a bundle of thoughts

entering mid-August…

Summer is almost coming to and end, and a new school year will begin soon…very soon.

I can’t wait for having both kids at school, even when Peanut is only going to Kindergarten for 2.5 hours. These hours will become so precious to me. I am thinking of having the time to walk at the nearby trails, grocery shopping, schedule doctor appointments, clean the house…with no one to interrupt and distract me.

Hmmm, it’s like deserving a vacation!

Talking about vacation, the kids are done with airplane for now. After spending about 25 hours total in flight for all three trips, they can’t handle another trip that involves flying. Perhaps we have to take a boat the next time we go somewhere that is not within a driving distance. 😀 I also am maxed out of energy for another vacation so until next year…

We had a splendid time in Washington D.C. and Northern V.A. The boys got more time to spend with their cousins on Mr. O’s side. It’s interesting how these kids just come together and connect and identify a common bond among themselves. I feel that my kids are very fortunate to have two cultures strongly presented in their lives. I hope they will continue to take pride of their ethnicity and cultural upbringings as something unique to themselves.

I also saw my mother in law for the second time in eight years. There was a misunderstand/misjudgement between the two of us before PP was born, but with time and space we both came to a place where it became a nonissue, at least that’s what comes from my perspective. The kids met their grandmother for the first time as well, but with language barriers, it was difficult for them to communicate with her. Nevertheless, they had time to bond and connect.

O’s family members and relatives are widely accepting my presence as their niece- and cousin-in-law. I felt welcome into their open arms. The eldest uncle and his wife cook me a feast of Somali food…and oh my, that didn’t help with my red-meat diet. They really went all out in their reception. And it was great to be praised by Mr. O’s another uncle whom he looks up to. This is the uncle who had met Mr. O’s ex-gf and all…Yoh, I am really above those women of Mr. O’s past. The uncle might be a bit diplomatic, but I take whatever praises that came my way. That’s life!

In between family and friend visit we also toured Mt. Vernon, which was George Washington’s residence and farm, and also walking around the Mall from Lincoln Memorial to WWII Memorial with a stop at Vietnam Memorial. We also went to Georgetown area, one of my favorite neighborhood in D.C., and a place where O and I had our dates the first time we traveled together to D.C. more than 10 years ago. This time we came back with two more in addition.

Here is a picture of us…without the kids, for once!

PP took this photo for us.

P.S. It took me five hours to finish writing this post.

Me and President Washington!


Shirokiya Japan Village Walk

The Japan Village Walk was another place I found based on recommendations from Youtubers. It’s located on one end of Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu, about 15 minutes from Waikiki. It’s not part of the mall’s food court, but was in an enclave of itself. I felt so belonged as soon as I walked into this place, although a bit perplexed and overwhelmed of the bustling atmosphere. There were so many stalls of Japanese food that the only difficult task we had was what to eat and which stall has the best items. I browsed around, walking up and down the rows and ailes at least three times before deciding on my dinner menu.

I highly recommend this place if you travel to Honolulu, even if you are not a fan of Japanese food, just come here for that cultural and food experience.

Continue reading “Shirokiya Japan Village Walk”

I was a virgin, but no more!

Sound erotic, but it’s true!

While in Hawaii, I was de-virginized with these three new dishes.

Fresh sashimi abalone, $8.99/piece. I love the crunchy texture, and the fresh scent of the ocean, no stench.

Sea urchin, $14.99 for these three pieces. Each one of them melt in my mouth like butter…I was not sure if they were freshly caught in Hawaii though. Nevertheless, I love it!

I bought the abalone and urchin at Mitsuwa, a Japanese market on the second floor of International Market Place in Waikiki.

Ahi Tuna poké with watermelon and edamame. $14.99/bowl. I got this one to-go at a shop just a level below Mitsuwa market. The manager was happy to hear that it was my first bowl so he gave me a bit extra of tuna. Win win!

Now you know the story of my virginity! 😀 Next time, if I were to be lucky to return, I will definitely eat more of these instead of waiting for the last few days to acquire their taste.

Oh, now I remember the reason I waited until the latter part of our vacation to eat these; I got food poisoning from eating Vietnamese food at this fancy fusion place that has been praised by so many Youtubers; that story will be told soon.

P.S. How cute is this little Peanut learning to use chopstick for his feed of seaweed salad. And yes, he was squatting like a true Asian!

First-grade Open House

In PP’s “Me On The Map” assignment, one question asked him of a place he wants to visit, he put down, “Vietnam, because that’s where my mom was born, and because it’s hot.”

I guess we have to travel to Vietnam very soon. 😀

P.S. First-grade is almost over; eight more days!

First-Grade Open House
May 23, 2017

a borrowed place

For dust become dust, we return to the beginning of where we came from.

My father’s body is being cremated as I am writing this post. Luckily, with modern technology and wi-fi, I was able to receive photos from my niece of my father’s funeral procession. Somehow these less-than-desirable quality photos become so precious to me; they make me feel closer to where he is, while being half the world apart. One of my unforgivable regrets was not being physically able to be there to đeo tang, wearing a strip of white cloth on my head and prostrate in front of his casket. This regret will consume me for a long time.

My aunt and a few cousins are doing đeo tang in place of my siblings and me.

There is one particular photo that will haunt me, perhaps for the rest of my life I will never take it out of my mind — It’s his lifeless body laying on the divan awaiting for the initial funeral procedure. This image will also consume me with guilt for a long time. (I am not posting this particular photo anywhere on social media.)

The cousins are keeping him company through the three-day-two-night funeral.

His body is taking the final trip on this earth before going to the crematory.

At the crematory; the final ceremony was performed while waiting for his ashes.

His death tablet and ashes will be brought back to a local Buddhist temple close to where my aunt currently lives. He will be comforted by the daily Buddhist chant and bells.

This is a hard post for me to write…

Mr. O and the boys took me to a nearby Buddhist Monastery earlier today. I made a donation in his name and prayed for him.

I don’t know the right way to grieve…(Is there a right way for it?) and just follow my intuition to mourn his death my own ways.

Ba đi thanh thản nha Ba!