Happy Accidents

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

Sài Gòn Đẹp Lắm, sketched by Foxtly, April

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

  • Miguel

    What a beautiful and wise and touching piece of writing (peace of writing?)
    Wish you joyful and fruitful continuation of explorations, and more happy accidents to come.
    Hugs from phnom penh!

  • Mackenzie Alexander

    I enjoyed reading this

  • reader

    I’m proud of you. Sometimes, it’s not some answer you’re looking for, but the struggle for meaning that matters more than anything else.