28 November, 2010
I was fortunate enough this year to make a trip out to Singapore to see my friends Nick and Sorelle, the last time I saw them was for this:
And now they have this : )
I started out my trip on Thursday- I had taken the day off of work because my original flight left in early afternoon. However, the airlines changed my flight (boooooooorns) and I ended up with a day off in Saigon.
I had a great chill day, did some window shopping and hit the spa. There is something SO refreshing in having your hair washed before a flight.
The flight itself was incredibly easy, I nodded off and came to as we were descending into Singapore. Riding in the taxi was hilarious because the taxi driver wouldn't stop chatting. In Vietnam you hardly interact with the taxi driver because their English is limited, but this guy was just talk talk talk.
Spend the rest of the evening having wine and pizza with Sorelle, her sister and her friend Anita.
Friday was another chill day. I got my first real feel of the holidays, the weather was hot but not unbearable- slightly overcast with a cool breeze. Perfect.
We hung out around the house, playing with Maya (pictured above) and had a nice long walk out to lunch. The afternoon was filled with preparations for Saturdays feast - we made corn bread for the stuffing and three pies- two apple and one blueberry.
Nick was on a business trip in China until the early evening so once he was home we all drank wine and stuffed the pies and talked. Their house keeper/nanny made an amazing dinner of chicken rice and dahl, and we wrapped up the night reminiscing about college days and all the funny times we shared. Sorelle even had this blast from the past :
*Sorry for the quality - it's a picture of a picture : )
Saturday (our thanksgiving) was so perfect. A lazy day, running around Singapore on the back of Nick's vespa grabbing last minute things and cooking up a storm.
Such a lovely Thanksgiving, I was SO incredibly sad to leave- and what's worse is I had to leave around 5:30 am so I didn't get to have proper goodbyes! All in all it was a perfect trip and reminded just how much I love these two people! Oops... shall I say three people?
14 November, 2010
11 November, 2010
A marvelous read.
The forward by Walker Percy was such a great introduction I'll include it here for your literary pleasure.
Perhaps the best way to introduce this novel - which is my third reading of it astounds me even more than the first- is to tell of my first encounter with it. While I was teaching at Loyola in 1976 I began to get telephone calls from a lady unknown to me. What she proposed was preposterous. It was not that she had written a couple of chapters of a novel and wanted to get into my class. It was that her son, who was dead, had written an entire novel during the early sixties, a big novel, and she wanted me to read it. Why would I want to do that? I asked her. Because it is a great novel, she said.
Over the years I have become very good at getting out of things I don't want to do. And if ever there was something I didn't want to do, this was surely it: to deal with the mother of a dead novelist and, worst of all, to have to read a manuscript that she said was great, and that as it turned out, was a badly smeared, scarcely readable carbon.
But the lady was persistent, and it somehow came to pass that she stood in my office handling me the hefty manuscript. There was no getting out of it; only one hope remained- that I could read a few pages and that they would be bad enough for me, in good conscience, to read no farther. Usually I can do just that. Indeed the first paragraph often suffices. My only fear was that this one might not be bad enough, or might be just good enough, so that I would have to keep reading.
In this case I read on. And on. First with the sinking feeling that it was not bad enough to quit, then with a prickle of interest, then a growing excitement, and finally an incredulity: surely it was not possible that it was so good. I shall resist the temptation to say what first made me gape, grin, laugh out loud, shake my head in wonderment. Better let the reader make the discovery on his own.
Here at any rate is Ignatius Reilly, without progenitor in any literature I know of- slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one- who is in violent revolt against the entire modern age, lying in his flannel nightshirt, in a back bedroom on Constantinople Street in New Orleans, who between gigantic seizures of flatulence and eructations is filling dozens of Big Chief tablets with invective.
His mother thinks he nes to go to work. He does, in a succession of jobs. Each job rapidly escalates into a lunatic adventure, a full-blown disaster; yet each has, like Don Quixote's, its own eerie logic.
His girlfriend, Myrna Minkoff of the Bronx, thinks he needs sex. What happens between Myrna and Ignatius is like no other boy-meets-girl story in my experience.
By no means a lesser virtue of Toole's novel is his rendering of the particularities of New Orleans, its back streets, its out-of-the-way neighborhoods, its odd speech, its ethnic whites- and one black in whom Toole has achieved the near impossible, a superb comic character of immense wit and resourcefulness without the least trace of Rastus minstrelsy.
But Toole's greatest achievement is Ignatius Reilly himself, intellectiual, ideologue, deadbeat, goof-off, glutton, who should repel the reader with his gargatuan bloats, his thunderous contempt and one-man war against everybody- Frued, homosexuals, heterosexuals, Protestants, and the assorted excesses of modern times. Imagine an Aquinas gone to pot, transported to New Orleans from whence he makes a wild foray through the swamps to LSU at Baton Rouge, where his lumber jacket is stolen in the faculty men's room where he is seated, overcome by mammoth gastro-intestinal problems. His pyloric valve periodically closes in response to the lack of a "proper geometry and theolofy" in the modern world.
I hesitate to use the word comedy - though comedy it is- because that implies simply a funny book, and this novel is a great deal more than that. A great rumbling farce of Falstaffin dimensions would better describe it; commedia would be closer to it.
It is also sad. One never quite knows where the sadness comes from- from the tragedy at the heart of Ignatius's great gaseous rafes and lunatic adventures or the tragedy attending the book itself.
The tragedy of the book is the tragedy of the author- his suicide in 1969 at the age of thirty-two. Another tragedy is the body of work we have been denied.
It is a great pity that John Kennedy Toole is not alive and well and writing. But he is not, and there is nothing we can do about it but make sure this gargantuan tumultuous human tragicomedy is at least made available to a world of readers.
A phenomenal read and it really is tragic. This man took his life due to depression by his failure to publish this novel. And what a truly epic novel it is.
by: Ayn Rand
10 November, 2010
07 November, 2010
There are so many times that I see my blogspot dashboard from my 'top sites' on safari. I see that little thumbnail of my blog and think- man I should really get an entry out.... but do I do it? Nah....
Living life sometimes involves being secluded, self indulgent and a bit aloof. And there is no problem with that!
I've been having fun doing nothing really, the same old pleasant routine. Great job, great friends, Vietnamese food and great exercise. I'm feeling pretty content with my life at this point. I feel almost as if it's the calm before the storm. As if I'm taking this year to reset my batteries and prepare myself for the what's to come. And the best part of that is, I have NO idea what is to come for me!
Time has been flying by living here in 'Nam. I cannot believe it is already November! October seemed to happen in the span of a week I swear! A glimpse of October:
And a look into November:
I love this time of year. I'm incredibly excited to start planning for the holidays and I can't wait to get back on an airplane! I can't believe it's been a little over 6 months here already and I haven't flown anywhere since I arrived back in Vietnam at the end of April.
I have some pretty exciting and great things to look forward to in the next 6 weeks or so. At school this month I have 4 students that have birthdays, which means afternoons filled with singing presents and KFC- Teacher's day will be celebrated on the 19th with a half day at school and the following week I head out to Singapore to celebrate thanksgiving with two really great friends that I haven't seen in over 2 years.
I'm also planning for my trip to the states, which I am so incredibly stoked for. I get to spend my first christmas in about 6 years with my entire family. My mom, dad and brother. We all live in different places and I've been living internationally on and off for 4 years or so... it's been a challenge getting together. This year however I have TWO weeks with family! A few road trips are planned, relaxing and doing nothing, christmas movies and colder weather. I can't sit still just thinking about it.
I'm in love with life at this point. Even with the many challenges it brings on a day to day basis. I'm interested to see the changes I have made, the choices that I continue to make and the new life that I lead.
Being 26 and hitting a 'midlife' crisis is rad. I feel like I've already lived a lifetime and now won the lottery with a new beginning.