"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

Jan 25, 2012

2011 - A Year in Review

Every year, as the year comes to a close, it's my habit to look back on everything that has happened, and write myself a reasonable resolution by the time of Lunar New Year. There are so many things going on around this time of the year that I haven't had a chance to do this yet this year. As a matter of fact, I almost forgot that it was Lunar New Year until my friends reminded me of it, and until I got on Facebook and was attacked by a trillion picture updates of food and other exciting events going on in Vietnam. It is kind of sad that I actually don't miss home anymore. Usually I get pretty depressed and homesick when I'm not home at this time, hopefully this is because I was just there a few weeks ago. Anyways, December *cough cough* wouldn't be December if there isn't a good year review. It's about damn time for one.

 2011 was a year with lots of changes. I realized many things that I didn't want to admit before, faced them and came up with other plans to deal with them. It was a year with lots of ups and downs, and wild moments - like a roller coaster. I totally would never have thought that I'd be saying all these things as a sophomore/junior, isn't my life supposed to be pretty stable by now? Lol.

 2011 didn't start with a high note. Sophomore year was a tough year for me academic-wise. I have always known that I have a tendency to get carried away with extracurricular activities, but I guess I got a little bit toooooo carried away. Parts of the reasons were because I was so frustrated with the fact that I couldn't live up to my expectations, or other people's expectations of me, in academic. There were so many moments I wanted to give up, and almost hated myself for being such a loser, and tried everything to keep myself going. I remember series of sleepless nights, and all those times being scared, nervous, and angry all at the same time. It felt like I have tried all that I could but everything was beyond my ability. There is nothing I hate more than not being able to be in control of the situation. After all, I just slowly learned that there were things that I could do, and things that I couldn't do. I was still extremely disappointed with myself so I decided to go to South Africa - to rediscover my passion and to take a break from everything. Also, I was feeling uncomfortable with settling down in Rochester, I needed to go to a new place and got away from the stable life, and to look for something new.

 Summer and Fall 2011 were the highlights of my entire year. Even though going to Africa was my very-last-minute and out-of-the-spur decision, I've never once regretted it. Being in a foreign country with a study abroad status took away the pressure I have always been under. I decided to just forget everything and took it easy for once in my life. It was definitely extremely uncomfortable to have so much free time on my hands. However, I was definitely more efficient and could get things done so much better without stressing out and getting frustrated all the time. Lol, funny thing that I've only learned that now. Oh well, I've always been the stubborn person who always chooses to learn things the hard way. Working in clinical settings for both medicine and psychology was a priceless experience. I definitely hated the feeling of being in a total strange place and having to figure my way out all over again in everything, having to make friends all over again, but for some reason, I think I'm addicted to that feeling. It felt normal for me to mix things up when my life becomes too boring. Of course, travelling was lots of fun. I consider myself lucky for getting so many opportunities to be at many different place in the world. Well yeah, I'm a bit of a spoiled brat, I'm aware of that. 

 I also consider myself lucky because while I was abroad enjoying myself without much care in the world, my family had to deal with such a difficult situation. I was never there at the most difficult time, and as much as it affected me, I know that I did not have to go through all the heart-breaking things that my family had to go through. I would never understand how it felt and as much as parts of me didn't want to know, I wish I could have been there for them. Although it no longer brings tears to my eyes, my heart still aches every time I think about it. It was 20 years of memories growing up. There is not enough space in this blog for me to write about all the memories, I definitely should add this to my to-write list. This incident definitely changes many things in our lives. Suddenly I realized that soon enough, I won't be able to rely on my parents anymore. I have been living such a carefree life that it is now extremely scary to think about having to deal with real life. Aiya .... I really should start learning. 

 2011 would be the last year that my sister will be home with us. Just thinking about her getting married next year, and will have a family on her own really hits me that we are all growing up. I'm sure she is more scared and worried than me right now, but she has an exciting life to look forward to. It is going to feel so weird at her wedding. I've never been the type to get emotional at weddings, or at any events, but I can tell now that it is going to have some effects on me.

 I met many people, made tons of friends and became such a social person that sometimes I'm amazed at myself. Four years ago, I would never have thought I would be the Thanh that everyone knows me as right now. Most of the time, it feels quite liberating. I feel like this is the most ME I could get for now. Although, obviously, there are certain things that only certain people know about me, but everyone has complicated thing that they don't want to expose for the entire world to see. I definitely took many risks this year and tried out things that I have not done before. Crazy at times, yes, but I've never regretted any of them. I also took lots of times trying to figure out what I want to do with all my "relationships". At times I have been content with being the wild, free and independent girls who does not need one single guy, or any guys to make me feel better about myself. Compared to freshman year, it did me so much better. I have all the confidence and carefree attitude I needed to deal with them. I simply was happy with myself the way I was and I didn't feel like I need to change anything. Well, things came and went. Some maybe a little bit more sad than the others. After all, they were all good memories. I still have respect for all of them and I could never be happier to have them in my life. 

 Eventually, I get tired of moving from one guy to another. I got all the special treatments, I had the good times, but after everything passed, I always ended up alone. I am a strong and independent girl, but it gets lonely sometimes. However, I had one of the best relationships I haven't had for years. Throughout the entire year, he has always been shown up in my memories, good times and bad times. We might have been the weirdest and most unexpecting couple there could ever be, and even if he annoyed and frustrated me often enough, he kept me from being bored, and happy. I don't know what is going to happen between us in the future, and I may be a little bit greedy, since I don't want to settle down just yet and are still messing around, but I don't think I want to let him go either. 

 There's only one resolution that I make for 2012:

I want to spend 2012 doing things that I truly think are important. 

In 2012, I want to strike a fine balance between relationships and career and friends, between social and travel and education. I want to continue to pursue my dreams relentlessly and with passion. I want to see new cities and appreciate places that I've been to. I want to make time for my friends and go on adventures. I want to starting getting rid of my lifestyle of living according up to my own [ridiculous] expectations and other people's expectations. I won't giving up on my crazy, free and independent lifestyle for a stable and steady one just yet, but I will start thinking about and learn to settling down a little bit. I am going to try not to be all over the place, focus my energy on finding things that are important and strike those. 

 It should be a good year :) Sooooooo looking forward to it.

Jan 19, 2012

Coming back to Rochester with this cold and depressing weather, and everything coming at me at once is definite stressing me out. I haven't been this stressed and frustrated for a while. I guess South Africa and Vietnam spoiled me hard core.

Yep, I have been slacking on updating my blog, haven't even finished writing my end of the year blog entry. That is something I absolutely have to finish before Lunar New Year, and hopefully will be able to. So, featuring an awesome article that I came across from Galadarling blog today, makes me feel a little bit better.

Things You Need In Order To Stay Happy

Jan. 11, 2012

You need to make plans to see someone on a Tuesday because having a guaranteed fun activity in the middle of the week will keep you sane and give you something to look forward to. And let’s face it, we all need something to look forward to during the work week. I’m all for having a dinner party with a few of my friends and getting three glasses of wine drunk at 9pm and being in bed by 11. By punctuating your busy week with something exciting, it will go by so much faster. It also always feels good to do something a little forbidden on a Tuesday (Oops, I went out when I should’ve stayed in. Oops, I got stoned. Oops, there’s work tomorrow!) Putting so many rules on yourself will ensure that one day you’ll snap and become a full-fledged alcoholic psycho in your thirties. (Just ask my mom! JK, love you mom!)

You need music you can fall in love with. Any spare moment I have, I’ll be up in the music blogs looking for that new song that’ll be like crack for my earbuds. I don’t know about you guys but when I find a new song to obsess over, I’m like pretty set for the next three days. I don’t need a flirty text message, a delicious meal, or an amazing night out. I’m pretty much set with my New Favorite Song.

You need someone in your life who excites you, makes you nervous, and forces you to question what you think you already know. These usually come in the form of a crush or a relationship. A relationship is obviously ideal but a crush can tide you over like a nice appetizer. We spend so much of our time feeling jaded and set in our ideas, and that’s clearly not a fun way to exist. We pretend it is but deep down it feels a little miserable because we don’t want to know all the answers. We want someone who’s challenging, who we can’t figure out, and can tell us that we’re full of crap. We need someone to get us off the internet and remind us that real life is much more fun. And it’s okay to be unsure and nervous because that just means we’re alive again.

We need stressful days in order to be happy. We need days when we get zero sleep and are working tirelessly on a deadline. Because if we didn’t, the lazy days wouldn’t feel good. After my accident, I took a semester off to live in LA and go to rehab three times a week. At first I thought, “This will be good. I can focus on my recovery and I’ll read a lot of books and write.” Um, yeah right. I was bored to tears. The days I wasn’t spending at the doctors or in physical therapy, I would be doing nothing. It’s no fun doing nothing. I don’t know how rich people can fill their days with pointless appointments and call it a fulfilling life. We need to always be working towards something in order to feel useful and have a sense of purpose. And then those days off when you just veg feel so good. We often say that we’d like a very long vacation but most of us would probably get very bored after a week.

We need to treat ourselves to stupid stuff. We spend a great deal of our time saying “NO” to things just so one day we can be like “Screw it. I’m doing me today.” If you did “you” every day, you’d either be broke or ridden with STDS.

We need family. Whether it be in the traditional sense of the word or the kind of family we create on our own when we get older, we need to feel like we belong somewhere. Otherwise, we would permanently feel like a raw exposed nerve that could just disappear at any given moment. If they died, who would claim the body?

And last, but certainly not least, we need to like ourselves in order to be happy. BOMBSHELL! Go read Eat, Pray, Love now for more new information! (Ew, don’t read that book ever.) Here’s the thing that’s funny about self-love. People say that in order to have someone love you, you gotta love yourself and I think that’s BS. I know many people who are in relationships and full of self-loathing. In fact, it seems like the more damaged someone is, the more likely they are going to be in a relationship. It might not be a healthy one but they’ll be tethered to someone for sure. So listen, don’t go love yourself and think it’s going to complete the puzzle. Don’t think people are going to gravitate to you because when you love yourself, you delete 70% of your dating options because you’re looking for someone who’s equally as happy and well-adjusted, which is a rare thing to find. So love yourself just for the sake of doing it, for being able to look in the mirror without wincing and to take yourself out to the movies and lunch and think you’re great company. Do it in order to stay happy.

Oh, and you need to have a healthy amount of sex. Always.