Dust-buster blog post

Yes, it has been a while. I was contemplating starting the blog back from where I left off (i.e. before the European adventure), but have decided against it. It’ll never get done that way. So I’m just going to start from here and now, and return to fill in the gap as time goes on.

So. Back home one day and straight to (hard) work the next. Now it’s done and I’m a little lost. Even blogging feels strange. Such indulgence! (I was writing in a real notepad using a real pen on the road. No fancy formatting or photo upload or backspace button, but “back to basic” doodling and smearing ink on fingers was rather fun.) It feels just like the last day of Uni. What to do now? And then you get so overwhelmed with possibilities you don’t know where to start. Well, first thing first: going to rest my overly tired body and start on the books I bought on the trip. Oh yes of course I got books. What else do you think I’d buy?!

Back soon, digital diary.

~return of the t~


Back into the swing of things

I haven’t blogged for so long it feels alien to start typing things longer than two sentences again! Well to be fair, I’ve scrambled up some drafts, lots and lots of them staring resentfully at me right now from their dusty corner. I will may get around to them one of these days. 😉 You all know what that means.

Anyhoo, let’s do a quick recap just to oil up my rusty finger joints, shall we? Plus I’m hanging out at work (not working though) waiting to pick m’ up so something to pass the time.

Let’s start with December. This year my birthday month went past in a zip! Turning thirty (THREE-OH! *faints*) wasn’t too scary. Well, that is to say, besides all the panic attacks and depression bouts and hours spent searching for new grey hair and wrinkles, I managed to squeeze in quite a fair bit of partying. If I’m to go down, I’m going down with style, man! Meanwhile, work was gruelling and left me a little numb, and extremely worn out, although one can hardly complain about the sound of the till ringing some much needed dollars.

Then “the boss” (guess who?) decided to give myself a long break. Sticking to my words after the China trip in July, this time there wasn’t any travel plans, no big trips, no small trips, no nothing. Just plain old sitting around on my fat arse, catching up with friends, family, and lots of good books. It was hard at first, like something was amiss (errr, maybe, A TRIP?!). But then my weary brain slowly calmed down and cheered up, my tired body slowly cooled down and perked up, and I ceased to be that neurotic girl with the bloodshot eyes and haggard look who would complain loudly and then follow it with “No i’m NOT complaining, I’m merely stating a fact!”. Of course the fact was that I WAS whinging but let’s not wake a sleeping dog shall we?

Anyhow, it felt so refreshing to be able to read till my eyes hurt, churning through piles of books. Bookworm doing some great binge-reading. It was so damn nice to cook for fun, talk to people for fun, doing things only when I felt like it, generally mucking around.

After the new year m’ and I started a massive spring clean campaign. It really was massive! Actually, still is. Five full days of intensive cleaning, tidying, rearranging furniture, and something slightly resembling gardening, have left our muscles sore but our clutters cleared (both physical and mental). And oh boy, doesn’t it feel wonderful! You guys will soon be invited over for a house re-warming party, to admire our handiwork and grace OUR NEW COUCHES with your lovely backsides! Cue: here is where you chirp in, No shit, did you really? And we’d beam, Oh yes we did!, and then do a little twist. I even made five spanking new cushions to match. Both of us are a little skint right now but seriously, even our eyes were sick of the old lumpy futon. (Our butts have given up long ago.)

So there you go. The last one and a half months in a nut shell. (Quite a big nut this one is, probably a Brazillian.) Will have to get back to writing more often. Fingers are squeaking. Not good.

Great new year to you all! Xox


Short update

Ong noi (my paternal grandpa) passed away 8 days ago today :(. My tickets were booked for Hanoi long ago, but I didn’t make it home in time. After the initial shock, I think we’re still numb. It hasn’t really kicked in yet. I still can’t bring myself to believe that he’s gone. Forever. It’s not true. Tell me it’s not!

Life is fickle. What do you do?

Anyhow, quick updates:

1. I’ts fff-reeeee-zing! There’s already more than half a metre of snow on Mt. Buller and it’s barely mid-June.  If I weren’t leaving for Asia soon, I’d totally get myself up the mountain to ski, making the most of attractive early-bird deals. Will have to leave that till August now.

2. I’m down with the flu. It sucks! So freakin’ annoying! My immune system needs a good kick up the rear. It’s been playing up too often these months. Time to go back to the gym. Will do that after the trip.

3. Decided to drop one subject next semester, down to just one now. Tried two last time and it was harrowing! No time for anything but work, study, sleep, work, study, sleep, work, study, sleep. Haven’t touched the piano for yonks. Dancing only once/ twice a week. Barely saw any friends. In short, hardly had time to scratch my bum, so to speak. Rushing through life yet NOT living it. Me no likey. Me gonna change. Me gonna spend more time bum-scratching living me life!

4. This trip is gonna be a BIG one. Not chronologically, but geographically. (Looking at me saying big words!) Meaning lots of time in transit. LOTS. Meaning it’s “grazing”. Hopping on the surface. Meaning it’ll be over in a whirlwind, a lightning, a blur. Ppp-zzt! Over! Gone!

Not how I usually like to travel at all, but I’ve got little choice this time. If only there was a slow-motion function for life. Oh well, it’s still exciting! And I’ll get to be in Vietnam in (Northern hemisphere) summer. This is the second time in all the 12 years I’ve been away. All the other times were in Dec/Jan.

Will have to make sure I don’t overstuff myself with fruits. Already have a long long list. Care to hear? Mangosteens, jackfruits, sapodillas, mangosteens, mangoes, longans, lychees, mangosteens, rambutans, custard apples, soursops, and did I mention mangosteens?

OMG my keyboard’s soaked. So r r yy. .  . Lo o ks   l  i Ke  y oU r s   a rE   t Oo!



Just now I had to look up some words on Merriam Webster and typed in the wrong spelling. The site came back with about 20 different suggested words. So there went 15 minutes of my lunch, clicking away and trying to memorise all those words. Most of which will no doubt slip off my (super glossy, non-stick) brain in about half an hour.

But still, all of a sudden I realised that it’s fun to make mistakes sometimes. All the unexpected treasures — or troubles — you may find if you take the wrong turn. A different take on the phrase “learning from one’s mistakes”, isn’t it?

~walking on sunshine~

25 things

Another tagging thingo from Facebook. Thanks Tam. 🙂

Disclaimer: The following is classified B+. For Boring. Extra dosage of that, too.
Read on at your own peril. I take no responsibility if your brain decides to snooze off in the process and your head goes BANG on the keyboard.

25 random things about me. Me! Meeeee!

  1. I love colours. But am also quite particular about them. Claude Monet the great artist summed it up pretty well: “Color is my daylong obsession, joy and torment.”
  2. I’d rather have a bouquet of the same flowers in the same colour, rather than a mixed one.
  3. I love food and wouldn’t hesitate trying out new dishes. But am not adventurous when it comes to meat. Seafood and vegies, on the other hand… mmm…
  4. I sometimes wish I was left-handed, like Mum. It’s rather cool.
  5. I have long arms, long hands, long finger, long feet, long toes, long face. SHORT legs!!! (And here is the part where I try to not scream out in despair.) In short (zing!), rather like a monkey. Why. Oh. WHY?
  6. I have long second and middle toes. Which makes wearing certain types of shoes a bit of a pain, literally. Case in point: extra narrow pointed-toed pumps.
  7. I like the number 7.
  8. I think silly thoughts. Like, if Newton hadn’t discovered the law of gravity back then, would I have thought of it, when eating peanuts by throwing them in the air and trying to catch them in my mouth, only to have most of them land on my nose instead? And that’s just one of many.
  9. I play the piano. Rather badly, to be quite frank. But am forever thankful that Mum used to threaten me into practising by saying she was selling our piano. That would get me to train for about 2 weeks. Then I’d slack off again until her next threat about someone coming to pay for and pick up the thing the very next day. Mum’s so cute!
  10. When I was 6, my parents almost sent me to a professional music school. Mum freaked out the night before my entrance exam and withdrew the application.
  11. Mum didn’t let me learn the violin because she was afraid I’d end up with a permanently tilted head. (I told you she’s cute!)
  12. I still love Flowerbomb (the fragrance by Victor & Rolf), after more than 100ml and 2 years. That’s a first. Previous loves include Michael Kors and L’Eau d’Issey, each lasted around a year and a half.
  13. I like painting my nails. And have found the trick to it is to have your weaker hand do your dominant hand FIRST. If you’re a girl, try it and you’ll understand. 🙂
  14. I wear jeans / long pants about ONCE a month. The rest of the time it’s frocks, skirts, shorts, stockings.
  15. I don’t like to wear black. Especially not head to toe block black. Therefore have very few black clothes.
  16. I love seeing people’s childhood photos.
  17. When I was 11, I had a (badly rhymed) poem published in a kids’ mag in Vietnam. Can’t remember what I did to the pay.
  18. Back in school I used to collect stickers religiously. Still have a huge stash.
  19. I wish I had been allowed to take painting, dancing, and singing classes when I was little. Particularly dancing!
  20. I sometimes repeat a single, random word, either aloud or in my head, either in Vietnamese or English, until it starts to sound very strange.
  21. I often translate (in my head) what I’ve  writen from English to Vietnamese, and vice versa. I may translate a book one day, who knows?
  22. I like watching people.
  23. I like watching what people wear.
  24. 10 years ago I created my own alphabet — a mix of Vietnamese & English — and still use it in my diary. No one has yet managed to decipher it. Not that I’d let them.
  25. I like giving people nicknames, and being given nicknames. (only nice ones please.)

So now I’ve got to hop over to Pokey Land and and find 25 other people to tag. That’s a lot of work!


If you’ve made it this far, here’s a bonus photo of when I used to look like a boy:


Random meme

Tagged by chi Zen.

Q. Five names you go by:
~ Ha` Thanh Tra`: unusual surname passed on by Dad, unusual  given-name thought of by Mum. I can hardly take any credit but am forever thankful that there are very very few others around with that exact same combination. (I know, I’ve googled. 😉 )
~ Amy: i picked it, 10 years ago. (Like the A, like the Y. Like it being short & sweet.) Because I’m very particular (as you know!) and didn’t like how non-Vietnamese pronounced my Viet name. Also got sick of trying to spell it over the phone, and everywhere else, so there you go.
~ ccm’ / cm’2: by m’ and TM
~ Shortie: by A.
~ MidnightSun: cyber pseudonym of a while ago

Q. Three things you are wearing right now:
~ Blue floral cotton summer dress. It’s got to be the most comfy item in my wardrobe.
~ Thongs (as in the footwear, NOT the undergarment ok? That’s “flip-flops” for you non-Aussies. ;))
~ Large cocktail ring with a green handmade polymer-clay bead made by a very talented lady I know.

Q. Two things you want very badly at the moment:
~ To be home for Tet with the whole family
~ To see A.

Q. Two things you did last night:
~ Swing dancing
~ Something that may, or may not, change my life forever.

Q. Two things you ate today:
~ Left over bun’ for lunch
~ Half a jar of handmade Suga lollies (!!!) (Ok I am well aware that the “handmade” bit doesn’t make the “lollies” bit seem any healthier. Might as well say that I swallowed 100g of pure sugar!)

Q. Two people you last talked to on the phone:
~ A., about the book “House of Leaves”
~ Belle, about catching up tonight

Q. Two things you are going to do tomorrow:
~ Swing dancing
~ Finishing the application for that post-grad course

Q. Two longest car rides:
~ Recent road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide and back. m’ and I clocked 2200 km between us. Woohoo!
~ Saigon – Hue, 13 years ago with Mum and the siblings. Oh the fun we had! Especially since we didn’t have to drive back then.

Q. Two of your favorite beverages:
~ Tea, of all sorts. Pretty apt too considering my Viet name.
~ Fresh coconut juice that I can only get in Vietnam. Craving for it right now!

Q. The people you’d like to respond:
There’s a long long list but I know most of them won’t be bothered, so well, here are a few that are a little more likely to shout back. (Hey I’m counting on you guys ok?)

~ Belle
~ Minnie
~ Thien Tam
~ Mosh, @ Moshville
~ Minh, @ Ethnically Incorrect