November 2016

2016.11.12. birthday.

2016.11.12. birthday.

this month feels particularly long for some reason. maybe because the weather has been so gloomy and cold, i just want it to be over already. it’s my birthday month and i’m supposed to be happy, but i’m done with trying to hype up. i want to let myself feel whatever it wants to feel, to be able to express it, and live on.

i think i will edit this post later since i have work tomorrow and should go to sleep soon.

matane!

October 2016

 

2010.10.24. energy charge. live with ease.

2010.10.24. crab soup @ Dean’s place while watching Larva in New York.
evening of energy charge. live with ease.

i’ve been feeling down and moody recently, most likely because of the weather – cloudy and lack of sunlight. however, i’m satisfied with what i read and watched.

K2’s plot was bad so i dropped it. The Good Wife was excellent, stellar acting and strong plot; however, i was glad when i reached the end since it was emotionally draining. i picked Age of Youth after that, finished it yesterday, and i’ve been feeling sad ever since as if i’ve parted with a friend i really like. i’m looking forward to Legend of the Blue Sea, but it premieres on 16th Nov – two more weeks to wait. hard to find something lighthearted and uplifting to watch meanwhile.

we didn’t watch many movies this month. managed to finish both parts of Little Forest though. Summer/Autumn seems to be appreciated more, but I prefer Winter/Spring. both of them had beautiful cinematography. i enjoyed the mood and air they created. loved the cat (of course ~). increased my desire to visit Japan, for the food and all that.

i read two books. or 4, to be exact, since Lang Gia Bảng had three installments. logic story, no unnecessary love-line – A+. and the other is The Lady of the Camellias. at the beginning i didn’t think i would like it, then it made me cry so much toward the end. so heartbreaking. i liked both books.

this month i met Khoa, Dean, Tram Anh and Kiet, Oanh and Joni. met Khoa on a beautiful and bright autumn day to give him some homemade blueberry jam and got some medicine for Bear. met Dean and Tram Anh + Kiet since i wanted to give him some blueberry pie Bear made. meeting them gave me good energy. talked easily, laughed easily. i thought we should live more like that. then Oanh and Joni came since Oanh wanted to talk with Bear about game industry; she was organizing an event on that topic. they also brought us some blueberry from Joni’s grandparents.

Bear bought me jacket and pants to keep me warm. they were for my birthday gift. i was, of course, over the moon. so meaningful and practical.

ah, i coincidentally met with Mette, too, outside Arabia when Bear and i went grocery shopping and she was going to a rehearsal. as a result, Bear and i decided to go to Juttutupa to have dinner and hear her sing (apparently she’s also a song-writer). unfortunately, our booked table was in a corner that was too far. well, i got to try reindeer meat for the first time at least. it wasn’t my favorite, but Bear and i both liked the steak which was juicy and tasty. i will definitely try to go to Mette’s other events next time.

September 2016

blueberry + lingonberry pie, apple pie, cream, and orange juice.

blueberry + lingonberry pie, apple pie, cream, and orange juice.

i cooked a lot more. most of the time when i didn’t work, i would cook. at first it was difficult to think of dishes i could make, then gradually ideas just came to my mind. there were days when i simply just cooked and ate. that was nice.

we also went to the forest a lot more. with that i meant 2 out of 4 weekends in total. if not forest then it would be garden. we got apples, blueberry, and lingonberry like that, and naturally we baked. i haven’t gone out of pies to eat for a couple of weeks now.

this month i met with Doina after about six months since the Restaurant Day in February before i moved to Espoo. it was short but nice. we wandered around Tiger and Suomalainen Kirjakauppa in Kamppi, and International Market at the park outside Rautatieasema (where i bought raisin bun/rusinapulla three times in total). then we had dinner at Momotoko, went back to Kamppi, passed by Clas Ohlson. updated on things.

i met with Oanh and updated on things, too. she is currently dating Joni and seems a lot happier than before. i’m happy for her.

originally i visited Oanh to bring her some of the pies we baked, and it was the same reason to meet Khoa, although with him it was much more brief. didn’t matter, as long as i could meet them, talked to them, be with them, and be sure that they were doing well on their own.

things with Bear was a bit rockier this month, but we were really affectionate toward each other too. listened more, learned more from each other, tried to be more understanding. not easy, but worth it.

books i read were Trầm vụn hương phai by Tô Mịch and The Blue Stone by Jimmy Liao. music i liked was Moon Lovers OSTs (i dropped this drama but still enjoy its music immensely). started watching K2 and The Good Wife.

been treating my allergy (unknown cause) with Kestine and had a wisdom tooth pulled out today. back to school as an open study student. things are rolling.

August 2016

Bear's birthday food.

Bear’s birthday food.

this month i moved from Espoo and moved in with Bear in Helsinki. for the first time in a long long time, i didn’t have my own place to go back to. at the same time, i didn’t have to go back and forth between two places anymore, which settled my mind and i could do things such as making food. plus, staying with Bear ♥ we only needed a bit of adjustment since both of us are introverts and we like to have our own space, but that was pretty much it.

the first week when i had to commute quite far for work was also Bear’s birthday week; he went to a cottage with his friends from Wednesday to Sunday. we celebrated his birthday on the Sunday before. i made bún riêu based on Khoa’s instruction. it was the first time ever i made that dish by myself. bought mango from an Asian store since i knew he liked it much more the ones we could find from supermarkets here. and the birthday cake was made by Khoa – chocolate, lactose-free, gluton-free. his birthday gift was a secret between us. he was surprised i prepared one, even more so that it was out in the open in the room the whole time. well, to be fair, it was mixed with my other boxes from the move, and Bear being Bear meaning he wouldn’t have noticed it was unopened. cute hi hi. then on Tuesday i made spring roll, which he said it was the best spring roll he ever tasted. :”)

we missed each other a lot during the time he was away. it was nice too, for the exact reason – that we could miss each other. and having some time being apart, to enjoy things on our own. we communicated often, and were patient with each other when things went a bit rough. i was proud of ourselves, of how we grow in this relationship. both then and after he got back, it felt like i was wrapped in a loving blanket – a warm, soft, gentle, fuzzy one. the feeling lasted for days. happy, happy, happy.

he also helped me cleaning the apartment. despite barely got better from being sick from the trip, he did most of the work; i was so thankful.

i went back there on Wednesday after work from the main house to meet Oanh there. we talked, went to S for Oanh to buy food, and ate grapes while waiting for Kaiser the landlord. he smiled a lot and was much more pleasant this time when we met. it was a nice last meeting.

overall, it was a nice month in term of relationships with other people. even with my temporary roommate, we talked a lot and didn’t have any arguments.

as for books, i finished 4 of them. The Joker by Phan Hồn Nhiên, Stitches by Anne Lamott, Letters from a Cat by Helen Hunt Jackson, and Xuân Yến by Annie Baobei. i like the last one the most out of them. although i didn’t agree with everything the characters did, it was still an enjoyable read.

as for music, i liked Uncontrollably Fond aka Lightly, Ardently OSTs. for the watch, the drama was not my favorite ever, but i liked Eul as a female lead, and i liked Suzy’s portrayal of her.

a good month, i would say.

July 2016

eyeem-89431088

it wasn’t a particularly good month.

on a Monday morning Bear had to call emergency because i was so much in pain. got to the hospital, they did what they could then we left. we walked to the bus stop, i fainted there. an emergency car passed by, they checked how i was although they were off-duty. a guy at the bus stop called emergency when he saw me faint, so after a while i got on the third emergency car that day. got back to hospital so they could check how i was after the previous operation. turned out i got to another hospital, not the one i was before, but it was fine. while being there, Bear told me that the one on our right couldn’t breathe properly, and the one on our left vomited blood. i supposed my case wasn’t too bad then. they took some of my blood to test, and also gave me painkillers. Bear got me a salmon salad to eat. at some point i was feeling quite comfy. a doctor passed by to check, then i was discharged yay.

the next morning i still felt horrible, so i called to make a doctor appointment near my place. it was Tuesday, and the appointment would be on Friday. i was pretty much bedridden during the time, going back and forth between the thoughts of going to emergency again or not. Bear went to pick raspberries and blueberries and fed me. he also went to buy ice, and we tried warm bath too since why not. my condition got much better already by the time we got to meet the doctor. it was a long way to go there and back, and for nothing almost, but at least the buses were close (Bear compared it to door-to-door service).

the next week i went back to work. it was still inconvenient, but i wasn’t quite in pain anymore.

when i was sick, the neighbor’s cat visited multiple times. we joked about borrowing it for a while then return it when i fell asleep. it helped a lot with my mentality. today though, apparently the neighbor moved and so did the cat.

Oanh got offer from HOAS and would move too. we had Khoa’s birthday party on Friday – the last time in this Olari apartment. Khoa now has an apartment in Pohjois-Haaga. Oanh said they will wait for me in Helsinki. i look forward to that.

i read two books this month, both from Ichikawa Takuji – Em sẽ đến cùng cơn mưa (Be With You) and Nếu gặp người ấy cho tôi gửi lời chào. i liked Be With You, it brought me back to the feelings i had when i watched the movie a long while ago.

Uncontrollably Fond got me back to K-drama. it’s on-going. both Linh and i like it so far.

work was okay. i particularly liked the couple in the main house, since they seemed to appreciate my work, and they usually took the kids out the whole day and i could work in peace. too bad they were not there anymore. what a sad surprise when i got back to work.

anyway, that was July. hello August.

ah, the best thing this month was, “i love you”.

May 2016

us and Vibami - Vietnamese sandwich aka bánh mì.

us and Vibami – Vietnamese sandwich aka bánh mì.

i suppose i could say there were three things that my life centered around this month.

first was pollen allergy (birch pollen, to be exact). for the first time ever, i knew how it felt like. back then in summer 2012, when i saw Dean and Truc struggling with it, i remembered telling myself it was a good thing i didn’t have it. now, i experienced it first-hand. what a twist of fate, i had always thought May was the most beautiful month in Finland (it still is, but… T_T). anyway, this allergy should be over pretty soon.

second was my relationship. we were a lot closer and i became a lot more at ease now. we took care of serious issues, and we enjoyed our little silly moments together. i’m incredibly happy with this man – and in a way, i still feel that this is an understatement.🙂

third was my job. i got used to it and found small joys every now and then. gained experience and was pretty confident by the time i got the third house to take care of. most importantly, although it was still tough toward the end of the month, i didn’t have to ask money from my family anymore – which was definitely a good start.

i still did yoga regularly. not much reading and writing (went out a lot and these two were pushed much down in priority list, especially writing since i took many pictures and noted on facebook instead). music i liked this month was BTS (Save Me, Young Forever, Butterfly), Jessica (she released her first solo album – Fly), and Imagine Dragon (on top of my mind now are Demons, On Top of the World, and America). as for movies: Whisper of the Heart (re-watch, and it reminded me of how wonderful it was. the good feeling lingered long after), The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Intern, Alice in Wonderland, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

and last but not least, quotes from an article i liked:

❝I sense that you’re still not sure you deserve the happiness you’ve found. And I can’t tell you that you do deserve it, because I just don’t think the world works that way. We all know many spectacularly lousy human beings—selfish, greedy, mean-spirited—who seem to have it all: love, luck, money, career, plush white carpeting that never looks dirty. And we all also know too many wonderful human beings—compassionate, kind, generous—who seem to be slammed again and again with appalling misfortune and can’t catch a break.

So let’s skip the “Do you deserve it?” angle, shall we? I’m smart, but I’m certainly not smart enough to make sense of the universe’s notoriously perverse ways of operating. The jury’s out on deserving. Maybe we deserve everything we get; maybe we deserve nothing we get, and it’s all random rain and rainbows.

Yes, let’s strip away this iffy existential question of deservedness, which I think is eating at you and complicating matters.❞

❝Don’t tell anyone, but I’m always reading interviews with elderly couples who have been married for decades (it’s a genre, if you know where to look). Their marriages aren’t perfect, not by a long shot. But time and time again, I recognize something in the words of these longtime partners that many relationships seem to be lacking today—trust in their choice of spouse, and simple faith that neither one of them was going anywhere. The longest-marrieds somehow managed—despite infidelity, illness, loss of children, infertility, wartime, poverty, you name it—to keep that radical trust in their relationships even when it wasn’t merited and even when hope was in short supply. They stuck around. They showed up. They didn’t overthink it. They chose their partners once (maybe not even very well, maybe hastily) and they simply decided to keep choosing their partners, every day, no matter what.❞

❝I applaud you both for doing whatever bad-ass soul-searching got you to a healthy enough place to find someone truly kind-hearted and ready to love. If I believed in “deserved” I might even go so far as to say that you both do, in fact, deserve this stroke of luck and love.

I won’t say that. But I will say this: You can accept it by just showing up. Every day. You can’t predict the future. You can’t know what will come. But isn’t that a relief, in a way? It’s not your place to worry, because if you keep showing up and you keep trusting your choice and you keep loving this man, then you’re doing your part. You’re doing all you can, and that’s better than enough.

In this case, it sounds like that’s what he’s doing too. He’s made it clear: you’re his choice.

So it might take some time, Too Good, for you to stop prepaying for future worry. This is a process like anything else. It’s hard to be sad, but it’s also hard to be happy when you’re not used to it.

It just means you really, really care. But I’m a little superstitious when I’m feeling too happy, too. So I’ll tell you my trick: Every time I’m sure the universe has handed me something that feels too good to be true, I shut my mouth, I close my eyes, and I silently think, THANK YOU.

If I’m still panicking, I’ll say it out loud. As many times as I need to before my heart slows its galloping toward assumptions of doom and imminent disaster and humiliation.

There really IS something to gratitude. And when gratitude and radical trust in the universe go hand in hand, well, I’ve seen some pretty magical things happen.

Just keep showing up, Too Good. Just keep choosing him, and let him keep choosing you.❞

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.