"I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing; kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles."- Audrey Hepburn

Dec 3, 2009


Consumed by soberness of practical, humanistic sensibility
Can't even stay drunk with thoughts to escape self-destructive reality.

Schizophrenia - is socially accepted. Really, in words, it's ok.

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.
How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?
For the moment passes, it is forgotten;
the mood is gone;
life itself is gone
[Dec 3rd, 2009] [Az]

Nov 30, 2009

[Annual Christmas wish list - 2009 version]

Nov 29th, 2009 11:12pm

It has been a month since I experience my seasonal epiphany, when it finally hit me that autumn has come. To be naively honest, I do not want to expect myself 30 days later, having another epiphany, this time, with a realization that “Damn, winter is here.” I should have known earlier that I should not wait until after stuffing myself with Thanksgiving goodies that those crazy individuals who started playing Christmas music before Nov 15ths, those whom I cursed at for ruining my autumn mood, are actually faster in the process of accepting the truth than I am. However, the first snow is still not here yet, so I have an excuse for my slow reaction. After all, it is not winter until the first REAL snow flake hits the ground, at least in my opinion.

I do not know when I started the habit of compiling a Christmas wish list, which I know as a matter of fact, will not be fulfilled even 75%. Nevertheless, some anonymous individual has said “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” so I told myself “Shoot for a 10 item wish list, even if people fail, you’ll still get one.”

Thus, from last year Christmas wish list: Dec 4th, 2008 11:12pm (crazy time coincidence right there, a hint of a Christmas miracle? *sparkle eyes*)

Snow globe: "Thích cái này lâu rồi, không biết vì sao thích mà chỉ đến Christmas mới thích thôi" … --> NOT GRANTED *sad*
The Twilight Saga: "… chỉ mong được sở hữu để có thể highlight xanh đỏ tím vàng và bookmark đây đó" --> GRANTED: I actually went out and bought myself the whole collection while I was waiting at the airports during the summer.
Ipod: "… Cái này ít người dùng, mà nhìn rất cá tính, nên nếu thấy nhất định sẽ mua, không cần ipod nữa" --> GRANTED: Hahah, I’m such a hypocrite. I ended up getting an itouch
Áo lạnh: "winter coat của Zara, màu tím caro đen" --> NOT GRANTED
Make – up: "cần dụng cụ make up gây ấn tượng mạnh" --> PARTIALLY GRANTED: I’m getting there.
Letters/cards: "Dạo này rất thích nhận được những thứ viết tay …" --> SOMEWHAT GRANTED: still love them though
Dinner: "Ideal là candle light hoặc ít ra cũng formal, để có cớ dress up và make up" --> NOT GRANTED Acceptant letter from colleges --> OBVIOUSLY GRANTED: otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here.

It seems like half of my wish list is fulfilled … by myself. I ended up just go and buy most of the thing I wanted. After all, I’m not the type to be sitting around and waiting for others to fulfill my wish, although that does a little bit too much harm for my own wallet *wince*.

One thing I realized about my Christmas list last year was: my writing style has completely changed. Reading through the entry, I thought to myself: “Damn, was I this childish 360 days ago?” I can’t even believe it with my own eyes and mind. All of my entries have become more serious, philosophical and *ahem* either more cynical or romantic. Ah, for better or for worse.

I actually tried to put a good amount of thinking into this year wish list. After all, I’m 19 and, supposedly, a realist. I am no longer the little kid who waited for my parents to fake the Santa Clause theme and hid the presents around the house. Yet, I cannot deny that, as a 19 year old, the immature, childish and hopeful side of my personality still waits for a Christmas miracle, an ultimate wish that would makes me super duper happy until next year Christmas, when another ultimate wish takes up its place. Ah, humanity and its greedy nature.

Here it come the annual wish list, version 2009:

1. Since now that I know for sure I’m coming home for Christmas, I wish I would survive the 42 hour long flight and make it home safely. I just want to go to midnight mass with my mom and sisters - it’s been a while.

2. Snow globe: I always look forward to a meaningful and breathtakingly beautiful snow globe as a surprise present every Christmas.

3. The lilac purple PSP-3000: I’m such a hypocrite, claiming not to be materialistic and then put in a super duper high-tech expensive unnecessary item as the 3rd item on the list.

4. More baking and pastry supplies so I can expand my reputation to more goodies other than cheesecake and cookies. Plus, I want to make more people happy with my hand-made sweets, then they will have to look forward to my weekly baking time *laugh*

5. Annual Christmas cards and letters from friends and family, especially from my lovely girls, Bloom.

6. Dinner: every year I would hope for a candle lighted dinner at a formal restaurant, doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it is a place that makes me feel warm and happy when it is cold and snowing outside. Ah, it is so hard nowadays to have proper dinnertime.

7. Hand-knitted scarf : I put this in just for you Christi.

8. Hugs and warm coffee/chocolate: come on, no one says no to these. They have to be in every wish lists in the world *smile*

9. Yamashita Tomohisa posters + CDs + concert DVD: if only I could go to Japan and get these myself *sign*

10. Disney items: anything that is Disney related, preferably Aladdin, Lion King, or Eeyore, and no Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Snow White *roll eyes*

I know Christmas is not supposed to be about the presents, but I … love opening Christmas presents and feel all excited about it. I love going shopping and spending crazy money on gifts. Then I get to customize them, wrap them and attach cute notes and cards with them. It is a tradition that makes people happy, I don’t mind being tradition in these occasions.

I now officially announce that I am in my crazy Christmas mood. Beware of ridiculous decoration and Disney Christmas music upon visiting my room or me.


Nov 19, 2009


Rain. White sky, white space. Needles and needles of water are stabbing into the barren ground.

Wind. Turns and turns of freezing wind are screaming in the dazzling white cosmos.

You hate rain. You hate this gloomy weather which always seem to try to bring everything down with it.

I imagine you sitting by the window, drown in the color of pure white, with a dream like expression on your face. How strange it is to see your bright smile and happy face being replaced with a thoughtful and melancholy expression. You are just sitting there, looking like you are dreaming about some far away fantasy world – one that exists only in those heartfelt, happy-ending Disney movies that you love to watch whenever the real world lets you down.

It’s so unreal, didn’t look out below, watch the time go right out the window, trying to hold on…

It’s raining. Rain is the same everywhere, real or unreal. After all, it will return to where it has begun - the ocean. Life is similar - the little circle of life. Sometimes you wish that time would freeze so you can live in sweet dreams and never have to wake up? Maybe you wonder how unfairly destiny treats you by giving you all and then take them away from you.

Life hurts sometimes, and sometimes it can be hard, but it won’t always be that way. There has to be a reason for you to live

Yiruma is playing his heartbreaking melodies. So many times I have told you that I would fall hopelessly in love with a sweet and warm singing voice accompanied by the soothing melody of the piano, like Yiruma, with vocal. You are listening, aren’t you? Those miraculous notes take away your fear and are the lullaby that you yearn for every night. I wish I would be able to play the piano just like this unforgettable melody of sadness that the rain is playing.

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.

Have you ever wondered what the real “me” is? Is it the cheery and enthusiastic girl who always smiles and loves to make people smiling? Or is it the thoughtful, emotional and vulnerable girl who hides inside? Or is it just me when I’m with you?

If you draw out what you are feeling, you will be able to feel a little bit better, you know?

Is it possible for other people to understand others’ feelings, even just a little bit? To have a person to understand you is hard, isn’t it? It takes timeso be patient, my little girl, just wait and your time will come. There must be someone out there in this world of millions and millions human being. There has to be, has to be, has to be.

Naturally, human does not know what is right and wrong

You know, what is right is what you believe. Are you trying to hard? Are you not trying hard enough? Should you give up or should you keep on going? The answers are all in your heart – listen, and follow.

Just forget about yesterday. There’s no point in being upset. The importance is tomorrow. Keep thinking about the future and keep on going. Even if tomorrow is going to be difficult, there will always be the day after tomorrow. If it still does not go the way you want, there will still be the day after that

You know what you want – make it come true.

As long as you live, that’s what you want: to have a reason to go on. As long as there’s hope, you are not going to give up.

You always joke that you are spoiled and you know it is true. You claim yourself as a strong, independent girl, yet being dependent has become part of you “style”. You like to be taken care of and you want attention. Is that what you always ponder upon? Staring at the rain, are you thinking that there is no one in this world who cares for you? That is not true, my girl, because there is always me. Nevertheless, as much as I want to spoil you, to take you in my arms and protect you from all the cruelty in the world, you know I cannot be here forever.

Have you thought about spreading you wings and fly in to the real world? Are you ready for that, my little girl?

If it’s just a little bit of difficulty and you have already depended on other people, that is not good. What if, someday, everything and everyone that you depend on disappear?

Are you scared? Are you afraid of that day to come, my dear? Are you anticipating the moment with anxiety and insecurity? You said that nobody is perfect and that is the reason why you need the others me.

No one can live by himself

Is that what you think? Is that why you always get hurt so easily? Emotions are you strength, but they are also your weakness.

You can close your eyes to things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to things you don’t want to feel

Is that your excuse? If it is, it sounds pretty damn reasonable. Are you wishing that you had never put on that strong cover on yourself? Are there times when you just want to cry out loud? Are there times when you just want to break down and just don't bother to get up, just lying there in the middle of time and space, waiting for someone so come and pick you up?

Is that why you always have happiness on your face and bury the melancholy deep inside? Are you preparing yourself for something to happen so that you will be strong enough not to be defeated by agony?

Things happen when you least expect them to happen

Are you feeling insecure? Are you worried that because things are going too well, it will come right back at your face the next minute? Are you happy or are you sad? Are you regretting what you did?

It is not a coincidence that we meet each other. We don’t just pass by each other in life.

You said that you believed in fate. Do you know, my dear, that fate can be cruel?

Don’t cry. Keep smile!

Is that what you tell yourself every day in order to overcome the cruelty of destiny? Have you ever felt hopeless? Have you ever felt like you just want to give up everything? Have you ever felt like you are all alone in this world? Listen, my dear, the reason why you feel alone is because the stars around you are suffering, hesitating along with you. Shh! Listen to them. You will understand when you grow stronger and realize your surroundings. You’re not alone, my dear. Live as you want to live and ignore the destiny that torments you. And in the end, laugh at its face. You can do it, can’t you?

You know, your smile may make a person’s day. Your laugh can lift up an unhappy soul. Do you realize how much you mean to others? Are you thinking that nobody cares for you? In fact, you know, the world is a much better place with you in it. It is not a dream, isn’t it? You may ask. It is raining, and the world drowning in raindrops is a miracle. You are looking at the rain, immersing your feelings in your little dream.

Rain - coming to an end.


Nov 1, 2009

[Simply autumn]

This is one of the moments that I cannot take anymore of the plasma membrane and its electron transport system, nor can I have anymore tolerance for equilibrium constant and Fe concentration. These are the times when I wish I have a deadline to finish reading Catcher in the Rye or finish that essay on Existentialism in Shakespeare’s works. Recently, I have found myself using writing as an escape path from the confusing and complicated scientific world that sometimes is too much for my faint heart. I miss writing.

One of those days, I walked the usual fifteen steps to Starbucks under the grumbling, pouting grey sky. One of those days, I stood there five minutes staring at flocks and flocks of birds soaring through the sky, wondering how many of them there were. I admired the orange leaves twirling around in a fast pace tango dance with the wind. I could smell the sharp and crispy air and hear the crunchy sound of the leaves crumbling underneath my steps. Only then did it truly hit me that, autumn has come. I have been in denial for the past few weeks, telling myself that the weather has just been feeling “under the weather” for a short period of time and eventually it would get over it. Unfortunately, it did not.

The strange thing about autumn is that it is both emotional and indifferent at the same time; it is ambiguous. Spring and its vitality bring about happiness and hope. Summer and its cheerfulness personality carries with it handfuls of energy. Winter covers the world with melancholy and a feeling that everything is in slow motions. Autumn is just autumn. It is just that same old grey sky, occasionally generous enough to allow several rays of faint golden sunlight. It is neither joyful nor depressing; neither too warm nor too cold. Autumn gives out a feeling of a pacifist, playing the role of a mediator, trying to stop the potentially intense fight between summer and winter, with an extremely calm and straight face. Maybe because of that reason, I feel like autumn, under its emotionless disguise, is full of sweetness, peacefulness and love at heart.

Autumn is filled with sweet. It is the season where the signature extra-sweet Pumpkin Spice Latte in Starbucks makes it reappearance with such a hit. One can find the amazing smell of pumpkin spice everywhere he goes, combined with smells of cinnamon, of caramel, and of cider. From houses (and even in dorms’ hall) the air carries with it the luscious aroma of homemade pumpkin pies, banana breads and apple cinnamon rolls. Hot cocoa, marshmallows, candy bars fly out of Walmart’s shelves and restock themselves in the homely cupboard. On the streets, kids jumping up and down, dressed in costumes, counting the treats in their bucketful of candy. There must be something of characteristic of autumn that makes the human body yearns for the extra carbohydrates they try to stay away from all year.

Autumn is also the season when one solely fragile and honey colored sunlight can make people feel an abundance of warmth, when a freshly washed and dried scarf and jacket can make a person smile for the rest of the day. It is the season when humanity goes on a search for anything that can bring about the tiniest amount of heat.

Most likely for this reason, every year, the moment I realize that it is autumn, I have this buoyant and glowing feeling. The sweetness and the warmth from nature somehow make me feel unsatisfied and my heart aches for more of those pleasant feelings, from humanity. I yearn for emotions and affection.

Is this the reason why people are said to fall in love easier in autumn? It does not make any sense to my rational self, the self that constantly reminds me that: “Just because someone is kind to you doesn't means that it's love. Just because someone holds you doesn't mean that it's love. Just because someone kisses you doesn't mean that it's love. Just because someone says "I love you" doesn't mean that it's love.”

Despite all that logic, I am a person with extra sensitivity when it comes to touch, sound and smell; and autumn has all of these. I may not be able to remember a face, I may forget a name, but a faint smell of mint chocolate, a feeling of a protect hand around mine or a sweet, low voice saying my name would linger in my memory for days. I am intoxicated by these stimuli and even just a trivial amount of them would trigger all my senses, and breaks the controlled grips that I put on my emotions. It makes me wonder all the time, exactly what is it about autumn that makes my senses so much sharper and a hug, a touch, a voice or a smell so much more addicting?

Ah, this is why I said autumn is ambiguous. I cannot take a hold of its nature and it makes my mind fluttering and unclear. Just as I want to cast away all the science homework to create a piece of poetic writing, I want to abandon the realistic and cynical self to adopt the idealist and romantic one. I seriously consider putting aside all the priorities, plans, lists and anything that is predictable to be adventurous and just go with the flow.

This, is one of the moments that makes me want to fall, heads and heels, hopelessly, “unconditionally and irrevocably” in love, all over again.
[Nov 1 2009]

Oct 23, 2009

Perfectionist, me?

More than once in life, I have this faint idea that I am more of a perfectionist that I am willing to admit:

1. I believe: “If you don’t get a 100% on a test, then it’s nothing”. This belief gives me enough motivation to spend more hours than I want in the library and much less in everywhere else. It also gives me the 100% chance of disappointment of after getting test scores. (Even if the test is easy, then the percent expected would be leveled up to 120%)

2. Architecture, fashion, music, journalism, psychology, biology, international relations, humanity, linguistic, relationship, graphic design, culinary, martial arts: these are all the fields that I want to excel in. Yes, all of them.

3. My ideal boyfriend:
- British accent with a deep and low voice that brings immense warmth
- Play instrument”s”, preferably guitar and piano, compose, sing and dance
- Doesn’t have to be a genius but at least not a douche bag
- Mentally and physically healthy
- Just a right amount of romanticism and realism, not too much, not too little
- DO NOT sweet talk
- Decent-looking
- Conversationally entertaining
- Organized and responsible

- Level of maturity higher than a high-schooler
- Have enough love chemical in his heart
- Good sense of fashion
- High level of endurance and patience
- Strong enough to stand up for himself

Above is the [excessively] simplified version of my ideal life.

The first 2 items are to prove the extent of my ridiculous-ism. The third item is the one that has circled my mind for the past week and it will keep circling around there and drive me crazy unless I do something about it. So I write.

I am not an idealist. I am a realist. Therefore, I know better than to rely on more than 15% of that list. As a perfectionist, I have to shamefully admit that, more than often, I overlook up to 12 out of 14 these items. I categorize guys into smaller and more practical lists: “The good-looking”, “The nice personality”, “The perfect”, “The potential”, “The friends” and “The gimme-a-break” and I rank them. The ranks are dynamic; they change accordingly to words, actions and behaviors.

The thing is, you have to understand, I do try not to judge them boys but it is a difficult thing to avoid in this world full of dishonesty and ambiguity. I just want to protect my fragile soul and unstable mental mind.

In my opinion, creating a relationship is nothing more than solving a science problem using the algorithmic method:

1. You use your instinct and intuition, attempting to understand the nature of the problems.
2. If your intuition is correct, good for you. If your intuition is incorrect, you need to move on to a more time-consuming strategy. You try to look at the problem with another view, and test it out.

3. After various attempts, eventually you will find the correct answer and be happy. If you do not have enough patience and persistence, you give up. It can be sad, it can be disappointing, but eventually you will move on to another problem and start over.

Unfortunately, science has proved that intuition often brings about more inaccuracy and mistake than one wants. Also more than often, life has cruelly proved that patience and persistence do not always pay off. As a result, there are, indeed, many unsolvable problems in this world and most likely, they will be unsolvable until there comes an extremely outstanding, and also extremely lucky, figure.

From stepping over and recovering from many mistakes, I learn to overlook (many) certain things, to give numerous chances, to reassure myself with positive, to conceive optimistic and humanistic thoughts, to look at things from numerous aspects and to repeatedly put my endurance and forgiveness levels into tests. I swear to my heart, that the one who is ranked number one my list right now, the one who I have a crush on right now is nowhere to close to the list of perfection, he miraculously makes it to the top, just because my emotions overweight everything else.

Sometimes, a girl, regardless of how realistic and how rational she is, gives in to passion and emotions. Sometimes, however, all of these good virtues are too much to take and a girl has the right to be out of control, to break down, shed tears of disappointment, of pain and of unhappiness and to rightfully give up. Sometimes, it is too much to ask for.

It is often said that most girls are rather particular about guys. It is not the case. Girls make endless lists of impossible/ideal boyfriend but she disregards the lists at the moment her heart gives in. Guys, as a matter of fact, have more [great] expectations that they appear to be. Consider these:

1. When a guy considers a girl pretty, he puts into mind her skin complexion, eyes, lips, cheekbones, eyelashes, eyebrows and hair. Girls have to stock up on cleanser, toner, moisturizer, lotion, foundation, powder, oil control,sunscreen, day cream, and night cream with different pH levels (we learn more about pH through makeups than through Chem lecture). Girls get comments when her skin is too pale, too tanned, too dry, too oily, her foundation is too thick or that the blush is too pink. Girls need lipsticks, lipgloss, eyeliner, eyeshadow, eyelash curler, mascara, false lashes, etc. Even her nails have to cut, filed and polished. Seriously, who cares if a guy does not have smooth skin, or that his eyelashes are not long and thick enough, or that his hair is not perfectly made? Who gives a guy a comment like “Jeez, your skin is really dry”. “Look, you have split ends!” or “Ugh, you should repaint your nails.”

2. Moving away from the face comes the body. A “hot” girl, depends on cultural views, should be either skinny or has perfect curves. If a girl is born with naturally perfect body shape, good for her. If not, it is a constant struggle, of social preferences and of self-esteem. Why is it that girls have higher rate of eating disorders that guys do? Because we are expected to be perfect. Who cares if a guy finishes a whole pizza by himself? Who cares if a guy eat 5 meals a day? While on the other hand, girls have to plan her diet, watch her calories, stock her fridges with fruits and yogurt and reluctantly turn away from the cookies, and get criticized for doing so. For god sake, girls share the same love for food just as anyone else on earth does then why does she have to constantly repress that thought? Besides the skinny types, there are girls who have to consume more sugar or fat then do particular exercises to get the “right curves”.

3. A girl is always expected to smell like a Victoria Secret store, not only her body, but her hair, her clothes, her purse and her room. However, the process of getting the perfect scent is not that simple. The perfume has to fit her ages, images and personality. Yes, a scent that fits personalities.

4. Of course, a girl cannot only have a pretty face, a good body and an appealing smell, but also has to be smart. She cannot be too smart though, which explains why sometimes girls have to play dumb to get guys. There are living proofs out there of women who are successful in their careers, financially independence and either single or suffering from multiple divorces.

5. Girls are expected to have good sense of fashion and therefore, to dress nicely. Colors have to be matched. Too revealing makes you a slut. Too conservative makes you non-attractive. Everything has to be at a perfect level. Not everyone is a fashion designer, you know.

6. And, it cannot be neglected that a girl also needs a perfect personality. There are different combinations: the good and loving girl, the active and outgoing girl and the sexy and attractive girl. If a girl is shy then she should act girly, cute, kind and extremely caring. Or she has to be friendly, outgoing, has a radiant smile, an enjoyable laugh and is able to make you smile all the time. Or she has to be flirty, sexy and driving your mind crazy. Where is the chance for a girl who does not satisfy all the requirements to fit in the categories? Where is the place for a funny and outgoing girl who sometimes has her moments and throws a fit? Where is the place for a smart, argumentative, ambitious yet tremendously caring and loving one?

7. Rarely, it is acceptable for a girl to be straightforward and “pushy”. Girls have to be patient and tell themselves not to send many texts, not to be obvious, play cool, play hard-to-get, and many other rules while her heart and mind are frustrated by the ambiguity and confusing words and actions of the guys. However, it is also not the right thing to do if a girl just sits around and waits for the love of her life to come. Again, every texts, every words, every actions a girl throw out there have to be FREAKING JUST RIGHT! Sometimes, a girl just wants to scream out loud "GOD DAMN IT, can't you just say it already? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING PLAYING WITH MY FEELINGS?"

I give up. I can’t do this anymore. It is too much for me to take. I am a perfectionist but how much effort do I have to put in just to find a person who truly cares? There are numerous times when I wish I do not have to force myself in the freezing cold shower, wish I do not have to spend an extra half an hour to put on makeup every morning, wish I do not have to remember all the skincare products whenever I pack, wish I do not have to make sure my nails look decent, etc. Cosmetics maybe my interest and fashion maybe my obsession but it’d be great if I can say I pursue those purely for pleasure, not for living up to expectations.

People can give me wise advices and tell me that I do not have to conform to the world, that I do not have to care about what other people things and that I can just live the way I want. What if the way I want to live is to live up to other people’s expectations? Then does that mean I have no choice but to conform? I have, numerously, reinvented my personality. I have tried many different characteristics: shy, quiet, studious, rebellious, outgoing, friendly, moody, caring, nonchalant, talkative, flirty …

What else do I have to do? I overlook things in other people but do people overlook things in me? What the hell do I have to do to be “just right”? If I can solve this with a math equation, I totally would. I am not desperate to be in a relationship. I still think relationships are bothersome. I'd love to be single and live life simply. Sometimes I don't say what I mean and I don't mean what I say. Sometimes I do not know what my heart wants and what my mind thinks.

I am cynical and I am judgmental. I speak my mind and I write my heart out. If my chaotic and frustrated thoughts bother you, speak your mind.


Oct 10, 2009

Just a little bit more love?

Imagine this:
One of those days, when the temperature drops to below 20 degree and the brutal wind is having fun with practicing its 100m sprint, you are wrapped up in layers of blanket, enjoying one of those “good-feeling” movies. With no worries in mind, you just relax and enjoy the moment.

Or this:
On the corner of the street, under a lonely street lamp, like a shadow, you’re standing. The night is clear and you can smell the crisped air. Your thoughts drift away to somewhere faraway. The bad news blows your mind. Your heart shatters and you feel like the world is crumbling underneath you.

Ask yourself what you’d feel in both situations.
What kind of feelings would be suitable in both scenes, you would ask?
Solitude, I would answer.

Whether it is a joyous or devastating moment, relaxing or stressful situation, in the middle of nowhere or on the busy street of the city, more than often, I would have this desire to feel a touch. Never mind the passionate embrace, or a loving hug. Never mind cuddling or being watched while falling asleep. If I could get those, that’s fabulous. If not, I’d be satisfied with just a light and tingling feeling of warmth, just a touch, on the hand, on the arm, on the shoulder, a pat on the head or even a heartfelt, invisible feeling of someone sitting next to me, for me to lean on whenever I need the support. Or at least, that's what I told myself.

It gets me thinking, what is it about these trivial physical movements that makes my heart ache? Since when do these become such fancy necessity in my daily life?

I have to make it clear that I had quite a reserved attitude toward physical contact. Growing up in a rather strict environment, I get to appreciate the hug and the touch. Sisters are huggable. Mommy is huggable if you are under age 5. Daddy is not huggable unless he has had some drinks with his friends. Male cousins are not huggable after age 10. Dogs and cats are huggable as long as they don’t end up on your bed. Girlfriends are huggable. Boyfriends are not huggable. The boyfriend does not even make the list. All are touchable except for boyfriends and the secret boyfriend.

I don’t know how I felt when I was first introduced to the liberal view of the hug and the touch. It took me by surprise, made me wonder “Really, I can do that?”

Eventually, it has become part of my life. I thought it was a good thing. There is nothing wrong with showing how we feel for each other. As friends, as lovers, as family, (as Barney), we give each other hugs. We hug when we’re happy, when we’re sad, when we’re angry or even for no reason at all.

There are also numerous other ways to express our feelings physically: holding hands, patting on the head, leaning on shoulders, cuddling, and many more. As humans, our pleasure in touching and holding those we love never cease? Human attachment consists of one person providing another with a safe haven when distressed and a secure base on which to explore. We need someone to stand by us, so that, by their existence, we know of our own. At all ages, we are social creatures. We gain strength when someone offers us, by words and actions, a safe haven: “I will be here. I am interested in you. Come what may, I will support you.” We spend our lives look for the source of that strength.

However, it gets me thinking, will these physical expressions ever lose their meanings from being overused. Once in my life, I thought it must be really special to get a hug. Now, I want more than just a hug to feel special. Or do I not?

Millions, billions, trillions sugar-coated words may not be able to penetrate my rational mind. Nevertheless, one single touch, one degree difference of warmth and my mind goes blank and my heart melts. Isn’t supposed to be only love that brings about the physical attachment? Or is it the physical attachment itself that brings about the feelings? Is it really my heart that wavers, or is it just my body reacts by instinct? It is mysterious. It is confounding. It leaves my feelings bewildered and my mind dazed. If I am already used to this liberal view, then why is it so goddamn irritating? Why is it that I want to unveil the supposedly casual message underlies these casual movements so bad my heart aches

What exactly the hell does a hug convey? What the hell is the logic for my bubbling feeling caused by such a mere touch?
So frustrating …
[az] Oct 09 Song playing: Skin On Skin - Sarah Connor
Just a little bit more love
Just a little bit more passion

This is how it should begin
Skin on skin

Heres a true romance

Be aware and take your chance
Tomorrow Im gonna leave you
But I am here for you tonight

Just a little getting close
Just a little more affection

Cause I dont think its a sin
Skin on skin

Dont you know that this game is to play
Just as long as its time
Cant you see that my hearts gotta know
When youre gonna be mine
So we better get it on

What is here will soon be gone
When the leaves are falling
Then maybe we could fall apart ....

Oct 6, 2009


For me, nothing can be worse than waking up to a grey, cloudy sky and raindrops falling on my window pane. Despite my obsession for fall/winter clothing and accessories, I find it depressing to admit that the days of spring and summer have gone and along with them, gone a bit of my cheerful spirit. I cannot express enough how much I love the golden rays of morning sunshine and the vast, clear blue sky. The shade of blue that makes my heart ache and my mind go blank every single time. It is like love at first sight over and over and over again.

For some reasons, gloomy days always put me in an extremely unstable state of mind and push that already established mood swing a little bit further on the edge. I hate it when my mood changes like Juicy Couture store changes their mannequins’ accessories: chaotic, unnecessary and it makes people wonder what the hell their problem is. If I could stabilize my mood just by hiring a better store manager with a better sense of what going on in the world beside his own, I could have done that long time ago. Unfortunately, that is just simply impossible.

A rainy day, a cup hot beverage and a glass window is all you need to shut my nonstop blabbering and over-energetic self off. Although I may make some attempts to cheer up my own day but they are all vain attempts. My mind wanders off, and most of the time, to the better, happier days of the past.

Memory is an extremely ambiguous concept. I hate the feeling that I can never get a grasp on my memories and never able to control them the way I want. They would fade away when I try desperately to hold on to them and they flood back in my head when I do not want any pieces of them. And rainy days are the times when they always seem to find their way back, whether I want it to happen or not.

Have you ever had that feeling when your Ipod plays a song that you have not listened for ages, and that song carries with it tons of images and emotions that bring tears to your eyes? That is exactly how I feel, often enough that it bothers my unsettling mind. And my senses are sensitive enough that even trivial things can trigger the flow of memories.

One of those days my Ipod would randomly play a song that makes me suddenly stop in the middle of what I am doing, and feel what I had felt ages ago. Those are the songs that I listened to on road trips with my family, songs that my friends and I practiced dancing to over and over again, songs that I listened to on the way to school and secretly during classes, songs that played in the background as I cried for the sad ending of my favorite drama, songs that played during the slow dance during homecoming, or songs that played on the guitar by an anonymous figure that I refuse to recall.

More often than needed, it would rain outside and the pouring rain replays the slow movies of my life. All the rains that have never failed to fall on my birthday. The freezing rain that I cursed out every morning on my way to school. The sheets of needles that colored the beach with a white and foggy shade and a feeling of solitude. The continuous rain that remind me to appreciate the warmth and the cup of coffee that I was holding in my hands. The stormy weather that made me feel lucky I had a hand to hold on to and an umbrella held steadily over me. It has dawn on me that I have just as many memories under the sunshine as those under the grey sky. However, for an unknown reason, I rarely reminisce those.

There would be days when I walk down the street and a faint smell of Love Spell would bring me vivid pictures of the days I spent in Boston or the times in FA that I was obsessed with Victoria Secret’s lotions. Smell of Vietnamese food reminds me of home and of the time I spent with the other Vietnamese cooking for International Day or just for fun. My hand itches when I smell of fresh baked cookies or cakes, I want to get into the kitchen and start baking cakes like I did for Zala and Pauline. I miss the smell of hot lemon tea and ramen noodles that I desperately tried to get rid of. Even the smell of gasoline, oil, hot dry sun or freshly painted wall can remind me of tons of things.

I can even recall feelings that I felt while watching movies, or all the excitement that I have felt while laughing in all the pictures I kept. All these extra sensitiveness really gets on my nerves. It gets in my way of rational thinking. I don’t feel being in control of myself. Those feelings are too sentimental for me to endure.

Then somehow I found myself thinking about fate, and about how many people have gone through my life. After all those good memories, the least we can do for each other is a “happy birthday”, in which the only reason I remember is because facebook reminds me. People come, people go. Some stay for a long time and do not leave much impression. Some come for only a short period of time but take away with them tiny bits of my heart. During those times, I feel sad but then I get over it fast enough that people may consider myself a bit cruel and cold-hearted.

I thought to myself, I have to move on. If I keep living in the past, then I would not be able to recognize all the good things that will come in the future. After all, things change, people change, I may not able to recall all of them, but I believe they will still be there in my memory, or my heart (figuratively speaking). Memories keep building up on themselves and if I have to rely on these trivial stimuli to trigger them, then let it be that way.

Sunday Oct 4th, 2009
Location: Carlson Library, Rochester, New York, U.S.A
Weather: Rainy, cold, and gloomy
Activity: supposedly reading Psychology chapter on Emotional Intelligence
Music: Goong OST

Sep 9, 2009

Why sex?

Biologically speaking, it is inevitable that sex plays a crucial role to every species as it basically determines the route of DNA that will be passed on to the next generation. It can be said that sex and reproduction are instincts that exists to serve the purpose of survival and evolution. That got me thinking (I think a lot, don’t I?): Does human, the most advanced and developed species, still acts on instinct when it comes to sex?

It is necessary to take in consideration the basic condition of sexual selection: to look for the best mate in order to produce quality and probable offspring. This is also known as reproductive fitness. In the wild world, within species, animals compete against each other to win over an “outstanding” mate. Put it in Darwin’s words, sexual selection is the “struggle between the individuals of one sex, generally the males, for the possession of the other sex”. It is the same situation within human species, millions of sperms are produced but only one can reach the egg and become the important one. This process, however, is uncontrollable by human. What is it, then, that human look for when they consider their partners?

Evolutionary psychology says that human respond to different things. Attraction ranges from appearance, voices, movements to personality. Experiments have found out that for short-term relationships, women tend to pick out more physically attractive and masculine guys; while for long-term relationship, the majority of women pay more attention to personality and actions.

As a matter of fact, human prefers mates with strong gene pools in order to preserve the quality of their later generations. As a result, most people know that, logically, they should be out looking for “high quality” characteristics in their partners: beauty, sexiness, strength, intelligence, capability and, the list goes on. Everyone wants their partners to be a successful, attractive and outstanding person. Nevertheless, most of the time, it seems like we just go with what brings about good feelings. A person does not have to possess all top-notch quality but still can be surprisingly attractive to another person.

It seems that we cannot quite understand yet the causes and control of infatuation, desire and, here comes the big word, love. That means we might not know who our “perfect partner” a.k.a “soul mate” is. Then, do we choose “THE other half” by “The guidelines of good gene pool” in the biology book? Or do we choose by the butterflies in our stomach? It is a pretty common belief that women tend to use the left more emotional side of their brains and men the right more logical side. But is it really that cut and dry? It seems that when it comes to affairs of the heart, there's a battle between what we know and what we feel. So what do you do when you find yourself in a situation that leaps back and forth between the left and the right side? When it comes to relationships, is it a matter of the heart, or the head? And, where exactly does sex come into the picture? Does it belong to the head, or the heart?


Sep 7, 2009

How'd you like your coffee?

“Good morning, on July 7.

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us - I can live only wholly with you or not at all - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life - Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once - Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine
ever mine
ever ours”

Yes, indeed, this is the famous love letter that was quoted more than once in Sex and the City. I was so impressed, and moved, by the phrase “ever thine, ever mine, ever ours” that I went out of my way to do a research on whether there exists such a book as “Love Letters from Great Men” in an attempt to get my very own copy. The truth is, there was no such book (what a shame). However, since these are, indeed, love letters from great men, it wasn’t at all difficult to attain a copy of them.

Going through these heart-moving letters one by one really gets me thinking: what if one day, I wake up and find a version of a so-called love letter, hand written and fill with sweet, romantic words, left by an anonymous being on my desk, how would I feel?

Would my heart flutters with warm feelings, knowing that in this world, there is a person who would welcome me with such a special “good morning” it makes my day filled with radiant sunlight and an unlimited source of energy? Would I be so captivated by his words that I would immerse myself in the world of him and my love for him?

That certainly does not sound right to me. Indeed, this, would be my reaction: “What the fuck?”, with a raised eyebrow, goosebumps and a doubtful mind. I would be filled with such confusion and agitation and would tell my friends as if it was a joke. They would reply with “ew”, “yuck” and as many negative words as one can imagine.

Although, deep inside, I probably was waiting for a confirmation that such a romantic movement still exist in this world. I thought to myself, isn’t it strange how girls watch tearful dramas and heart-felt movies, they read novels and fictions that are filled with Prince Charming and sweet moments, dreaming of their own story, yet, when they face with their dreamt scenes in reality, they turn away with such hostility. As for myself, I feel perfectly comfortable without a relationship. I enjoy the feeling of being in control and independent. Affectionate actions and smooth words, for me, associate with phony guys and send the shiver down my spine.

When I put my status as “How would you feel if one day you walk out of the door and see the love of your life” and the only answer I got was “then you know that he is a freaking traitor because nothing is worth love at first sight”, I know that the situation has reach the alert level. They just can’t take it, can they?

It really gets me thinking. Have we settled for a sugar-free existence? I mean, nowadays, we accept Tasty Delight instead of ice cream, a cup of concentrated café au lait with absolute no sugar, emails instead of letters, screaming music instead of love songs, jokes instead of poetry. It is no wonder when we face the real thing, we can’t stomach it. Is it something we could learn to digest, once again? Or have we all become romantic – intolerant?

I wonder, have I forgotten the feeling of anxiously waiting for a familiar figure to appear at the classroom’s door? Have I disregard the helpless attempt to control the blood rushing to my cheek or to control the heart that is furiously out of beat? Have I ignored the exuberant feelings after receiving even a three-word text, yet gaining a source of energy that would lead me through the day with the smile constantly on my face, feeling like I’m flying above the ground? Have I not taken into consideration the warmth of the fingers that take my hands protectively when I couldn’t find my way in the dark? Or have I not thought about the arms that put around me tenderly and the voice that sooths away my frustrations and tears?

It seems that once my heart gets hurt, I forget all about the sweetness and all that remains are pain and wounds. Somebody has said, love gives girls energy and motivation. I wonder how much energy and motivation toward the next love does a girl need to be able to move on? I wonder if the consequences are so great that I even have to tell myself that I must build up my own immune system to defend against the sugar-coated toxic virus.

Human are weak, because it hurts, we try to avoid it. However, would it be a shame if because of the fear of the bitterness, we deny our moments of sweetness?

Would you really want to enjoy a delightful cup of café au lait with cream and sugar? Or would you rather endure the bitterness to spare the consequences that the tiny teaspoon for sugar would do to their heart and blood pressure? That, is your decision to make.

After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart, the best we can do is breath, and reboot. And when that fails, a little spoon of optimism and hope can provide us with a surprising amount of comfort.

So can a boyfriend, if you can learn to let him in (and learn not to say “What the fuck?” on receiving a love letter.)

Sept 7, 09

Aug 28, 2009

What if ...

Saigon’s sky in a summer afternoon is always covered with grey clouds and thunder and lightning that forewarn the upcoming pouring rain. Saigon’s streets in the afternoon are always filled with many different types of people coming home from work, going to work, with students rushing home or to their next cram school. I was standing outside the shopping center waiting for my sister to make a quick grocery run, sipping milk tea with bobba, watching needles and needles of rain falling and listening to Single by New kids on the block. For me, time suddenly stood still. For one second, I remembered all the times when I myself was in secondary school, when I was just like any of these students in front of me, in the familiar white and blue uniform that I totally disliked, laughing and teasing each other while enjoying the sweet and fresh taste of the all time favorite milk tea. I surely was enjoying the moment. For the brief moment, I was living the life of a fourteen year old all over again.

Rochester’s sky is also covered with grey clouds and occasional rain. Yet the feeling is different. Sitting at the desk typing these words, remembering of all the good time I had with friends and family at home, remembering the comfortable feelings of being home and having someone to take care of you, remembering the feeling of having nothing to worry about and knowing that I would be safe no matter what, I can’t help but wonder: What if I had never left?

At that moment, I realized that so many years had passed, and I certainly have grown up. I got to think about days gone by, that carefree time when I was still a child indulging in luxury and was spoiled to the core, that time when I had not much to worry about except for passing tests and keeping that GPA of mine over the acceptable level. I remembered middle school, and high school, the period of time that I hated so much because of various reasons (people, drama, pressure, stressful work …) now seems so dear to me that how much I wish I could be able to go back and … hate it all over again. I remembered the first years of coming to America with all the excitement of a curious kid who thought that she finally had her dream come true and who, really, at that time, did not anticipate all the difficulties that she would have to face.

When you're young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun. Then, you grow up and learn to be cautious. You look before you leap and sometimes you don't leap at all because there's not someone to catch you. And in life, there's no safety net. When does it stop being fun and start being scary? I think about the fact that I’m no longer the curious and excited teenager. Decisions are mine to make. It freaks me out and I’m confused, and feeling insecure because of the pressure. Any action that I take now would has a certain effect on my life, whether it’s the courses that I am going to take in college, or whether I should move in to an apartment to save money, or what am I going to do after undergraduate school. Maybe I have thought to far, and I can use that excuse to brush off my anxiety, but it dawns on me that, I will have to make these decisions sooner or later. Even though my parents are always there to support me when I need them, I can no longer toss all the responsibility on their shoulders. The weight is on mine now and I even want to make it easier for them. I wish I could take care of everything so that they don’t have to worry about me. I want the confidence that I will need in order to go through this. I want to do this right and do it well.

Now that all the excitement and curiosity of a young and inexperienced teenager has gone and are now replaced by fear and insecurity, all the “what ifs” questions pop up. What if I had stayed at home, what if I had listened to my parents and stayed with my relatives, what if I had chosen a more affordable but has less academic reputation college, …

We often look at our pasts with a handful of “what ifs” and “coulda, shoulda, woulda”. What if I did this, what if I did that or I could have done this then maybe I would have been that … blah blah blah. All that past and past participle tense can build up tension and turn any nineteen year olds into an elderly after a few minutes. As we speed along this endless road to the destination called "who we hope to be" we can't help but whine "Are we there yet?"

Yet sometimes I wonder, do I really miss the past that much? And exactly how much excited I need to be looking forward to the future to keep myself from wandering back to all the good old memories? And every time I look back, will I be better or bitter?


Jul 29, 2009

“Nếu yêu thương mà thể hiện thành lời nói ..."

“I’m sitting here, in the boring room
It’s just another rainy Sunday afternoon
I’m wasting my time, I got nothing to do
I’m hanging around, I’m waiting for you
But nothing ever happens and I wonder

I’m driving around, in my car
I’m driving too fast, I’m driving too far
I’d like to change my point of view
I’m feeling so lonely, I’m waiting for you
But nothing ever happens, and I wonder

I wonder how, I wonder why
Yesterday you told me about the blue, blue sky
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon tree
I’m turning my head, up and down
I’m turning turning turning turning turning around
And all that I can see is just another yellow lemon tree”

Tôi đã từng nghe bài hát này rất nhiều lần, nhiều đến nỗi đã bao nhiêu năm không nghe lại, tôi vẫn có thể lẩm nhẩm hát theo không sai đến một từ. Bài hát này chẳng phải thuộc vào dòng nhạc tôi yêu thích, thậm chỉ còn chẳng có mặt trong cái list cả ngàn bài hát trên ipod của tôi. Vậy mà, mỗi khi đi đâu, tình cờ nghe được nó, tôi lại thấy bồi hồi, và nhớ. Nhớ đến anh, người đã đem cái giai điệu quen thuộc và những lời ca khó hiểu này vào tuổi thơ tôi, để rồi, chúng cứ văng vẳng mãi bên tai. Cảm giác mà anh đem lại cho tôi mang âm hưởng lạ lùng, bởi vì đối với tôi, chỉ có anh mới đem lại được những xúc cảm như vậy.
Tôi là người không muốn nghe những từ ngữ ngọt ngào, hoặc những gì tràn ngập tình cảm, ví dụ như những từ ngữ nhớ nhung yêu ghét tôi tránh xa, càng xa càng tốt. Tuy nhiên, có người đã viết về tôi thế này “Nó xem như vậy mà yếu đuối trước tình cảm lắm, và cũng vì yếu đuối mà trở nên tàn nhẫn. Nó giàu yêu thương, không biết thể hiện nhưng rất thích khi được yêu thương. Nếu bạn yêu quý nó, hãy thể hiện ra đi, vì dù nó có thể hiện thế nào, có cố chấp từ chối thế nào thì trong lòng của nó cũng rất chi là khoái chí” Tôi quan niệm rằng: “Nếu yêu thương mà thể hiện thành lời nói, đối với tôi, nó sẽ biến thành nỗi ảm ánh” Như thể tình yêu khi thể hiện bằng cách đó sẽ biến thành những âm thanh rất đớn đau, giả tạo và vô cảm vậy. Có lẽ vì thế có lúc tôi trở nên tàn nhẫn, với đối tượng phát ngôn và với cả chính mình. Tôi lạ lẫm với việc bộc lộ và thể hiện tình cảm của mình. Người ta nói con gái mà tính cách cứng rắn như vậy thì sau này sẽ rất khổ. Những lúc khác, tôi cười khẩy những cái người ta nói. Nhưng khi đối diện với anh, tôi hận mình sinh ra là người con gái không thể thể hiện yêu thương dù rằng khi đối diện với anh, cái cứng rắn trong tôi lúc nào cũng giảm bớt 7, 8 phần. Những lúc như thế này, điều an ủi tôi chỉ có cái laptop và những trang giấy trắng của Microsoft Word, để tôi có thể ghi lại những cảm xúc mà tôi sợ nếu không viết thành lời, tôi sẽ quên mất


Anh là anh họ của tôi, một trong số rất nhiều những người anh con cậu, con chú, con dì mà tôi thừa hưởng tử đại gia đình hai bên nội ngoại. Anh là con của anh của mẹ tôi, vậy thôi. Vậy mà. tôi thương anh nhiều lắm, thương bằng tất cả tình thương của một đứa con gái sinh ra trong một gia toàn chị em gái, và luôn mong ước một người anh trai. Vì anh trai thương em gái, tôi luôn tin như vậy. Tất nhiên chị tôi cũng thương tôi, cũng bảo bọc cho tôi, nhưng cái cảm giác được che chở và quan tâm bởi một người anh trai nó khác. Và bởi vì nó khác, nó lạ lẫm, nên tôi thích.

Ngay từ nhỏ tôi đã rất tự lập và cứng rắn, chẳng khi nào nhờ vả ai và cũng chẳng bao giờ có những trò nhõng nhẽo nua đòi. Ba mẹ tôi đi làm sáng tối, chỉ gặp mặt vào giờ cơm. Chị hai tôi, một phần vì tính cách vô tâm, một phần vì đang tuổi bạn bè nên cũng chẳng mấy chú ý đến tôi. Tôi cũng chỉ thích ở một mình, tự học bài, tự chơi chẳng phiền đến ai. Đi học thì có chú tài xế đưa đón, việc ở nhà thì có các cô giúp việc. Cho nên khoảng thời gian đó, nhớ về gia đình tôi chẳng nhớ mấy đến việc được thương yêu, cưng chiều mà trớ trêu thay, lại chỉ nhớ đến những lúc bị đòn, khi thì bị mẹ đánh vì điểm thấp, khi thì bị chị đánh vì một lí do nào đấy. Mặc dù cứng rắn nhưng tôi vẫn là con nít nên rất hay khóc, nhưng càng khóc lại càng bị đòn đau và cũng chẳng ai dỗ, nên mãi cũng chẳng thèm khóc, chỉ cắn răng chịu.

Anh xuất hiện trong đời tôi khi ấy. Khi mà phần lớn tính cách hiện tại của tôi đã được hình thành, nhưng vẫn còn chừa chỗ trống cho một vài sự thay đổi nhỏ nhoi. Mùa hè năm đó anh cùng một người anh họ khác đến ở với chị em tôi để học thi, và mùa hè năm đó trở nên một ký ức mà tôi khó có thể nào quên. Anh đem đến cho tôi một người anh mà tôi vẫn hằng ao ước, mãi đến bây giờ. Anh đem đến cho tôi những cảm xúc lạ lẫm khi được che chở và quan tâm. Anh đem đến cho tôi phần tính cách yêu thương mà bản tính tự lập và gan lì của tôi cố che dấu.

Rồi thời gian trôi đi, chúng tôi lớn lên, người lo học, người lo làm, thời gian anh chị em đi chơi với nhau chẳng còn nhiều như trước. Mỗi năm tôi chỉ mong được gặp anh vài giờ hoặc nếu may mắn hơn thì anh em lại được đi chơi đâu đó với nhau.

Như mọi năm, hè đến tôi lại xin ba mẹ cho về Long Xuyên thăm anh. Sáng nay vừa đến nhà anh, tôi lăn ra ngủ sau chuyến xe đêm mệt mỏi. Nằm nghe văng vẳng bản nhạc ưa thích của anh, mở mẳt ra với căn phòng tràn ngập nắng, nghe được hơi thở đều đặn của anh bên cạnh và nhận ra mình đang nằm gối đầu trên tay anh, tôi ước gì mình đừng 19 tuổi và từng ấy năm chưa từng trôi qua, để tôi vẫn có thể đường hoàng và ngang nhiên mà co mình vào người anh mà ngủ tiếp. Nhưng tôi biết rằng tôi không sống ở quá khứ, và đứa con gái 19 tuổi trong tôi biết rằng tôi không thể. Tôi nhẹ nhàng gỡ tay anh ra rồi ngồi dậy và lại suy nghĩ.

Tôi ước gì tôi vẫn còn bé như khi nào, để tôi có thể được anh dỗ dành mỗi khi khóc nức nở vì bị chị Hai đánh; để mỗi chủ nhật đi nhà thờ về, tôi có thể đòi anh cõng;; để trên những chuyến đi du lịch Nam Bắc, tôi có thể nói “Lát nữa anh xuống ngồi với em nha” và anh ừ và tôi lại có thể dựa vai anh mà ngủ; để những lúc anh em đi chơi anh lại nắm tay hoặc khoác vai tôi đi cùng, để có những buổi tối sau khi cùng các anh chị xem phim ma tôi lại được nghe anh nói “Qua đây ngủ với anh” để rồi sáng thức dậy cạnh anh mà không phải nuối tiếc ngồi dậy và ườc gì mình vẫn còn bé như khi nào …

“Sao không ngủ đi mà ngồi làm gì đó?” – tiếng anh vang lên bên cạnh khiến tôi giật mình quay lại.
Tôi không trả lời mà quay sang hỏi anh “Mắt kiếng em anh để đâu rồi?”
“Trên kệ tủ đó. Bao nhiêu năm nay rồi mà đi ngủ vẫn không gỡ mắt kiếng, ở bên đó ai cất cho mày?”

Tôi mỉm cười và không suy nghĩ, nữa, vì tôi biết rằng tuy tôi không còn bé nữa, tuy tôi đã 19, đã đi du học và mỗi năm chỉ gặp anh được vài ngày, vẫn có những điều không đổi. Anh vẫn nằm cạnh tôi khi tôi mở mắt dậy, vẫn bỏ ra vài ngày dẫn tôi đi chơi mặc dù giờ đây anh bận rộn công việc, vẫn khoác tay tôi mỗi khi đi dạo phố vì tôi vẫn còn tính mơ mộng và hay đi lạc, vẫn gắp cho tôi miếng cá mỗi bữa ăn, vẫn hỏi tôi thích ăn gì rồi lại dắt xe đi mua, vẫn ngồi hát lẩm nhẩm Lemon Tree để tôi chọc anh có một bài nghe mãi, vẫn mày mày tao tao rồi đôi lúc lại “Anh nói mà cưng không nghe”

Anh là như vậy, những yêu thương mà tôi mong đợi, anh ít khi thể hiện qua lời nói để ám ảnh tôi, mà qua những hành động làm tôi không thể giữ vững được lớp vỏ bọc cứng rắn của mình.

Người ta có thể hiểu (mà không cần tôi phải nói) rằng tôi thương gia đình tôi, ba mẹ tôi, chị em tôi, nhưng người ta sẽ hỏi vì sao tôi lại thương anh họ tôi đến như vậy. Tôi có lý do của tôi, nhưng con người ta có nhất thiết phải có lý do để yêu thích một điều gi đó không?


Anh đi làm không đưa tôi ra xe về thành phố được, tôi bảo “Buồn vậy” rồi nằm im lặng, anh quay sang choàng tay ôm tôi rồi đứng dậy ra khỏi phòng.

Tôi nằm nghĩ mãi rồi vờ xuống lầu uống nước, gặp anh, tôi bảo “Anh vô Sài Gòn chơi với em đi”
Anh nói để anh tính.
Tôi chào anh rồi quay lưng lên lầu.

Tôi giận mình lúc ấy đã không ôm chầm lấy anh như anh đã làm lúc anh ra tiễn tôi đi du học. Tôi giận mình vì đi du học mấy năm, những cái “hug” đã trở nên quá bình thường và quen thuộc vậy mà tôi lại không can đảm để đưa tay ôm người mà tôi yêu thương. Tôi giận mình sinh là đứa con gái cứng rằn và không biết thể hiện tình cảm để có thể dụi đầu vào anh mà nói rằng “Lỡ anh không đi Sài Gòn được, lỡ 2 năm sau em mới về được, lỡ anh lấy vợ mà em không về được, thì em không được ôm anh nữa …”

Tôi có cảm giác lạ lắm, tôi sợ rằng thời gian cứ trôi nữa thì tất cả sẽ thay đổi. Lỡ mà những lời tôi không nói được thành sự thật, tới lúc ấy, tôi sẽ tiếc ngẩn tiếc ngơ. Tới lúc ấy tôi sẽ ước gì mình đã không phải là đứa con gái 19 tuổi với quan niệm “Nếu yêu thương mà thể hiện thành lời nói, đối với tôi, nó sẽ biến thành nỗi ảm ánh” , chỉ biết ngồi viết cho vơi nỗi nhớ.

Sài Gòn, Summer ‘09

Jul 21, 2009

Pessimism is the new moisturizer

People write about hope, about faith, about beliefs and about as many optimistic things as they can in order to comfort themselves and others. Pessimism is considered as abnormal and is criticized. You are criticized when you weep over your last love. You are criticized when you think yourself as a failure and so on. There are negative labels for people being pessimistic, labels so that people can stay away from that gloomy zone.

It’s time for human to all be cynical, to get real, because the time for “happy ending” has long time gone. What if Prince Charming had never shown up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, got a job and made enough money to support herself? She certainly does not need a Prince Charming to bring home the bread and the meat. And, in this time and age, she certainly does not need a Prince Charming to have a happy ending, especially when she may as well just get a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank. It’s not that hard, you just need to get out there and do it.

But then, the more cynical the world gets, more people rely on fantasy. Reality shows may be forgotten after a decade or two, but fairy tales are passed on from generations to generations, along with more sequels and, of course, more absurd happy endings. What is that that makes it so hard for people to get real? What is it that so hard for people to face with the truth? They’d rather be in pain time after time immensing themselves in fantasy than bear a sharp pain and get it over with. People enjoy sugarcoat after all.

Do we really need to hope in order to survive? Is it better to tell a friend right at their face that the good times together have passed by and there’s no way to recreate all those good memories? Or is it better just to give the other person a date knowing that it’s just no more than a false promise which does not need to be kept? It would be a good thing if they both understand that it’s just a false promise. But what if one of them is still hoping for it to come true? What if that one person day by day wait for an email or a text message, or even worse, keep sending emails and text messages like a psycho, but receive nothing back but silence, or even worse, rejection from a total stranger and only then, bitterly realize that it’s over.

Isn’t it better for a patient to know that he only has so many days to live, so he can live those days to the fullest? Or is it better for him to be sick in bed, looking out the window and hoping that eventually, he’ll be out there when in reality, he would never be?

Doesn’t it work the same in love? They say that in a relationship, the person with less passion control it. Isn’t that right? So when the person in charge, the more critical and less emotional one, realizes that the relationship is not working and decides to get out of it, why is it that she’s always considered cruel, cold-hearted and has no feelings? Isn’t it better to end it before they both hurt each other? Or is it better to keep going to pretend that their relationship is so perfect that people get jealous? The relationship will eventually fall apart. The important thing is how you can still keep each other in life. It’s not an easy thing to do. Love does not always conquer all, especially in an era where everything: financial, social status, religious, genders, family, friends,... matters. I’d rather receive a “he’s not that into you” message after a first date than wait weeks after that to receive a lame email with some lame excuses. It’s because people keep leading one another with hopes that eventually, the world runs out of hope and becomes hopeless. People learn by making mistakes. So how many times can a person take having all their hopes and beliefs destroyed before becoming a cynical? How long can a person remain optimistic after so much disappointment? How many times is it going to take a girl dreaming of romance to scream out “If there were no men, we wouldn’t feel hurt, and we wouldn’t be disappointed, and we wouldn’t be spending our entire night upsetting about them. I’m so over men.” Isn’t that the saddest thing ever, to have your hopes and your dreams falling out of your mental system?

Then why is it that we cannot stick to the truth? If there’s truth everywhere, people would know where to put their hopes and dreams into the right place. There would be no such harsh and painful words as “Et tu, Brutus?” or “I trusted you”, with a past tense. There is no way to make everyone happy and if a person faces with world with that belief and readiness, sure there would be less painful moments and more happy surprises.

I got to think, maybe pessimism is something we have to start applying daily, like moisturizer. Otherwise, how would you bounce back when reality battles your belief system and love does not, as promised, conquer all? Is hope a drug we need to go off of? Or is it keeping us alive? What’s the harm in believing? Or rather, what’s the point in believing?


Jul 16, 2009

[Confession of a shopaholic]

Raining evenings in a tropical country is not an unusual thing, and people going out on a raining Friday is not an unusual thing either. People have surprisingly adaptable perspectives on weather on a Friday night when there are concerts to go to, an opening of a club to attend or even just a handful of friends waiting at the coffee shop for them. Or in my case, a pair of “mystic violet” colored contact lenses was enough to drag me out of the house, away from my comfortable a/c room, into the crowded, chaotic and dusty streets of Saigon. In the midst of pouring rain and intense wind, in the midst of trying to figure out which way is the right way to get home without getting stuck in a traffic jam at a flooded corner of the city, it came to my mind that, if I was to die right at this moment, my last thought would be how the hell I was going to get my … Fendi bag home without a drop of water touching it.

After all, I didn’t die and had successfully protected my bag away from the storm. But again, if was to die the next morning, say by a heart attack or something right in my room, on my bed, my last thought would be how much I want that Christian Dior bag that Carrie Bradshaw carried in that 8th episode of the 4th season of Sex and the City.

Later on that night I got to think about materialism and individualism. Just how materialistic I have become and just how far I could go into that materialism, telling myself that I was just another girl looking for individualism?

For a girl whose wall covered with handbags, closet piled with shoes, tables buried under make-up and accessories that shine the names of Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Fendi, Coach, Givenchy, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, MiuMiu, Roberto Cavalli, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, a girl who loved to watch Project Runway and read Vogue magazines, people would wonder how the hell would she even dare NOT to consider herself as materialistic. They got their point. I have abolutely no excuse to defense myself. But how on earth did I even get to that point? Was that the way how I was raised? Certainly not, because that wouldn’t be able to explain why neither of my sisters cares a thing for all these designer goodies and why my parents constantly remind me that I am crazy. Surely, I call myself “just a little bit obsessed”. I love my bags, my shoes, my sunglasses, my earrings, my blackberry … I love every single piece of them equally. I love to imagine myself living in New York so I can walk out of my apartment, all dressed up and look like every other day. I love to get all freaked out before going out with friends, going through the entire closet to pick out the perfect outfit and, of course, the accessories to go with it.

So that settles the matter of materialism, but how does that make me fall in the pool of those “individualistic” people? I am the girl who would go home and change my clothes if I by accident see another girl wear something similar to me. I am the girl who, if have a choice to pick something no one has yet and something I really really like, I would go with the rare one. “I hate when people having the same stuff as I do” is what I always say. However, shouldn’t that be the other way around, that I am the one who is using the same “stuff” as others. I do not make the kind of money, or inherit anything, to allow me to have my own designer to make clothes for me only. And even if I do have a designer, how unique are my things going to be. Indeed, somewhere on this whole big world, there will be one person, or more than one, who would be walking down the street, wearing the exact same thing as I do thinking that their stuff is “unique”. Sometimes I wonder just how far I would go for this kind of “individualism” because after all, I am just a copy of someone in the world. Moreover, I am almost certain that my idea of “individualism” is created by no one else but the world itself. I am aware of how the world looks at me and I am affected by it, by its materialism and by its appearance.

Often, I would spend time with my girlfriends, look at magazines or watch fashion show and comment on people. But honestly, who am I to judge all these good-looking people when I am no more than just an ordinary person? I may be one of the few who drive out in the rain to get a pair of violet contact lenses, drive half an hour to get my eyebrow plucked for $5 each, or spent two days trying to get my hair to curl the way I want. I am the girl who replace her traditional black hair with red highlights, cover her brown eyes with violet contact, spending enough time to turn her perfectly straight hair into curly hair. Despite all that efforts, anyday, anywhere, I would be able to spot out millions of people who bear the most beautiful blue eyes, the perfect natural shape eyebrow and the breathtaking wavy hair right on the corner of the street. Every day I go out, dressed in True Religion jeans, DKNY halter top, Chanel bag and Guess shoes, just to realize that I am just another “one of those girls” and realize that I would laugh and snicker if I see myself walking down the street. Who am I fooling? Myself, for my own sake? Or the world, whose opinions I deny depending on? Am I the one who goes against my human nature just to be different?

This really gets me thinking. Really, how am I different than others when I’m just as materialistic and individualistic as any other human being on earth? I wonder if there really is a way for a person to be different, so different that everyone on the street has to turn their heads her direction. More importantly, where does this materialism portrait me in the eyes of others? Am I a new generation girl who is “just a little bit obsessed” with fashion or am I one of those absurd wannabes who is crazy about labels and brand names? And really, does this obsession, as I will call it for now, do me any good in life? Would I grow out of it as I go along the path of life? Or it will just be there as a trait of my personality that I can never get rid of? Would people hate me because of it? Or would they just laugh at my foolishness? Whatever it is, it’s one hell scary thought.