29 August, 2010

Rain, Hair Dye, Sushi, Sunday Roast, Cinema, Happy

I have a love/hate relationship with the rainy season. 

The look of the clouds rolling in. 
The cool air. 
The sound of the rain, thunder and the sight of lightning. 
The dust settling. 

Driving to work in the rain. 
Driving home from work in the rain. 
Going out for the night when it's raining. 
Sewage and rain water flooding. 
My bike stalling out in the flooded water. 
The mud from the bike in front of me, hitting me in the face. 

Maybe there is a little more hate aimed at the rainy season... but when I have free time, and I'm in the comforts of my own home with a good book- it's nothing but love : ) 

Today- there was a tease of rain, but no real danger. However, there were beautiful clouds in the sky (pictured above) I am mesmerized by the flow of giant storm clouds. 

Last night however was an INTENSE rain storm. I was fortunate enough to get to my friends house early and was able to sit back, drink mimosas and play video games while it rained harder than I've seen in a very long time. 


Today I found my dream hair dresser. Yes, it's 'expensive' well, for Vietnam it's expensive, but it's 100% worth it. I had my roots touched up and a tea tree condition.  They did an amazing job with the touch up (I went to another place a few weeks back to cover the re-growth and instead they dyed it brown again... keeping the re-growth visible) and they even styled it right. Usually my stubborn colic really throws them for a curve and they tend to want to blow dry my hair in a huge 80's wave. Why is this place so awesome? Because it's run by a Singaporean : ) 

This was followed up by an amazing Sushi lunch with friends. I went to a new sushi restaurant this time... got myself out of the same old routine of the same place, same order and was pleasantly surprised :) 

I spent the next hour or so cruising around town looking for good shoes to work out in. I found the perfect pair at a fair price and of course they didn't have my size. They promised they'd have it for me tomorrow and if they don't they'll get a good ol' knuckle sandwich. 

Headed home for a bit to do a little prep work and planning for this week at work and then met up with my friends for some delicious Roast, good beer and a movie. 

We went to the theatre to see Inception, but of course- with my luck they had stopped showing it for the day so we saw The Expendables. Absolutely hilarious. 


This week is a short work week- only three days!! Of course my Tuesday is 13 hours long and Wednesday will be 12 hours long but 4 days off is well worth a few jam packed days of work. 

A few friends of mine are looking to take a road trip with our motorbikes out to Ho Coc Beach, or possibly out to Binh Chau for some hot springs. I'm really open on the location, all I really care about is doing nothing but relaxing for 4 days. Reading, playing cards and hanging out. Heaven. 


This was posted on facebook today: 

‎"You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life." - Joel Osteen

I follow this page called "Power of Positivity". Some of the posts are kind of lame, or confusing but there are a few that really hit the spot and motive me. 

I like this one because it rings very true and it's something I share with friends when they are in a hard time. It's also summed up by the "This too shall pass" that I've engraved on my arm forever. 

People ask me how I get through difficult times with a smile on my face. Or ask how I'm taking it so well. I just tell them it's because I CHOSE to be happy. It's not easy, but it's a more pleasant way to live your life. I'd rather continue my life, be happy and smile than be sad, depressed, lethargic and full of self pity. 

Don't get me wrong, I believe that each tragedy and downfall in life deserves time to reflect and go through the emotions. But I only allow myself a certain amount of time before I have to get up, shake it off and move on. 

As lame as it sounds: Life is too short. Don't waste it on anything, anyone or anywhere. YOU are in control, no one else is. 

Take Charge. Be Happy. Even if you have to force yourself to smile- and look / feel like an idiot doing it, you'll feel better instantly. 

The End. 

Vietnam Exposure #2

22 August, 2010

What a weekend...

With the arrival of my new house mate came a weekend of excess... two back to back nights of drinking used to be easier I swear. 

Ineke (new roommate) got in super late Thursday night- we hit it off great straight away and were up until about 2 am the next morning- Friday night we went out for drinks and it turned into an all nighter for sure. I got home at about 3:30- she got home even later! Here's a glimpse of Friday night: 

Man was I hung over the next day... slept on and off until about 3 pm when I headed to the neighbors house for dirty martinis and steak. Well worth it. Had a spicy bloody mary to set myself straight and was ready for a night of great conversation and delicious steak and mash. 

Today, was a hang over day... Spent most of my day chilling in bed. Ordered a fantastic bacon cheese burger and smoothy and went out for a massage and juice with Ineke. 

Sunday evenings are for sure going to be spent getting a massage from this local spa. It's only about three blocks from the house and was the best massage I have ever had. And to help cure the hangover- they have you step into a sauna for a few minutes and shower before the massage- sweat out those demons. 

Good times. Good people. I'm happy to be back in 'Nam.  

18 August, 2010

Vietnam Exposure #1

The Heroin Diaries

Just finished this one- it's an easy read and be warned.... it's heavily addicting. 

I kind of read through it as if I was reading fiction - then had to keep reminding myself that this was all 100% real life. I can't believe this man survived the 80's. 

Actually, I can't believe any of the great hair bands of the 80's survived... but I sure am glad they did. Nothing makes a gal happier than listening to some CrΓΌe.

Looking forward to the Guns and Roses biography a friend is going to loan me when he finishes it, stuck in the 80's I guess : ) 

16 August, 2010

The Five

My brother used to have this blog... he would post 'The 5' sharing pictures of life's experiences every few days or so. 

I remember loving seeing random moments of his life, since I've live pretty damn far away from him for the past 4 years or so. And I was also thinking about the fact that the things I see every day, I may be used to, but my friends and family have yet to see. 

So, I'm adapting his idea to my blog. I would love to begin posting 5 to 10 photos of random Vietnam living. 

Hopefully, many of you lovely readers out there have facebook because I rely heavily on my friends taking pictures often when we are out doing exciting things... so keep an eye out of tagged pictures of me! But I'd like to share the random shots of Vietnam that fill my days. 

Here are a few to get it started: 

I'm going to call these posts 'Vietnam Exposure' - half of the reason I chose this name was because Northern Exposure is my favorite TV show EVER and I always thought it painted such a beautiful picture of culture and life in small town Alaska.  

Hopefully my blog entries will also paint a beautiful picture in the minds of my friends and family of where I live. 

15 August, 2010

A week of new.

This week is the first week of the 2010-2011 school year. I'm excited to really get into it, summer school was so slack and unorganized... not that my school is very organized for the new school year- quite the opposite actually. But I have the ability to organize and make the year what I want it to be.

I'm excited to have all my little minions, and watch them grow and change over the next year. Field trips, performances, holidays, costumes and all the fun that comes with kindergarten.

I think I've really found my heart and my groove with this age group. 5 to 7 year olds are amazing little people to be around all day. They pour out love and wear their hearts on their sleeves... no matter where I am in the world, I'll be teaching my miniature humans : )

Also this week will be the first week of having private lessons. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I will work at my school from 7:30 to 4:30 and then teach two Korean girls from 5 to 7pm.... 
looong days, but worth it.

And finally, I will be welcoming a house mate this week. She may be temporary or possibly permanent. She's a friend of a friend who starts work at my school in the next week or so. I think I'm ready to have some company! And it'll be great being able to play tour guide and welcome someone into this crazy country.

With this comes a tiny dilemma. Which room do I chose as my own and which do I give up? As of right now, the entire house is mine so I have belongings in every single room! I've got to make the decision: Is it more important for me to have a very basic room that has a HUGE bed, or a room that has lovely bookshelves and a desk (however has a twin size bed)?

Hmm, tonight's my first try of sleeping and hanging out in Aimee's old room (the smaller bed but good shelves and a desk) I'll see how it goes and weigh my options after a little trial and error time. I kind of think the smaller bed might be a sacrifice worth taking considering it is just me sleeping in it! The desk is brilliant, I can work from home, prop my laptop on it to watch movies from bed and have all books at my disposal.

However, I've lived in that other room since day 1 and have grown quite close to it! 
Well... we'll see how it goes.

13 August, 2010

Life as we know it.

Or should I say... as I know it.

Perspective. This is one of life's most interesting aspects to me. The way I see a situation, may be entirely different as someone else sees it. 

Some people are destined to see things negatively. I don't know how they got into that cycle, but somehow they started the "this isn't good enough".... "I'm not satisfied".... "Is this it?" path in their lives. 

It makes me sad to think that people live their lives in such a clouded, sad and lonely way. If you are never satisfied in what life has to offer- how can you ever expect to live life?

I admit, sometimes I come down with the armageddon-my life is over bug. But to be honest, it doesn't last long. I've built up a system, and it just comes naturally now. I have my moment, I acknowledge it, I discuss it if it needs to be discussed and within a few minutes, hours or one day it is gone. I am happy again. 

You have to work VERY hard to get my shit list. Because I simply chose to forgive, forget and love the people who have come into my life. I can't sound mean if I try- so if you are ever scared or I make you feel bad... honestly, it's because you deserve it. 

I'm no saint by any means and I don't have an amazing life either. I just chose to make it as amazing as I can. Some things are harder to get over and harder to move past. But at the end of the day it feels better to smile and laugh than to cry and be angry. 

That being said, life has thrown me some curve balls. But I'd like to believe that I took them gracefully (with the occasional ugly cry) and moved on, sharing positivity rather than bringing innocent bystanders into my negative moment. 

So life, as I know it... is beautiful. 

It takes the bad, the painful, the awkward and the challenging times to see it and thrive in it. 

I encourage everyone else to thrive in it as well. Live it, love it- relish in the good stuff and experience- yet move on from the bad stuff : )

09 August, 2010

Fitness challenge: Day 1

So, there's this thing that happens to ladies.... I refer to it as the "dot monster".... 

Now, wouldn't you be surprised if I said this foe of mine showed up on the first day I wanted to start kickin fitness ass? Of course it did... : (

All ladies know that day one of this adventure is usually the most unpleasent. 

So, at least I can eat healthier and do some light yoga before bed! Not a complete failure / road block! 

Off to a rocky start, but not discouraged. Lets do this. 

08 August, 2010

Fitness Challenge

So... the past 4, 5... maybe 6 years, I've been mega lazy- and it's not too flattering on the figure! Back in 2004-ish (yikes) I was climbing often, always doing something active and about 15 pounds lighter. 

So here's the deal. I'm getting it back. A big challenge is delicious fatty cheap food- and tons of situations that put me in front of it. 

Here's how I'm going to face this fitness challenge. 

The Diet: 

Portion control. I firmly believe that life is too short to deny yourself delicious food. So- I'll just aim to eat less of it all and eat the fat kid food sparingly. 

The Fitness Plan: 

Yoga twice a week at least. I made myself a workout room which helps motivate me to do it. Plus, it's very peaceful. 

Joining a gym as well. Where I will work out 3 days a week. (I'll have to actually go out and buy running shoes since I forgot to pack mine!) 

Hopefully I'll keep it up! Wish me luck- and I'll keep you all posted on the *hopefully* great results! 

The Golden Scorpion

This weekend my friends and I rented a bus and headed about an hour out of town to the Dong Nay Province- where there is a "water park" - fresh water, fresh air, a ledge to jump off of, and beer. 

It was so much fun- we were lucky enough to have a rain free day which was hot and sunny - but not too hot. Love it! 

Super cheap day, not far from the city- could make this a regular experience! 

Even though life vests are required, you can get away with almost anything. And the life vests were actually pretty great floating devices to chill and drink beer in. 

I love the idea of being able to escape to, well... practically straight into the jungle, for a day long break from the city. 

04 August, 2010

Little Dragon

After the Rain:

After the rain the temperature dropt
And covered in ice was my window top
I say goodbye I wave my hand
As a thousand doves fly
Across the blackened night

After the rain we forget
We make sure we gain then we leave it
Cause were a nation of forgetters
Oh after the rain we pretend
It's easier to begin without looking back

Cause all at once air so thin
And there's nothing left to breath in

After the rain we forget
After the rain we forget

Behind a dream so rosy and red a pile of things to forget
A voice of the past tiptoes in a cracking ghost whispering

After the rain we forget
We make sure we gain then we leave it
Cause were a nation of forgetters

After the rain we forget
After the rain we forget

People where have you been
Have you been hiding
In you big houses
People after the rain
Will your life
Will it ever be the same
Oh people what will you do
When you luck
When it turns on you
Wow people after the rain
Will your life
Will it ever be the same

After the rain we forget
After the rain we forget
After the rain we forget

The Future.

My head is swimming with possibilities. 

As I finally gain a grip on his new chapter in my life, my ambitions and goals become more clear. 

It's exciting to know that I am sill very young and NOTHING is set in stone nor being decided for me. 

Independence is very educational when you are open to it. 

I've had to put my volunteering on hold as I sorted my life out  and in doing so I was able to devote my entire heart to the person who needs it most... me. 


This too shall pass...  I'm very thankful for this phrase and glad I got it tattooed as part of me forever. 

It's a humbling phrase - as it can refer to both the good and the bad.  Sometimes you need that reminder that even the good and exciting things will pass, to keep you centered. 

It leaves me optimistic and pushes me to always aim for the good in life - the bad is simply a distraction. 

03 August, 2010

At a loss.

A friend of mine passed away this week. I've mentioned him a couple of times in the past few months. 

To recap, he was in a very serious motorbike accident here in Vietnam. Amidst cultural barriers and laws, confusion and lies involving insurance and medical bills piling up; His family stayed strong and dedicated. 

Ryan's evacuation was delayed may times due to complications with funds, insurance (lack there of) and the canadian government. He spent about three weeks abroad in critical condition and was finally brought home to reunite with his family. 

While he had been in a coma since the accident, there were small signs that he was fighting strong and his friends and family were all praying for the miracle of good health. 

At first, I prepared myself for the worst... yet after all that the family had been through- with continued strength, I was beginning to have faith in his recovery. His passing came as a shock. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I support them in their fight to get justice in this tragedy. 

Here's a pic of us having fun during an annual beach trip with work in '07: 

02 August, 2010

Rainy season = Lethargy

Honestly, when it rains it pours. 

There are really only two seasons, HOT and RAINY. 
The rainy season in Vietnam lasts from May to September. 

The reason I dislike the rainy season is mainly due to the fact that a motorbike is my main mode of transportation. You've got about 30 seconds from the first fat drops that fall before you are engulfed in a blanket of rain. And boy are you vulnerable on a two wheeled vehicle! 

It really makes you want to stay in all day and sleep, do nothing, eat heavy comforting foods and drink delicious alcoholic beverages. Too bad I can't : )

I really can't wait until it's over! Not to mention I am completely solar powered.... and I usually miss the sunny patches throughout the day while I'm at work! 

First three day weekend I have at work (hopefully it falls after the rainy season) will be spent on the beach for sure!