice flour pancake yellow. It was the size of a dinner plate and stuffed with bean sprouts and shrimp, pork and squid. He took off for the afternoon while the kids and I took naps.

Which is a darn good thing, because United left us a message that we were to get up a 3am and take a cab to the airport for a 5am check in.

So, for the second day in a row we were up WAY before dawn. We got to the airport and all 400 displaced passengers, with our mountains of luggage, were in line trying to find out if we were going to get home today.

United got us seats on Cathay Pacific for the long leg from Hong Kong to San Fransisco. And United could take care of us for the rest of the flights. (4 altogether!)

From the time we got up to the time we got to our front door, we had been traveling for 33 hours. Yesterday I slept until 2:30 pm.

We are home. But oddly, we don't feel like we are home. Our house seems strange to us. Overstuffed with stuff we don't really need. Big. (Which is funny because it has always seemed too small.) It is strangely silent here. The hum of the highway, which used to irritate me no end, is nothing compared to the constant honking of traffic in Viet Nam. At 11pm last night I stepped out of the house and was stunned at how quiet it was.

And the world here, even with it's billboards and signs and cars and traffic and mini malls and STUFF seems, strangely, bare. Where are the street vendors on all the sidewalks? In this neighborhood, where, even, ARE the sidewalks?

The whole time I was in Viet Nam, I felt unable to really say much about it. The experience was so huge in the experiencing of it, it seemed impossible to distance myself enough to really look at it and take it in. I wonder if that will change now that we are back.

Last night we looked at some of the photos and I am very glad we took so many, because truly, I had already forgotten so much.

We are home. Sort of.

Thanks to all for your comments along the way. I finally got a chance to read them this morning and it moves me to know that you all were with me on this amazing journey. I am sure that I will be writing about it more, as I process it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rain in Nha Trang

It has been raining since my parents left, but we are still having a great time in Nha Trang. The other night, my new-to-me sister in law took us out to dinner. It just so happened that she chose the place we have been going for coffee and breakfast every morning, so we were already regulars!

It was a great evening. We were joined by her uncle, who works for the train department. This was fortuitous, as Nguyen and I were trying to get 1st class train tickets to Saigon for tomorrow, but discovered that they were sold out. I am a little embarrassed to admit that we took advantage of the connection and let Nguyen's brother ask about securing us seats. The train guy/uncle got on the phone to try and get us tickets.

Dinner wasn't really dinner, but more a series of stunningly delectable appetizers and tons of beer. At first we were fairly moderate, having a round, then another. The Vietnamese drink their beer with ice, but Nguyen and I drink it straight. Luckily it was good and cold. We prefered Saigon to Heineken. The dishes served ranged from very simple (stir fried corn kernals with chili peppers, pork and green onions) to complex (shrimp spring rolls wrapped in a kind of rice paper netting I have never seen before. They were incredible.) We had little clams with garlic and panko breadcrumb topping, cuttlefish steamed and served with soy sauce, stir fried noodles (for the kids... they are now, officially, addicted to them) and, well, beer.

As the evening wore on, I noticed that my lack of Vietnamese seemed less and less important. We were laughing and relaxing and having a grand time. The train guy, it turned out, wasn't a typical lower ranking party guy at all. He was brought up in the South and vehemently opposed the communist government, even trying to escape the country several times. Once, he actually almost made it, but had a change of heart as he realized that he would never see his mother again, so he came back and decided to make the best of it. And he has been very successful. Now he pins his hopes for the future of his country on his children and their generation. And as Vietnam is the fastest growing economy in Asia, I'd say he has reason to be hopeful.

The waitress brought a case of beer and left it at the end of the table. I start splitting beers with Nguyen so that we are only drinking half what my brother in law and the train guy are having. And still, my lightweight husband starts getting pretty plastered. But he says to me that this is a right of passage that he missed because he had to leave the country when he was so young. I laugh and agree to help him stagger back to the hotel later.

"You can put this in your blog," he says. And here it is.

Where are the kids, you ask? For the last couple of nights, they have been invited to spend the night at my in laws. We were happily suprised to find that the boys have a 10 year old cousin who is visiting from Australia with his mom and baby sister. Vincent is a very sweet boy and the kids get along famously. And older cousin Tam watches over all of them. So they are safely off at Pop's house.

The restaurant is beautiful. It is really just a big thatched roof with rust colored columns and a big tile floor. In Vietnam, there is very little distinction between the inside and outdoors. It surprises me that there are no walls at this place. Everything is just wide open. There is a patio with a canvas awning which abuts the sea wall, so we are just feet from the pounding surf. It is one of the few places in Nha Trang that you don't hear the roar of traffic, which is why we have grown to love it for breakfast. And the bathrooms are beautiful! They are housed in a separate building. I told Nguyen that if I ever build a house in Vietnam, I want it to be like those bathrooms. Brown tile floors, ochre yellow walls, a thatched roof and dark wood trim.

Finally, Nguyen says he is ready to go back to the hotel. We survey the damage. A case of beer bottles, several empty plates... big, big, smiles.

And 4 first class train tickets to Saigon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A down day in Nha Trang

My parents left today, and I confess I am feeling melancholy about it. Their flight leaves Nha Trang in a few minutes and we won't see them again until May.

Noah and I also had a bit of tummy trouble today. Nothing serious, but we just didn't feel up to speed. So we skipped the trip to the aquarium and spent the last couple of hours lying in our room watching Animal Planet on tv. For lunch, Nguyen brought us a couple of loaves of French bread, right from the oven. They were still warm and were a great choice.

This has been an extraordinary trip so far. We have packed our days, and today was no exception. Before they left for the airport, we went with my parents to the Cham temple at the top of the hill in the neighborhood we are in. It is a beautiful place. The towers are from the 9th century and 4 of the 8 of them survive. Originally Hindu, they are now a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist. Inside each tower is a diety, to which pilgrims light incense and leave offerings. 3 of the towers are really small, and one is quite large. I left my shoes at the door of one of the small ones, as requested, and entered. It was filled with incense smoke and the interior walls were black from 11 centuries of smoke. The diety presiding inside was a stone depiction of a woman, I think, who was dressed in actual cloth clothing. The incense sticks were in a package next to a burner filled with sand, so I drew one out and said a little prayer to my God for the safe travel of my parents, and my thanks for such a wonderful, life changing trip. Then I lit the stick and poked it in the sand with the dozens of others.

Outside one of the towers, a trio of Cham musicians were playing. There was a flute player and two drummers playing traditional Cham drums. The drums intriqued me, of course. They are wooden cylinders, about 2 1/2 feet long. The musicians play both ends at once. On one end, they use a stick.... on the other, their hand. During a break, I squatted beside them and peppered them with questions, which Nguyen translated. The drums they were playing were so old they had no idea when they were made. The end they play with sticks is made of buffalo hide. The other end is goatskin. The ropes holding the heads on are also buffalo. The drums sounded beautiful. I asked one of the drummers if he knew of anyone still making these drums and it turned out that his brother does. Unfortunately, the brother lives in the mountains, several days journey away, so there is no way I can buy one. I said I would love to take a lesson from him some day. He said he would teach me to play and then make a recording for me so I could practice. Just like Sidy!

I asked the drummers if the rhythms had dances associated with them. At that, the drummers called over several women who were dressed in traditional highland garb. They began to play a different rhythm and the women danced for us. We were simply thrilled. Like African music, the rhythm changed in the song to indicate a change in dance steps. And like African music, the two drums were playing different rhythms which layered together into a very complex and beautiful piece.

Nguyen took a ton of photos, so as soon as we are home I'll post some of them. Talking with those Cham drummers was really a highlight for me!

But my tummy is still bothering me and my parents left today. I am going to miss them terribly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back to Nha Trang

We are packing so much into each day, I am losing all track of time. Perhaps I am going to borrow an idea from my Buddhist friends and 'be here now'.

So, right this very moment I am sitting in a dusty internet cafe near our hotel. It is filled with teenage kids. There is American music playing and lots of cigerette smoke. The keyboard sits on a filthy pull out shelf covered with cigarette burns. My guts are churning a little, so I may have to cut this short! I will say we have been remarkably lucky with regard to our intestinal health. No major problems so far. The food here is great. I have never tasted such fresh seafood in my life, which is ironic considering I am from New England.

This morning we took a boat ride up the river that empties right next to our hotel. It was amazing that after only a few hundred yards, the hustle and bustle of Nha Trang was replaced with the most idyllic countryside. We saw amazing birds of all descriptions, including one with a fantastic irridescent green tail. Tons of various herons and egrets. Water buffalo and cattle grazing by the banks. Very few people, as they must have all been off working.

At one point we passed under a rickety wooden bridge that my husband confessed he rode over on a scooter on his last trip. He said that halfway across, he got scared, but couldn't turn back, so he crossed over. As we passed under it, I realized it was shear madness for him to cross!

This has been an amazing experience. So much has happened. There are simply no words to describe exactly what this has been like.

I tried to go to church in Da Lat on Sunday, even though the only service is at 5am. I was worried I would oversleep, so basically was awake all night. The plan was that I was going to go with my wonderful nephew, Tam. At 4am, I got up and got dressed, trying not to wake my kids. Nguyen was up anyway because he has been waking up that early every day. At 4:30 I went to my nephews room and knocked on the door. I didn't want to knock too loudly because our driver was in there, too. I tried again. No response. He was still asleep! Nguyen offered to walk me to the church, but I didn't want to leave my kids alone in case they woke up. I didn't feel comfortable walking alone at that hour, either, so it turned out that Nguyen went to the service instead. It was one of those lovely little turns of events that don't seem quite accidental in retrospect.

Later that day, I walked up the church with him. It is a beautiful, weather beaten cathedral. There are bright stained glass windows and hand carved stations of the cross all around the nave. I knelt in the front pew to pray, then joined Nguyen back outside. He was chatting with an old man in the yard.

On the steeple of the church, there is a rooster wind vane. All the years he was growing up, Nguyen referred to the church as the chicken church. He was always curious about that weather vane. So he asked the old man about it.

The rooster is the symbol of St. Peter, of course. As I stood there, I was suddenly deeply moved that Peter is symbolized by his failure. His denial of Christ. It reminds me that we are all, well, human. St. Peter, thank you for that.

This coming Sunday, we have arranged for the boys and I to accompany my father in law to his church at the far more civilized (but less monastic) hour of 7:15. I think he is very excited we are going with him!

Tonight we are taking the whole family out to dinner as a thankyou for their great hospitality. And we have all of us, my parents and children and I, agreed that it is imperative that we learn Vietnamese. Already we have picked up quite a bit of the language, but it only serves to show us how much we don't know.

Nguyen just tapped me on the shoulder to tell me that he is going to walk over to watch someone who is weaving a basket boat on the sidewalk a block down the road. We watched, a few days ago, when he and his family (including the ancient mother) were hauling 25 foot bamboo out of the water and onto the shore. They had paddled up river for hours to cut the bamboo, then floated it back downriver to cut and split into thin pieces to use to make baskets. Around here, some of the fishermen use a boat that is actually a shallow, round basket, sealed with resin. The boats are about 5 feet in diameter, and actually weigh a ton, so when they have to move them on the ground, they tip them onto one side and roll them.

My guts have subsided a bit. I still can't access my blog to read comments. I wonder if the government of Vietnam has blocked blogger? I have heard that that sometimes happens in China. In any case, when I get back to the states, I will catch up.

Finally, I have to say I am tremendously grateful for this time with my parents. It turns out we are great traveling companions. We have been very relaxed and have had a wonderful time together. We keep talking as though we are going to do this together again... and I think we might actually do it.

I pray you are all doing well. I miss you guys!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Da Lat

Our days are so full I am finding it difficult to get away and find a computer. Plus, for some reason, I am unable to view the blog, which means I am not able to read any comments. But I CAN create posts, so here I am at 8:10 pm Da Lat time, taking a moment to catch up.

Several days ago, in Nha Trang, we almost decided not to come to Da Lat, my husband's home town, because we heard it was overrun with western tourists and it is a several hour drive. In the end, though, we discovered that if we used the new road, it is only three hours from Nha Trang, so we went ahead and hired a driver to bring us up.

Thank God.

It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever been. The drive through the mountains was utterly stunning. The new road is still cut from the side of the mountain, so it twists and turns along, creeping upward in some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen in my life. You can see for miles, into sweet valley communities at the bases of ancient, rounded, lush green mountains. We drove into the clouds and could only see the white line of the road. We drove along craggy granite and sandy red orange limestone. Everywhere you looked the view was more spectacular then the last one.

Finally we began to drive through high mountain fields bursting with artichokes, coffee, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages and all kinds of flowers and vegetables. The mountain people (called Hmong in RI... they have a different name here in Viet Nam) have lovely villages high in the mountains. Some have started farming in a more modern way, but many still practice slash and burn agriculture. Their houses, high in the mountains, are built of the local pine and are painted bright, happy colors.

Da Lat itself is a beautiful city. It is true that the tourism has affected it tremendously, with whole neighborhoods torn down to create street after street of small hotels. But get just a block or two away from the main town center and suddenly you are in a quaint, colonial style village. Before the French arrived, Da Lat didn't exist... so here the French influence is still very strong.

Yesterday (it seems longer ago than that) we went to see my husband's childhood home. It has seen better days. My father in law built it some 40 or 50 years ago, and since they left Viet Nam, it has changed hands several times, always through party officials. It has finally ended up a somewhat dilapidated rental unit for college kids. The corrugated steel roof is rusting through and all the paint is being eaten away by mildew. But still, my husband grew up in this home and it was very moving to stand in the very alley he walked up every day to get to his school.

As we stood there, an old man next door walked over to us and smiled.

"Bonjour" he said. I was suprised because we have heard absolutely no French since being here. We excitely replied and told him that Nguyen grew up next door. He lit up when he recognized him, shouted for his daughter and invited us in.

What a lovely visit we had. The old man's daughter was my eldest sister in law's best friend as a child. She asked after everyone and invited us to dinner, but since there were 8 of us, we said it would be too much of an imposition, but promised to come back next time we are in Viet Nam.

Ok. So here are the all important details.

We have completely violated every single food rule our travel doctor gave us.

Raw veggies: couldn't live without 'em.
Ice Cream: Yup, we finally caved and bought the kids packaged cones.
Ice: Only once, with fresh squeezed orange juice. We drank the juice really fast while knocking on wood.
Street vendors: Oh my, yes. Thank goodness for the street vendors. The Pho for dinner tonight was some of the best I have ever had. We sat on plastic stools around tables on the sidewalk and had a great meal for a buck a bowl.
Unpeeled fruit: Strawberries and a whole bunch of fruits we don't know the names of. In most cases we wash them in bottled water. The green mango from the market was peeled by our vendor, with a knife of unknown cleanliness. We dipped the mango in a chili infused salt and assumed it would kill any bad beasties.

Are we tempting fate? Perhaps, but so far only Emmett has had any distress and it might have been a virus he brought from home. It was a 24 hour deal.

We are growing to love this country. And whenever we practice our Vietnamese, we are universally met with great enthusiasm. In fact, we have had such joy at engaging with the Vietnamese people. It has been one of the best parts of this trip.

That's all for now. We are about to open a bottle of Da Lat wine for a nightcap.

All Love,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another Vietnam post

There is so much to talk about I can't even come up with a name for my posts. Do I want to tell about the lunch we had yesterday? We went back to my Father in laws for the second time. The dishes were more or less the same, but the mood was much less formal. More laughing. More relaxed. At one point my Father in law, Pop, put his hand on my leg and I held it for awhile. Unheard of, really, but totally comfortable.

We practiced our paltry Vietnamese while eating a kind of sweet and sour fish soup, stir fried cuttlefish (delicious) and grilled prawns, this time with the shell removed because Chi Leung realized that Americans prefer it that way.

For dinner we found a lovely sort of fusion place across from our hotel. The food was boring compared to the delicacies we have been eating, served with plain old soy sauce instead of the Umami bomb fish sauce combos that my sister in law makes. But it is the only place where we can hear the ocean instead of the constant thrum of motor scooters, so for 750,000 dong (about $60) we had 2 bottles of local wine, 6 or 8 dishes, including shrimp and wild boar, and a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label to go.

We went back this morning for coffee and french bread with fried eggs. They were the best eggs I have had in decades. Chickens work hard to scratch out their dinner here, but oh, does it pay off. The yolks were bright orange and stood to attention like sun soldiers on the white plates. We broke open the french bread loaves and stuffed them with the eggs. My husband ate these very sandwiches as a child. One every 12 days because they only had one chicken and had to collect eggs for over a week so that every kid would get a sandwich.

Back at the hotel, we cracked the Johnny Walker and got weepy listening to Nguyen tell us the story of the day he left Vietnam. It is all coming back to him. He has remembered the details all along, but last night described the terror for the first time. It was the first time he had seen the ocean, since he's from the mountains. His first time on a boat. Trying to go from a fishing boat to a huge American ship, in the dark, knowing that some of the people didn't make it because they got crushed between the two vessels. Sea sickness and terror as he watched the church they had spent the night in get bombed as they were pulling off shore.

It is almost impossible to imagine this live and let live people in the midst of a war. Just watching the traffic convinces me that they are essentially a peaceful bunch. I have seen nothing that even remotely hints at hostility, even when there was a minor collision between two motor scooters yesterday, one of which carried a man, his wife and his infant baby. Not even a hostile glance as they pulled apart and went on their way.

It is hard to imagine a war here.

Today, we are off to the market.

The internet connection is so bad I was unable to read your comments... so please know that I am not ignoring you all! I will check in when I can.

All Love,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where to begin?

I am sure I feel a little like my friend Amy did during her trip to India. There is no way to really describe what you are seeing and experiencing. No way to communicate what Vietnam is. I can tell you about the breakfast we ate this morning, in the middle of a sidewalk, on tiny plastic stools, squatting over banh xiao pancakes fried on tiny pans over a charcoal brasier. Or I can tell you about the lunch at my father in laws house, where we were the guests of honor, waited on hand and foot, served exotic and expensive dishes that my sister in law spent the morning preparing. My step mother and I had to work hard not to weep at the kindness and hospitality of it, because we knew that if we did start crying we would embarrass our hosts.

The drive from Saigon (more properly, Sai Gon) was a sort of Asian version of Godard's Le Weekend. We cruised past life on the road. 9 1/2 hours of scene after scene. Cows in front yards. Water buffalo lounging in a muddy puddle. In Sai Gon, slums the likes of which I have never seen before. And God this is a filthy country. Trash everywhere. But every morning the proprietors of the little shops come out to sweep their sidewalks, just in time for the party officials to cruise down the street littering it with leaflets thrown out of the back of a truck blasting martial music, or the local pooches taking their morning crap. (Poor dogs, too. You can tell from the texture of their shit that they aren't eating purina. More like rice and veggies, if they are lucky.)

I have realized over the past few days that in the midst of the sensual overwhelm (sights, smells, and oh, God, the constant, unrelenting noise) I am quite moved that this strange place, In which I am a complete stranger, is my husband's homeland. We are more different than I ever imagined. More different than he ever let on. But the fact that he feels right at home here, where I feel like I have landed on Mars, says it all.

The children are wonderful. They are just totally unselfconcious and interested. Bored, sometimes, when we aren't at the beach. (Which has been most of the time.) Their circadian rhythms have been off since we got here, with the unfortunate side effect that they have been getting up at 3 am and waking me up along with them. This morning they sat on the balcony of our room, overlooking the South China Sea, and watched the sun rise. I tried to get more sleep.

Emmett was sick for a day, throwing up everything he ingested, including rehydration salts. I was worried, but just as I was threatening to take him to the hospital for IV rehydration, he ate a bowl of white rice and drank a bottle of water and is now swimming with his Boppa.

Initially, we checked into a Canadian owned hotel in the midst of the tourist district of Nha Trang. It was loathesome. I felt like I was in the middle of Fort Lauderdale with cyclos. I found out later, after we checked out, that my father actually went back to his room and cried because he had traveled so far only to land in his worst nightmare: a tourist trap. So, we asked Nguyen and his brother to find us better digs. We ended up across the bridge, less than 3 miles, but a world away, in a hotel that doesnt' have any signs in english, with a balcony overlooking the bay and no top sheets. The staff is friendly and happy when we try our Vietnamese out on them. We love the room and the beds. We don't love the canned bitter melon tea in the mini bar. The beach is too filthy for swimming at this end of the bay, but you can walk out the front door of your hotel and are right in the middle of Vietnam with nary a white person in sight. You should see the looks we attract. Frank curiosity, especially since we are traveling with a Vietnamese man. Looks, giggles and mostly huge smiles. We are a parade whenever we walk down a street. (Carefully avoiding the gutter!)

I am overwhelmed in all ways. But wouldn't miss this for the world.

Internet access is cheap, but I have to wait my turn at a cafe, so I am not sure when I can post again.

And I must be perfectly frank that I don't miss anyone from home. I have barely thought about home at all, we are so busy processing what we are experiencing here. I would probably feel differently if I weren't traveling with my kids.

By the way, Peter, as we were driving up the coast, I thought to myself how much you would love this place. Maybe someday you will come here with us.

All Love,

Saturday, February 09, 2008

We are here!

After 30+ hours of travel time, I am sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Saigon. It is about 7am local time. The flights were uneventful, which is to say a smashing success. I will never forget what it is like to fly over Hudson's Bay and into the endless night of the North Pole.

We are tired, but very energetic. Haven't had breakfast yet, but were awoken to the sound of roosters crowing in the middle of downtown.

Had a little taste of bureaucracy last night when we were told to fill out the same form three times because we hadn't done it EXACTLY the way the 22 year old Immigration Agent wanted. And already some questions about how the venerable grandparents reacted to the amerasian grandkids. The kid/agent inquiring first made sure I couldn't speak Vietnamese before delicately asking the question.

The weather is mild. I'd say about 80 degrees this morning. The Hotel (extravagant at $50 per night for the 4 of us. $35 for my parents) has the best shower I have ever had and a view of an alley.)

It is incredible that yesterday-ish, I was having a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee in an airport in Warwick and today-ish, I am in Ho Chi Minh City, listening to Vietnamese radio and the sound of scooters beeping endlessly.

Love, Love, Love,

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hurry up

And wait.

Our flight this morning was canceled yesterday, due to anticipated bad weather in Chicago. Should we be surprised by a snowstorm in February in Chicago? I think not!

So the boys and Nguyen and I went to the Ash Wednesday service last night at Grace and I felt pretty darn penitential, all things considered. I was moved that Nguyen accepted the ashes on his forehead and then wore them to dinner afterwards. We went to a funky Portuguese place in East Providence and ate fish.

Today we get what feels like a free day. We are packed and ready. We have no more major errands to run. I even left a message for my drumming teacher that if he has a spare hour I'd love to have a lesson before we go. We slept late and tidied up a bit and have time to blog about it.

Life is good, even when it is not what we expected.

Tomorrow, God willing, we get on the plane and end up halfway around the world.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It's hard to be a light in the world....

When you are in full scale panic mode.

Which I am.

Right this second.

Between Nguyen harrassing me about about getting the tax stuff together and the fifty THOUSAND things I still need to do before we leave for Vietnam at 4am on Thursday, I am in a more or less constant state of melt down mode.

Which isn't to say that I am screaming or anything. Just. Edgy.

And since I get the trots when I get nervous, I have been spending a bit more time than usual in our lovely 1927 with the 1950's redo pink and black tiled bathroom.

Too much information, I know.

Tonight I am going to my drum class, and hoping that concentrating on a lively African rhythm will set me straight.

And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. Because it's hard to be a light in the world without God's help, too.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A bit of fluff

Yeah, it's a meme. But it was so funny I had to do it!

Thanks to Marybeth for this one.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car): Sophie Mazda
2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Chocolate Dansko

3. YOUR NATIVE AMERICAN NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Purple Rabbit
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born): Elizabeth Newport
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first three letters of your last name, first two of your first name): Ngura
6. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Red Wine

7. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers): Albert Lewis
8. STRIPPER NAME ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Chanel #5 Reeses (That one so doesn't work...)

9. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your fifth grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Deltradicci Denver
10. SPY NAME (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Autumn Iris
11. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Apple Red Sweater
12. HIPPIE NAME (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Banana Beech