26 September, 2010

Fiona Apple

"Waltz (Better Than Fine)"

If you don't have a song
To sing you're okay
You know how to get along

If you don't have a date
Go out and sit on the lawn
And do nothing
'Cause it's just what you must do
Nobody does it anymore

No I don't believe in the wasting of time,
But I don't believe that I'm wasting mine

If you don't have a point to make
Don't sweat it
You'll make a sharp one being so kind
And I'd sure appreciate it
Everyone else's goal's to get big headed
Why should I follow that beat being that I'm
Better than fine

23 September, 2010

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

It is said that originally, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival came about as a way for parents to make up for lost time with their children after harvest season. The harvest was done by September, (August in the Lunar calendar) and the parents were anxious to spend time with their children and do something special with them, as well as celebrate the harvest, after spending much time working hard and away from the family. It was held under the full moon, which represents fullness and prosperity of life.
Tet Trung Thu is very much like a combination of our Halloween and Thanksgiving. Children parade on the streets, while singing and carrying colorful lanterns of different sizes. Some of the popular shapes include fishes, stars, butterflies and a lantern that spins when a candle is inserted, representing the earth circling the sun.
Dances are also traditional, and include the dragon dance and the flower dance.
It is customary to give Banh Trung Thu, boxes of moon cakes, which are traditionally very rich in taste. The cakes are filled with lotus seeds, ground beans and orange peels and have a bright yoke in the center to represent the moon.
*Quoted from here 

*Image circa 2006 - first time around : )

I have been receiving this boxes of moon cakes for the past week and a half and let me tell you, they aren't delicious! They are the most dense bizarre tasting 'treats' out there, why can't their moon pies be made following a delicious brownie recipe? I'd LOVE to get free boxes of brownies! 

Celebrating at school was spectacular. 
We had performers come to the school, and all of the children received lanterns.
Here's a glimpse of it all, including a video: 

Oh and I never thought my kids might be afraid of a giant red dragon and loud drums, but apparently a few of them were terrified. One even had nightmares... 

Benny hid behind Ms. Cori

Van Anh locked himself in the bathroom. 

Jackson and Bao Phuong hid in the shower, Jackson at least had a little bit of a sense of humor about it... Poor sweet Bao Phuong, you can actually see the terror in her eyes. 

19 September, 2010

Rock Climbing.

*Photo circa 2005 in Redwing, MN*

I miss it. I've talked about it for years. I've carried my climbing gear around the world and yet climbed very rarely. Well, I'm changing that : ) 

I purchased a three month membership to an outdoor climbing gym here in Saigon. I only did two and a half climbs yesterday, but that was one half of a climb more than I thought I could do! 

I felt embarrassed as it took me 20 minutes to get the hang of belaying but once I found my motion and rhythem with it, it was smooth sailing. 

I'm planning on hitting the gym at least twice a week, it's such a beaufitul sport/hobby. You hit your limit and then you climb some more. You get to a point 3 quarters of the way to the top and think you'll never make it- yet somehow you find the strength to do those last few steps. 

I hope to take some time off and hit the natural walls along the beaches of Thailand, possibly next summer. And continue to climb all over the world. I love it. I feel rejuvenated from climbing! 

I highly advise you all to get out and try it. You wont regret it. 

*Another photo circa 2005, Redwing, MN*

13 September, 2010

The Flaming Lips

Wondering at the scope of my experience
Cautious so not to be cold
Caught up in the comfort of what I once was
Lost in all the brand new possibility

Oh to be
In the middle
Happy on the pull of the past
Just before the future comes
Hoping for the rush of some experience
That could elevate me

Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum

When is this all over
When does the next one begin
Happy on the pull of the past
Just before the future comes
Hoping for the rush of some experience
That could elevate me

Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum
Up above the daily hum

11 September, 2010

Saturday Afternoons...

...are made for catching up on sleep, reading and yoga. 

After last weekends big road trip and a week of fighting off a fever, I'm graciously taking this day for myself. A solo morning/afternoon where I don't interact with anyone but myself. 

I appreciate these opportunities, not because I want to be lazy, but because I feel it is a reward to yourself to  rest and do the things you love... uninterrupted. 

I'm also taking this time to map out the future, a little bit. I like to live my life with a loosely planned future, taking opportunities as they come and seeing where the world takes me, but a few rough ideas on the next step is always nice! 

Enjoy your Saturday : ) 

05 September, 2010

Road Trip. Love. It.

What do you do with a 4 day weekend in Vietnam? 
The beach you say? Of course. 
By bus you ask? Definitely not. 
By motorbike.... absolutely favorite thing to do in Vietnam. 

Jake and I went on a 10 day motorbike trip through central Vietnam back in 2008 and it was by far the best trip out of the 2 years we lived here. 

Now that I'm back, I've committed myself to seeing and doing more. This time, I had the pleasure of driving the bike and let me tell you, there is nothing more zen then cruising on a road through the jungle, or along the coast with one earbud of music and nothing else. 

The initial trip plan: Ho Coc Beach, drive there and chill for three nights. 

The real trip: Arrive at Ho Coc, realize it's horrible accommodation and the beach has a greenish yellow foam slash ooze up and down the shore. Stayed the night, played some cards drank a few vodka tonics and listened to my friend Eric play his guitar. Over breakfast we decided to drive further north to my personal favorite weekend getaway destination: Mui Ne. 

The drive there: approx:  240km (marked in yellow)
The drive back: approx: 215km (marked in purple)

I know it's a little tough to see the exact details of the route but you get the idea : ) 

I've fallen in love with the idea of being able to independtly travel. 
No tour group, no bus, just me and a bike. 

On the way home- we all got a little separated from each other (there were 5 people on 4 bikes) and I spent about 130km by myself. It was heaven. Alone with my thoughts, I was able to just take it all in and have that solo time I was looking for on this trip. 

However, no matter how much sun block I put on, I got extremely sunburnt! Even the tops of my hands.

A glimpse of the trip: 

Flat tire before I even left Ho Chi Minh City (pretty sure it was less than 10 minutes into the trip) 

Drink break on the way to Ho Coc...definitely needed that coffee, and to give our bums a break! 

What a beautiful sight. An empty road and my bike. 


One of my favorite things in all of Vietnam are the graveyards. There is something about the color, the way they are spaced out and the feeling I have when I'm around them. I would love to be laid to rest on the hills of VN... or have a vikings funeral. 

Can't beat that view. 

SOO much livestock! The only thing missing.... cow bells. NEED MORE COWBELLS! I'll have to go back to the Swiss Alps for that one : ) 


Happy Cori. 

We headed home early, which was amazing because we were back in Saigon by 1 p.m. Still time to have a lazy Sunday AND to purchase some new kicks: