July 2016

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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.

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.