April 2016

housewarming gift

housewarming gift for Bear. thought i wouldn’t be able to get it for him, but i guess i was sincere enough to be given another chance.😛

it was a good month.

i signed the job contract, which put myself more at ease. although it was still tiring every time after work, i was getting more used to it and was less restless. need to try to sleep properly though, for better productivity. there was one day when i woke up hating the world and only wanted to stay in bed, a short 8-minute sleep under the warm and comfy blanket was a rescuer.

what i came back to study was responsive web design. it was something i was interested in for a long time, so i thought it was time to put it back to focus. i met Tram Anh, who gave me tips of an insider. it was helpful, and i felt encouraged and inspired. long way to go, but certainly possible.

there didn’t seem to be any dramas interesting enough for me to watch this month (well, there was one starring Moon Chae-won, but the plot didn’t seem solid), so i watched more movies – mostly Japanese. i liked Ruokala Lokki, which combined nicely Finnish and Japanese cultural elements. too bad the restaurant in real life in Helsinki wouldn’t offer the same food in the movie. and Sweet Bean (An) was beautiful, the kind of movie that makes you cry unknowingly.

Hồi Phục by Phan Hồn Nhiên was the fiction book for this month. i didn’t like it much though. it gave off a cold, cruel, and hopeless feeling. as for non-fiction, i was reading one but it was rather long and i needed to be in a specific condition to read it, so i didn’t finish it on time.

my relationship was good. it had its ups and downs just like any other couples, but we gradually came to a place where we were both comfortable being alone and being together. i struggled with the doubts in my heart, and finally i understood how it could be incredibly difficult for people to manage the balance between closeness and distance for a relationship to work. all of us human have different levels of need for closeness and distance, it hardly matches, and it changes even by days. fortunately for me that both of us are introverts, so it took a bit of time to adjust but i got it – we need our alone time to recharge and do our own plans, and this in no way means that we don’t like the other person and don’t want to meet or spend time with the other person again. we simply need this space in order to breathe and to grow. when we were away from each other, i liked the gentle feeling when i missed him (when i did miss him, that is. there were times when i didn’t, because i had things to do). there are all sorts of possible feelings when you are in a relationship, and i don’t think it is necessary or healthy to miss the other person feverishly every single waking seconds of the day. and i learned to trust – trust that this man is a righteous person who is in a committed relationship with me, trust that he would be there for me and he got my back. who knows what the future will bring, but for now, we like each other, care about each other, and want to be with each other, and have the will to work things out together. this is all i have ever wanted.

everything seems to be falling into places. i’m grateful.

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters

March 2016

Bear's place PH

there were two new things in March.

firstly, Oanh stopped working to concentrate on studying and freelancing, and therefore i got a job thanks to her. i went with her to the working places and we worked together so that i could know where they were, how to get there, and how to do the job. it became a side job i did two days a week; it was physically demanding, but i was grateful for the opportunity and that i would have some income to provide for myself at least.

secondly, i helped Bear move to a new apartment. i also met one of his brothers and his brother’s friend. i found myself to be cleaning and moving all the time, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. at some point i realized i had been going out every single day, doing this and that. it was tiring, but whenever i had chance to rest, it felt all worth it.

i was in a bit of a slump with reading books – started reading many but none got me going for long. then to my surprise, i did finish one fiction and one non-fiction – “Bưu Thiếp Của Rừng” by Phan Hồn Nhiên (collection of short stories) and “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. i liked both of them. “Bưu Thiếp Của Rừng” reminded me why i like reading fiction – sometimes, coincidentally, they give me the exact answer that i need, even before i know i need them. “Bird by Bird” was delightful. it made me laugh, and it soothed my soul.

i suppose that’s pretty much it… happy and gradually getting used to a new life:) there were ups and downs, but step by step, solve things one by one. i guess when i’m with people who support me to be the best version of myself, when both sides have the will to learn and grow together, difficulties wouldn’t matter much anymore since we would join strength and overcome it all.

Feb 2016

Valentine's gift from Khoa

Valentine’s gift from Khoa.

i moved from Valkeakoski to Espoo (for necessary growth).

got HubSpot Inbound certification.

supplemented visa application papers.

didn’t sound like much but it was all effort pouring in.

Risto was the light at the end of the tunnel.
(our relationship had a sharp dive. but when things reach the lowest possible, from then it could only go up.
highlight among many happy occasions: Valentine’s Day. despite the fact that both of us said we didn’t care much :D)

i read two books, “spark joy” by Marie Kondō (it helped with my move. mantra: focus on what to keep, not what to throw away) and “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (weird that i could never finish reading it when i was small. now i suppose i could share Linh’s excitement with it, to some certain extent).

the drama i watched was “Cheese in the Trap”. it had potential to turn out great, and then like many other Korean dramas in recent years, its plot got lost in the mountain and naturally the drama as a whole lost its spark.

then other things i tried to keep as habit with a decent level of success: yoga every morning and write every evening.

i still felt tired with all the burdens and uncertainties on my shoulder, but found myself to be reviving.

no matter how small the progress was, i’m glad i made some. one of the things i learned was to forgive myself as an act of self-love. don’t sleep on small successes, but celebrate anyway.

and i’m not alone anymore. i never really was, but everything started to have their new meanings, as life changes as always.

as i finally allowed it to change. for my own good.

gentleness. warmth. strength.

when i was finally able to let myself be vulnerable and open for help, when i finally stopped being stubborn and let other people have chance to be a part of my life despite the risk of getting hurt, i was receiving much more happiness than when i was trying to block it all out.

live. live. live.

strive for the better every single day.

Jan 2016

food Bear makes

food Bears make. because i said i didn’t want to go out and didn’t want to cook dinner either.😛

a new year started with all its up and down. for the good part, there are lots of things i managed to accomplish. at least for the habit part, i’ve been doing yoga and writing almost everyday. there are days where i skip, but i’ve learned to forgive myself and pick up where i drop, rather than blaming myself and skip it altogether. i finished reading two books – one fiction (It Started with Paris) and one non-fiction (The Happiness Project), just as planned. then i also registered my own company and submitted my visa application. decided i “want it more than be afraid of it”, so i just pushed through and through. time passes by fast, and i don’t want to stay idle anymore. i wasn’t well not long ago, but i’ve taken enough time to heal and i’ve been much better. this is my life, i choose to enjoy it, and be grateful. like Emma Watson said, “if not now, then when?”.

i’ve been spending a lot more time in Helsinki. consequently, i had more chances to meet Oanh and Khoa, especially now that Khoa is back from Kokkola. Bear and i are at a good place now, where i’m more at ease, we understand each other more and know how to balance and harmonize things out more. i also got to go shopping with Antti in Idea Park and bought a pair of winter shoes which i’m very satisfied with – water-proof, not slippery, elegant, unexpectedly on sale, unexpectedly fit. i suppose i will miss these trips once i move to Espoo in March.

the first month of 2016. live bravely.

2015

I don’t really know what to write about this year. There were many things happened which I was too lazy to note them all down. In a way it is a good sign, it means I’ve been enjoying the real life out there a lot more than this cyberspace. In another way, I feel a bit guilty since I won’t be able to remember the things I don’t write about, especially the happy things.

Anyway, although time is limited, I’ll still write something.

2015 seems to be brighter than 2014, despite many low times. I found a man who is all I’ve hoped for. He’s sensible, gentle, smart. He cares for me. I’ve been in touch a lot more often with other people – my sister, Oanh, Khoa, Truc, “little mom”, Doina, Antti, MattiK. I’ve been going around a lot more, reaching out more, giving myself chances and the energy boost that previously I hesitated to get (I was always afraid that I bothered people too much, forgot that I would make them worried even more if I wasn’t getting better). I’ve been doing yoga almost every day, meditating and exercising regularly too. The grey cloud is still hanging over my head, but I’ve been finding the strength I need to keep moving bravely. Healing and growing up.

As for entertainment ~

Most favorite dramas:

  • You Are My SunShine (Bên Nhau Trọn Đời)
  • Healer
  • Twenty Again
  • Reply 1988 (still ongoing, but I’ve really liked it so far)
  • The Producers
  • Jang Ok Jung (didn’t finish though, was getting too strong emotions and was afraid of the ending)

Albums I listen to a lot:

  • 4 Walls – f(x)
  • Healer OST
  • I – Taeyeon
  • MADE – Big Bang
  • Opus At The End Of Everything – The Flashbulb
  • Chat-shire – IU
  • Colors – miss A
  • 2gether – CNBlue
  • The Red – Red Velvet

Songs:

Movies:

  • The Painted Veil
  • When Marnie Was There
  • Waking Life
  • Before Sunrise + Before Sunset + Before Midnight

Discovery:

  • Caroline Hirons (my skin condition has improved a lot since I followed her advice)

I read a couple of books but nothing stands out in my mind right now… Probably The Woman Who Stole My Life since it was the last book I finished and it made me laught a lot. Oh, So Good They Can’t Ignore You was good too, lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders.

I may or may not add more to this post. Get going now ~

i haven’t felt this calm for a while. it feels so good.

my phone ran out of battery and i let it be like that. i was answering Tatu when it happened so uh, not that i didn’t try hi hi. sorry, you can wait, right?

my mind was already at ease so talking to Truc felt even better. our usual trivial little stuffs. and she told me that she would come here to read when she’s tired, to feel peaceful. so i decide to write more. whatever it is that i could do to bring a bit of light and comfort to anyone out there, even if small, i would gladly do that.

 

yesterday night i was writing.

at first i didn’t intend to do so. i was just reading The Anatomy of Being by Shinji Moon, the personalized poetry book i got from her a long while ago. then i picked a pencil to underline where i liked. then i started writing some short words, which extended to longer threads of thoughts spreading on blank spaces on pages. i also drew.

i wrote a bit this morning, too.

Write hard and clear about what hurts.

— Ernest Hemingway

so i did.

i was wondering why it came so easily. and i suppose, it was because i didn’t feel lonely when i wrote at a place where somebody else already wrote something. it was like we were having a conversation. or not really. we were simply us being human beings, feeling things with all we had, with all of our existence. we were there, spilling our thoughts over the pages and hopefully, hopefully we wouldn’t feel so sad and lonely anymore. whatever kind of connection that was, for whatever reason, no matter how faint, it helped.

Agnes Obel – Close Watch

Never win and never lose
There’s nothing much to choose
Between the right and wrong
Nothing lost and nothing gained
Still things aren’t quite the same
Between you and me

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine

I still hear your voice at night
When I turn out the light
And try to settle down
But there’s nothing I can do
‘Cause I can’t live without you
Any way at all

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine

Tick-tock…

Oh I’m sure
No harm will come to you no more
‘Cause I find myself in your hands
Don’t you be so hard on yourself

Oh oh ooh ooh

i couldn’t sleep last night.

my whole body went cold again, and my head was running wild with thousands of worries and thoughts.

after two hours, i reached for my phone. i called Doina and MattiK. they didn’t pick up.

then MattiK answered me on whatsapp. i asked whether i could call him, he said ok, so i did.

we talked for a while. then since i still didn’t feel like i could sleep, he suggested me to go for a walk, he would still talk to me. so i did.

i went to the lake. it was dark (since, well, 1a.m). the sky full of stars were sparkling above my head. there was a layer of fog floating above the lake surface. the air was crisp. everything was beautiful and quiet.

we talked a bit about me, a bit about him, a bit about the cold, the trees, swimming, stars, city lights, Northern Lights, hare… all the lighthearted and non-lighthearted, all the little things.

i felt better.

it was nice to have somebody to talk to, someone who appreciated the same thing i did, who didn’t go through the same thing as i do and didn’t fully understand me, but acknowledged my feelings without judgement, without nudging me to ‘just get over it’.

i felt calmer, more at ease. and grateful.

thank you. for sticking with me even when i was least lovable.

1.

If you look at the fact that you have a roof over your head, food to eat, that you are young and beautiful and live in a peaceful land, then no, you have nothing to be sad about. But the fact is, we are not only a physical body, we have souls too, and sometimes our souls get sick. If you break a leg you don’t just say ‘I have no reason to have a broken leg’ and ignore it; you seek help. It’s the same when your soul gets hurt. Don’t apologize for being sad.

2.

how to receive love.

#self-reminder.

Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished.
— Og Mandino

When it is hard to receive love for fear of the consequence of letting down your defenses, it might be that you are hiding behind cynicism, pride, or trying to remain too emotionally strong, so that you don’t have to face the possible hurts that loving might bring or facing aspects about yourself that you don’t like. It is important to learn to receive love and to appreciate that you are loved too, so that your own sense of self can be whole. Here are some thoughts to help you learn to receive love and how to keep it.

1.
Trust people when they tell you that they love you. Whether it be an intimate relationship, a friendship, or a family relationship, it is important to accept the declaration of love at face value. If you are pushing aside the gift of their love for you because you are afraid that they do not mean it, then you prevent them from having the chance to prove that they do. It also might push them away from you, so that if you change your mind it may be too late.

2.
Stop fearing loss. A common reason for not being able to receive love is prior experience of losing someone you loved, whether it was from death, a break-up, or for some other reason that has scarred you. If you spend all of your life pushing aside love given to you on the off-chance that the person offering it might withdraw it, you will always feel cynical and unsure, which is not a comfortable or happy place to be. Instead, embrace the love that they are offering and go with the flow, expecting those who offer you love to stay around.

3.
Love yourself. This might be the hardest step of all but if you don’t love yourself that much, receiving love is impossible because you don’t believe that you deserve it. If this is the case, start working on why you can’t love yourself so well, including seeking help to explore the issues involved if needed. Remember that every person is special and that you are very deserving of love.

4.
Let love in and don’t block it. Simply open your heart, live in the moment and cherish the fact that other people care so deeply about you that you are connected, needed, wanted, and included in the affairs and lives of others. Being open and receptive to the love from others can be learned with practice, provided you don’t let cynicism and toughness take over. Let down some of those defenses and pride and let others know that you enjoy their deep care and support for you. And forget about keeping score; love others even if it is not reciprocated. As one large human family, it keeps going around and we receive it back again anyway.

5.
Beware the voices of societal negativity. Social conditioning has a habit of making us feel wary of being effusive about and openly accepting of compliments, generosity, caring, and kind acts, lest we be seen as greedy, prideful, or selfish. Do not push aside the caring, wonderful things people have to say about you just because of such negative overlays; be appreciative and embracing of the love given out by others in all its forms. To do otherwise is to block receipt of love.

6.
Show love. Receiving love is also about expressing love. Kiss your spouse and children, hug your friends, compliment your colleagues, say friendly and complimentary things to the grocery store clerks. Do this regularly.

7.
Watch the experts at receiving love. Children are expert at receiving love because they accept what is said at face value and view receiving love as natural. What is also natural is that being able to receive love creates a balance in which you give and receive in equal measure. Take note of how children manage this beautifully – they ask for help when needed, they give help when asked. They offer compliments without a thought and they accept at face value the compliments that they are given. Re-learning what was once innate for you can restore a lot of happiness and trust in your life.

Source: wikihow