When I arrived in Asia a year ago, I was told I was brave to have no plan, to follow the wind. Nowadays, I find it harder to breeze through life, to not succumb to the stresses of purpose, career, and status.
Sometimes I wake up, aware of this directionless and titleless place I’m in, and I can’t tame the malaise that starts in my stomach and stops me mid-breath. Sometimes, it morphs my thoughts into something not my own.
Moments where I lost sight of mindfulness or mishandled my love, that malaise spread. The same malaise that plagued me two years ago, that left me feeling so powerless and unloved.
Yet while this thing remains within me, my responses to those moments are different. Yes, I’ve had those bed ridden days where all I can do is cry, those instances where I bruise my heart out of foolishness, those moments where I run away to find my peace of mind.
But for once, for once I really do think I’ll figure it out.
It’s never been a dream of mine to call this place home. To explore my heritage, that’s something I frankly didn’t care about. It simply came to me. And in an unexpected way, I feel like I’m living the dream.
Last week, I visited my grandpa in Nha Trang. As I said my goodbyes, he did something he’s never done before. He muttered, “Six years old,” grasped my hand, and gave me a warm hug.
I was six years old when my father, my grandpa’s only son, passed away from cancer. It’s been years, possibly decades since I’ve received something resembling a father’s embrace.
Since my move, my grandpa has given me a notebook of his poetry, gems I’ve yet to understand. Everytime I visit him, I also take a book from my father’s collection from when he was young, from over 40 years ago, before the war plagued his history.
Unplanned moments like these keep me here in Sài Gòn, where I’ve been living for the past three months. Here, I have no real job nor clear direction. I spend my days living, learning, and exploring. I let my heart and intuition lead the way for once.
I guess this is my way of saying hello, I’m back. It’s been weird and happy and difficult these past few. But I’m still standing, knees bruised but dusted off, ready for the next leg of this marathon. What a privilege. What accidental bliss.
Nha Trang for Tểt, January
Saigon Cà Phê, February
Ride or Die, Sài Gòn, March
“Best” Friends in Huể, April
Chasing sunsets, Cần Thơ, April
Some of my favorite Viet Kieuties, Cần Thơ, April
My new calling, Đà Lạt, May
Just a regular non-best-friend in Đà Lạt, May
More coffee, what Vietnamese blood is made of, May