Dive In.

Dive in first, then figure things out along the way. If we spend forever trying to figure things out first, and then dive after, then we would never know what today brings, and lose too much precious time. Many lessons are taught through experience, so dive in. 

The words “dive in” was the message that summarized the two weeks of my life where my dad went to Vietnam. During that time, I ran around like a headless chicken, absorbing my dad’s work responsibilities and taking some of mine back from him while he left for Vietnam. All of a sudden, I was bombarded with a bottomless list of tasks. But I didn’t resist. In fact, I asked for this, and while I have felt fatigue at some point, I’m very happy because I learned so much in such a short period of time. I’m glad that I dove into my dad’s life as a small business owner.

It takes some motivation and bravery to dive in. Taking chances and change definitely comes with some anxiousness, so I’m proud of everyone who tries. No matter how big or how little, I encourage all to try someone new.

Thank you, Dad, for finally going on vacation and trusting me. [Thank you, guest speaker, for your motivational words and life stories.] Let’s dive in, everyone!

Water & Earth

Let me feed your soil
with the finest water
nourish your seeds, watch you
sprout past the sky’s limits
into the infinite
where our hearts may connect.

Prompted by some feelings that struck me hard one day, many different thoughts from different places in my life ultimately came together and collaborated to create the piece above. I can relate this to every aspect of my life [work, personal, etc.], and it [hopefully, subtly] expresses what I truly wish for.

Today, I thank Mother Nature, for the rain we’ve been receiving these past couple of days, for the oddly soothing sound of thunder, for the beautiful sunshine that momentarily emerged from behind the gray clouds, and for the rare sight of the sky colored in lovely pastel hues during sunset. Thank you, Mother Nature, for being a creative influence for this poem. Thank you for connecting the following thought: Water nurtures Earth, and Earth grounds water. Things aren’t always smooth as there are times of turmoil between Water and Earth (floods, hurricanes, etc.). But for the most part, they help each other, potentially forming a strong and complementary pair.

[Sending good vibes and love to everyone!]

How Do You “Unlove” Someone?

You don’t.

Don’t resist. Don’t force.
Simply wish them love and peace
Even from afar.

The way I’m interpreting this question is: How do I stop loving someone because they are no longer in my life and I need to move on? The piece above is my response.

I believe love takes on many different facets of emotions and actions, and its shape is individually unique in every relationship. Love is fluid, its dynamics can shift, and it isn’t mutually exclusive with anything. We can continue to love those from our past without hurting ourselves by wishing them love, backed by the acknowledgement that we are better off and happier without them. Therefore, I don’t believe in “unloving” someone.

Thanks, dear friend, for asking me this interesting question and for reminding me how far I’ve come. I hope my answer is helpful and brings in some new perspective to you. It is possible to move on while loving people of our past. With that said, you’ll get out of the rut you’re stuck in. You’ll be fine.

Reminders.

Earlier this month, I attended a business luncheon featuring an entertaining and engaging leadership speaker, Chris Heeter, wilderness guide and founder of The Wild Institute. The theme was “Wild,” correlating leadership, teamwork, and personal development with experiences in the wilderness and dog sledding. The following are my takeaways from her speech:

  1. Don’t become stuck with the old and know when to give up: A solution that worked for one thing won’t necessarily work for another. If we’ve tried to solve a problem using a solution that hasn’t worked, then we need to stop and observe, refresh our minds, and find a new solution. Change is important.
  2. Everyone has a gift: Embrace diversity, accept that everyone is unique. Rather than molding someone to fit in, discover his/her strengths and enhance them! This would create a better environment for the person, as well as increase overall team productivity and synergy.
  3. Care: We never know what goes on in other people’s lives, so let’s be conscious of our attitudes and actions towards others. A little helping hand can go a long way for both the receiver and giver.

Thanks for the fun and inspiring presentation, Chris! I enjoyed hearing passion in your stories and life lessons.

(The dogs were so cute!)

Fullest Moon.

Once a year, the fullest Moon illuminates the Earth with her greatest intensity, disabling our ability to conceal ourselves in the darkness of night. When we peek through our fears and hidden selves, we realize that the Moon is not endangering us. Instead, her soft glow reminds us that we are human beings, imperfectly perfect in our own quirky ways. She tells us that it is okay to feel lost and to let go of ourselves once in a while. She reassures us with her brightest, warmest embrace that everything will be okay. 

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) is a Chinese/Vietnamese holiday that occurs on the fullest moon of every year. This year’s view reminded me of the night sky I saw when I camped in the jungles of Phong Nha Ke Bang, Vietnam. The sky was a gorgeous deep blue, the moon had a crisp, snow white brilliance, and the contrast between the two hues was breathtaking. The moon was so bright that, to my amazement, few stars were visible. I saw a similar night scene in my light-polluted hometown.

That night, I dreamed about someone I bonded with a while back. Perhaps he appeared because I thought about my adventures in Vietnam, where we met. Hearing his voice so clearly and accurately in my dream really surprised me  because I had already forgotten his voice in real life. I woke up feeling a bit fearful, invaded, defeated, and lonely. I missed him so much that day. It was as if the Moon told me, “Here, let me show you your true feelings so you can face them, and I’m telling you now that everything will be okay.”

Everything is okay, Moon. Thanks for having me dive into my deepest feelings. Through this interesting (and slightly painful) experience, I was reminded that it’s important to pause occasionally and check up on ourselves. I was keeping myself so occupied with other aspects in life that I failed to pay attention to my overall well-being. Now that I’ve given myself a chance to practice some self-care, I feel a lot better. So thank you again, Moon.

Teaching Takeaway

Teaching Takeaway

I volunteered to teach English in Taiwan for three weeks. This was one of the best experiences that I’ve had in my life. Even though my role was teaching, I’ve learned so much through this opportunity.

The biggest lesson/reminder: find joy in the little things. My 7th and 8th graders had fun with pretty much anything (pencils, rubber bands, rulers, mini toy figurines, etc.) and it was amazing how easily amused and energetic they were. I believe we all have the inner child in us. But, as we mature, we absorb a lot of external pressure from our upbringings, societal norms, and social media, to the point where many of us become so conscious of what other people think that we eventually let others dictate our lives. These kids? Didn’t give a fuck. And that is awesome.

Let us remember the times when we were young and curious. Let us grow without shutting off our inner child.

Thank you, my dear students, for showing me authenticity, innocence, curiosity, and simple happiness. You may not know it, but I have learned so much from you guys, despite being the “teacher” in our classroom. All the best to you in your future! ❤

Gift -2-

Summer orchestrated 
a whimsical musicale,
connecting our notes.

My two weeks between Vietnam and Taiwan continue to leave a strong impression on me. I feel so blessed to have this story in my life: an international summer travel romance with a plot that could easily be the foundation of a best-selling novel or the best upcoming romance film. This poem is my way of expressing our story.

I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into when this gift was presented to me, and I could have rejected it. Yet, even though I knew that I would need to go through another round of healing afterwards, I gave it my all. I am glad that I did so, and I have no regrets. Through this experience, I realized that I am strong in the way that I can be vulnerable and love more than I will ever get back. Despite this, I love anyway, because I feel joy when I love, and the love overpowers the pain. To me, love is worth it.

Thank you for the amazing adventures, Tuan. There are a million things I am thankful to you for, and you know already. You’re such an awesome person and an absolute sweetheart, I only wish you the best in life. Wherever you are and whatever you do, I will always be cheering for you. I love you.

With everything said, to whoever my next partner in crime is: if you accept me (and vice versa), then I will give you my all. You will receive my faithfulness and a love like no other. I (will) love you to the moon and back, looped infinitely. ❤

Gift -1-

From the bustling night crawl
You began as my shadow
We strolled the streets aimlessly
Until the veiled sun emerged

Time stood still as I
Looked at the murky river
And saw that beyond doubt, you
Had become my reflection

I’m reflecting back to the time I went to a pub crawl in Bui Vien Street, aka Backpackers Street, Saigon, almost a month ago.

When I came back to Saigon from my jungle and cave trekking expedition, I wasn’t ready to settle back down, so I went with my gut, booked a hostel, and joined Pub Crawl Saigon. For once, I felt like a tourist in Ho Chi Minh City.

A gift was bestowed upon me at the pub crawl. This poem tells the story of our first encounter. Oh, the beautiful memories of when we walked the streets of Saigon, viewed the (very anti-climatic) sunrise at Saigon River, and bonded throughout the course of the day.

The timing was just too unbelievable. Phong Nha has allowed me to test and extend my limits, build my confidence, and curate the self-love that I never truly had for myself. I came out of the experience with so much elation, and I knew that I had fully healed emotionally and taken a major step up in self-discovery. The itch to try new things continued flowing within me and pushed me to attend the pub crawl the night I came back to Saigon. It was as if meeting him symbolized me being awarded for my achievements.

So for those who are feeling lost, know that you can find your way if you put yourself out there and do what you need to do. It takes some trial and error, of course. We often focus too much on the destination that we forget about the journey, when it’s the journey that really shapes us. Therefore, be patient and persevere. Things will look up sooner or later.

Thank you, Vietnam and Tuan, for all of the amazing, life-changing experiences. Thank you so much for the wonderful memories, and for treating me so well!

Comfortably Naked

Today, I visited the famous Beitou Hot Springs in Taiwan. This was my very first time experiencing these heavenly creations, and I experienced them naked. It felt very awkward walking into the hot springs in broad daylight in front of other women who were staring at me while I made my entrance. Though the comfort of the hot springs quickly released me from any discomfort I had about being fully exposed.

As I settled down, I began observing the other women. It was a very interesting sight of mainly ah-ma’s mingling and relaxing. Scars, wrinkles, pudge, other “flaws…” I saw it all. I saw how unique each woman was with their quirky nooks and crannies, marks from previous experiences that have shaped them to be who they are today. Seeing the older women especially allowed me to imagine my body in its elderly years. A wave of gratefulness hit me as I thought about all of the damage that my body has absorbed all these years.

So today, I thank my body for keeping me going. I thank it for surviving in the past, running to let me live in the now, and fighting to give me the best future it can. I will do my best to love and take care of my body, and not be ashamed of my physical appearance. Thank you, my beautiful and unique body. ❤