Old is out

Peanut dropped my old phone on Monday and shattered the screen to the point that I couldn’t even glide my fingers through it.

So today Mr. O bought me a new phone and I cannot believe how outdated my iPhone 5s is until we saw the new models.

I am moving on up!


where we began

I have a new volunteer job today!

A while ago I shared with PP’s teacher that I could be a tutor for any students in her class whose English is a second language. Apparently she does have a few ELD (English Language Development, formerly known as ESL) students but they are proficient enough to follow instructions in English; therefore she hasn’t tapped into my help yet. Until last week when a new student who just recently arrived from Egypt coming into her class with little to no English proficiency at all that she thought of my offer.

Today was our first day. I spent an hour with the kid to assess his understanding of spoken English, reading and phonic recognition level. He is a bright kid from the onset, and picked things up quickly. At this age, I have no doubt he will gain necessary skills in no time to reach basic proficiency.

So now twice a week, Monday and Wednesday, I will be his ELD tutor, giving him one-on-one interaction so that he can get up his speed with the most basic letter and sound recognitions. If he needs more help, I will volunteer thrice a week.

I don’t know exactly why, but I am excited to volunteer and help this student. I think mostly because I was once like him, at the age of 13, and spoke very little English upon coming to the U.S. from the refugee camp. I see myself, and the struggles that I had, and I want to lessen this student’s struggles and guide him through the web of learning a second language, at least at this early stage.

This morning, when I left the classroom and walked back to my car, I thought of my ESL teachers, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Smith, and how grateful I was, and still am, to have them as my guidance those early days when I really needed it.

(And I am also grateful to Danielle Steel for writing those hopeless cheap-thrill romantic books for me to garner my vocabulary back in the days when we had no TV or iPhone or iPad and the internet!)

Con bà bán chè

Chiều nay lục tủ thấy nữa bịch đậu đen không biết mua từ khi nào. Sẳn dịp ngày chủ Nhật bỏ rác nên dọn bỏ đủ thứ đồ mới thấy bịch đậu. Bụng dạ bảo thôi nấu nồi chè đậu đen dùng thử cái nồi instant pot ra sao nếu không ngâm đậu qua đêm.

Sao bao trăn trở hết cả buổi nấu được nồi chè cũng tạm được. Lúc ghi xuống cuốn sách nấu ăn gia chánh thì để chữ “thất bại” tổ chảng mà còn viết hoa nữa chứ. Xong lúc chiều sau khi ăn tối hỏi hai thằng đậu coi đứa nào muốn ăn chè mẹ nấu thì hai thằng đều giơ tay. Thằng đậu em thưởng thức tới hai chén. Thằng này đúng là gốc Việt Nam theo mình, biết ăn chè. Còn thằng anh thì cũng ăn nhưng không nhiệt tình tha thiết cho lắm. Còn đại gia sau khi thấy thằng con mình ăn ngon khen nên xin thử một muỗng. Ăn xong cũng khen khen mà chê là vỏ đậu hơi bị sượng và đắng.

Lúc múc chè cho hai thằng đậu còn ráng kể lại chuyện mẹ đó hồi xưa hay thức lúc 4h hay 5h sáng giúp bà Ngoại rữa và sàng đậu đã ngâm qua đêm rồi bắt lữa nấu một nồi chè bự chảng. Mùa mưa chè ra bán không hết là mấy anh em ngồi vây quang nồi chè đứa dùng muỗng đứa dùng ly múc ăn ngấu nghiến. Bà Ngoại nó thì rầu còn mẹ với mấy cậu nó thì vui sướng vì được ăn chè.

Trời ơi ngày xưa nhà mình bán chè với đủ loại bánh trái mà vì Mẹ lo không đủ sở hụi lấy lại vốn nên không cho đám con lấy ăn vặt. Đến chiều ế món nào mới được ăn món đó.

Giờ mỗi lần nấu chè là nhớ tới mấy tháng mưa.

My best of the day

My best today was whipping up dinner in 30 minutes for two unexpected guests who came to our door with hungry stomach. Good things that I went to Trader’s Joe earlier in the day and grabbed some fillet mignon and so I made stir-fried basil beef and the side was just a simple stir-fried cabbage with lots of garlic.

After our guests left at 9 p.m. PP came to the kitchen while I was cleaning up asking me if he could have crepes for breakfast tomorrow. Alright, your wish is my command; I pulled out the pantry and whipped up crepe batter then made strawberry compote using frozen berries.

Oh, by the way, the yeast batter for waffles that I learned from Laura Vitale turned out really well. It was not bad on my first try; I just need to learn more about the griddle’ personality then we will eventually jive for many years to come.

life-long suffering

I have a visceral migraine headache today that really limited my daily functions. It last from the moment I woke up until now despite taking medication. What a suffering!

Which reminds me, I have to call an acupuncturist for an appointment to fix this life-long suffering. I think this kind of chronic migraine headache is also hereditary because my mom has it and she had it worse in her 40s, right before she came to menopause.

I am not looking forward to menopause. My mom went coo-coo for a few years going through it while enduring life challenges in America in our early years. She even shaved her head a few times and we had no concept or neither we understood what she went through. We just thought that we didn’t do well or meet her expectations and she was always angry. Nevertheless, she got better upon finding a job as a kitchen assistant at Japanese restaurant.