Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harley Chick


(PICTURE: Mona Lisa could ride a Honda Wave.)

Something occurred to me recently when I was riding down the highway, following Huyen on her motorbike. As I watched my wife glide past cars, I had the epiphany -- I'm sort of married to a Harley Chick!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ice Hockey


(PICTURE: The greatest goal celebration ever.)

Shocking blog: There is no ice hockey in Vietnam. Yeah, I can't believe it either. How can a country hope to go from a developing country to a developed country without even one ice hockey rink! I mean, what the hell was the point of being politically tied to the Russians for so many decades if they weren't even gonna build one public ice rink? It just doesn't make sense.

Everyone always asks me what I miss most about home. The list goes like this:
1. My family and friends
2. The Food
3. Ice hockey

It is especially this time of year that I miss hockey. Between the NHL in full swing, not having played on a team for nearly three years now and my annual high school reunion game around the corner, I'm really fighting the urge to fly to Moscow for a day to strap on a pair of skates. On top of that, I recently taught one of my classes about all the different types of sports. The kids knew all the sports except basically ice hockey. I told all the kids about how much I love ice hockey and now not a class doesn't go by that someone says "ice hockey" in a sentence. For example, if we're practicing the days of the week someone might say: "On Tuesday I played ice hockey." Or if we're practicing present continuous a student might say: "I am playing ice hockey." Of if we're practicing adverbs of frequency someone might say, "I always play ice hockey." All this talk of ice hockey is maddening!!! I just hope Huyen doesn't mind sitting in the bleachers at a rink and watching her husband play because I'm joining a mens league as soon as I get home!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Transitioning from a Jewish mother to a Vietnamese wife



I've commented in the past that there are way more similarities than you would think between Jewish mothers and Vietnamese mothers. Well, I'm starting to learn that there are a lot of similarities between Jewish mothers and Vietnamese wives too. Recently I fell ill with either food poisoning or the stomach flu; I'm not sure which one it was but it was absolutely brutal for twenty four hours. While sick, the caring and nursing of me by Huyen was right on par with how my mom used to take care of me when I was a child. In fact, I could basically hear my mother's voice coming from Huyen's mouth a few times...minus a couple of nouns which were interchanged -- specifically the noun "rice."

There was one moment where Huyen said to me, "You need to eat rice to feel better!" I looked at Huyen and said, "Rice? I've never eaten rice to feel better in the past." A little while later I had some homemade soup (with rice in it) and did feel quite better. It wasn't exactly my mom's chicken soup (although she offered chicken but I wasn't in a meat eating mood) but it definitely did the trick.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gestures Not To Do In Front Of Teenagers



The other night I made my biggest teaching gaffe ever. I was teaching thirteen teenagers some very basic classroom language with the help of a slightly blurry worksheet. One of the students pointed at the picture of a pencil sharpener and asked what it was since it wasn't clear based on the picture. All the students looked up at me at the same time as I said, "That's a pencil sharpener." At the same time I made a fist with one hand and stuck out my index finger with the other. I then repeated "pencil sharpener" as I attempted to make a pencil sharpening gesture by inserting my index finger into my fist and turning it. Well, it took only a half second for every student to start giggling uncontrollably at the clearly sexual-ish gesture. It took another half second for me to wince and shake my head, clearly knowing I made a teaching gaffe.

On a side note to any teenagers who might be reading this: If you ever put your "pencil" into a "sharpener" and it gets grinded (like in a pencil way, not in a fun way), I promise you won't be laughing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is that an egg in your pocket or are you happy to see me?



The other night Huyen came home from work and threw her bags onto the bed. She then took of her puffy vest and threw that on the bed too. When that hit the bed there was a small, but noticeable cracking sound. Huyen immediately winced and pulled out a plastic bag with two egg in it from her vest pocket. I looked at her quizzically and then asked, "How long have you been carrying eggs in your pocket?" Huyen shuck her head at the egg and answered, "I just bought them." This was a true Vietnamese moment to me for a few reasons:

1. In America we don't buy just one or two eggs at a time.
2. We surely don't stop on the street on our way home from work in the city and buy two eggs to carry home on our motorbikes (or cars for that matter).
3. We always have sort-of-protective cardboard egg crates to keep our eggs from breaking. Here they just put eggs in plastic bags.
4. It was a testament to how fresh dinner is every night that these eggs in Huyen's pocket were minutes away from being in our meal.

As a foreigner, I just found this moment very funny. I'm pretty sure I've never carried eggs in my pocket.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!!! Today is officially the saddest day of the year for me as there is nothing in life I enjoy more than spending the last Thursday of November with my family. To make me feel better, Huyen has clearly done her research on Thanksgiving this year. This morning, the first thing she said to me was "Happy Thanksgiving" and then began to tell me what she was thankful for. Besides that, I discovered some Thanksgiving recipes she had downloaded off of the internet. I know she's planning on cooking me some traditional food tonight including mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Although, the later will be a tad difficult though since we don't have an oven.

I really hope that this is the last Thanksgiving that I'll ever spend away from my family. The great thing about marrying Huyen is that we'll never have to fight over where we spend Turkey Day. Equally, I'll always agree to spend Tet at her family's house rather than mine.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to take a moment to say what I'm thankful for:

First, I'm thankful for my amazing family who have not only been supportive of me over the last few years, but forever. I'm thankful for how they have welcomed Huyen into their lives with open arms. A person couldn't ask for more amazing parents or siblings.

I'm thankful for Huyen who has made every day of my life better since I first met her. It doesn't take Thanksgiving for me to realize how special she is to me. Every morning I'm thankful when I say good morning to her and every night I'm thankful when I say goodnight to her. I can't wait to spend the rest our lives together.

I'm thankful for the whole Nguyen family who have accepted me from the start and have welcomed me into their family. Huyen's whole family treats me like one of their own, which has given my life extra meaning.

I'm thankful for my amazing friends in America, Vietnam and around the world. I can't put into words how lucky I am to have such great friends. Soon Huyen and I will be celebrating our wedding with friends from Japan, Australia, America and Vietnam. However, we've made countless other friends over the last few years from all corners of the world. Whether close or far, I'm thankful for the friendships I've made over the years.

Finally, I'm thankful for all my blog readers. I started this thing for my mom and it has evolved into so much more. Every time I think about ending the blog, I think about all the people out there who read my blog on a regular basis. I appreciate your readership and support. The blog has definitely turned into a part of my life, and it wouldn't be without all of you.

Have a great Thanksgiving! Make sure you tell everyone who you're thankful for what they mean to you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Carrying Giant Vases


(PICTURE: An unusual site in Huyen's village -- a foreigner doing manual labor.)

After unloading all the stuff at Huyen's parents house, I was told we had to bring some things over to the new house in the village. The problem with the house in the village is that the street isn't drivable. This meant I had to lug a whole bunch of heavy things down the small alley. Whereas earlier in the day we had a teamwork element to moving things, at this point I found myself carrying everything by myself.

Sure enough the site of me carrying giant vases down the alley brought out all the locals. Every time I would make another trip back to the truck, a few more old heads would pop out of the alleys and start smiling, waving and talking to me. Clearly nobody there is used to seeing foreign people doing manual labor in their village.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where's the party at?


(PICTURE: Huyen and I unloading the truck.)

I had been told that we were going to Huyen's parents' house to have a lunch party with relatives to celebrate the completion of the new house. However, when I showed up at the old house, Huyen's father was nowhere to be seen. I was quickly told that he was in the ceramic village and would be coming back in a few hours with some stuff for the shop. Well, sure enough a few hours later a U-Haul sized truck shows up filled with ceramics. There were some small ceramics and some very very very very big ceramics.

The Nguyens and I rolled up our sleeves and began to unload the truck. Sure enough, I quickly found myself carrying huge vases with Huyen. While my sweat started to stream down my face and chest, I began to wonder, "Where's the party at?"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Amazing Sister!


(PICTURE: Hannah and me in Thailand almost two years ago!)

I'm not sure how she does it, but every year my little sister makes me prouder and prouder to be her brother. With her amazing sense of humor, her Ivy League/Almost-perfect-SAT brains and her natural beauty and charm, my sister's got it all. I often feel like a parents when I talk to people about my sister because I'm constantly bragging about her. However, the fact is that Hannah is not only my sister but one of my best friends.

I can't wait for you to get back out to Hanoi, Hannah! Love you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Immature Billboard Post


(PICTURE: My new favorite billboard in Vietnam.)

A few weeks ago, while traveling to Huyen's parents' house, we passed a giant billboard that made me do a double take. There was a picture of a guy smelling a rose while sort of cuddling with a girl. As we passed the sign, I turned to Huyen and said, "Is that a billboard for vagina soap?" Huyen laughed and said yes. I immediately said, "Next time we drive to your house I need to take a picture of that!"

Well, the next time we drove to Huyen's parents' house, I snapped off a couple of pictures. Here's my thoughts:
1. It's a little weird to me that this billboard is above a small graveyard.
2. Could the symbolism be any more on the nose? Literally. I mean did the guy really have to be smelling a rose?
3. Did you notice the butterfly between the soap and the people? In Vietnam, "butterfly" is slang for vagina. Again, there was nothing subtle about this ad, hence how I immediately knew what it was for.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Teacher's Day!!!


(PICTURE: My kick-butt class!...missing five students who showed up late!)

Today is Vietnamese Teacher's Day! This is the day when students celebrate their teachers' awesomeness and give them flowers, sweets and presents (no cash though as that is only for good grades).

Some of my wonderful students bought me flowers, cake, a shirt and a tie. Two other students' families are taking me out to dinner tonight.


(PICTURE: My teacher's day cake!)


(PICTURE: My collection of flowers. I'll never get this many flowers again unless I get my opera career on the fast track.)

I'm pretty sure we don't have a Teachers Day in America but I think it is time we do!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vietnamese Idioms

There are many Vietnamese idioms that have the same meaning as common English idioms. One such idiom is, "That's like the cat calling the dog's butt hairy." This is the equivalent to, "The pot calling the kettle black." For those who don't know either of these idioms, they basically refer to when someone calls someone out for something that they themselves are guilty of.

Welllllllll, I finally got to use "That's like the cat calling the dog's butt hairy" on Huyen. You see, a few times this year, Huyen has lectured me on keeping my foot on the brake of my motorbike. She said that the guy at the shop says I must be resting my foot on the brake which has caused the brake pad to wear down at a faster rate than usual. I must admit that I do often keep my foot gently on the brake because 1) there's really no place else to put my foot 2) I don't mind replacing the brake pad a little sooner if it means I can brake a little sooner in crazy traffic.

The other day though when Huyen and I hauled stuff back to her parents' house, I noticed something on the highway. What can you see in this picture of Huyen driving down the highway:



You should have noticed that her brake light is on with nothing but an open road in front of her. Clearly someone has their foot on the brake! Indeed that's like the cat calling the dog's butt hairy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We-Haul

Last weekend Huyen and I hauled a whole bunch of stuff back to her house. We took about 30 pounds of candy (for the wedding), 10 pounds of watermelon seeds (also for the wedding), a giant picture of the two of us (yes, for the wedding), our wedding photo album (wait, I haven't even blogged about our wedding photos yet! How did I miss that one?!), a baby mobile (the thing that hangs above a crib, not a phone) for our new nephew and the clock my parents bought for Huyen's new house. There was so much stuff that we couldn't fit it all on one bike so we had to caravan to Huyen's parents' house. Check out my bike which became the Vietnamese version of U-haul:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Favorite Snack

My consecutive blogging streak came to an end yesterday as I was bed bound all day with the stomach flu. However, thanks for the incredible nursing skills of Huyen, I'm back on my feet today and ready to keep blogging.

(PICTURE: Passion fruit and goat milk yogurt.)

I thought I would share with everyone my favorite snack that I like to think I personally created. It's quite a simple snack but I haven't seen it served anywhere except in my kitchen. The ingredients:

1. A few passion fruit
2. Fresh goat milk yogurt

Directions: Cut open the passion fruit and scoop out the seeds and juice. Then add fresh goat milk yogurt. Mix together and then eat.

Yes, it's incredibly simple but it's absolutely delicious. If you don't have goat milk yogurt at your convenience (I've got a place that sell is about 75 feet from my house) then regular cow's milk yogurt works just fine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

That's A Vietnamese Wedding Custom?!!!!!

A minute ago, I was typing a blog when Huyen started laughing. I looked over to my right and saw her reading from this book:



After giggling for a minute, Huyen told me to listen and then read a passage from the book. Here's the passage:



If that isn't a reason to get cold feet then I don't know what is!!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bad Idea Jeans



I'm clearly getting to parenting age because a lot of bad parenting has been especially bothering me recently. The other day Huyen and I were at the gym when some lady came in with her two children who were roughly three and maybe 16 months tops. The lady got on the treadmill and let her children meander around the gym like it was their personal playground. I mean, could there be a worse idea than letting an infant walk around a gym? I was on an elliptical machine, staring at the kid wondering how many different ways he might lose a limb or worse. There were free weights around, moving parts on treadmills and bikes, etc. As soon as I saw the unescorted kids, I turned to Huyen and said, "Are you serious?" Well, it wasn't more than two minutes later when the infant found the giant blue abdominal/pilates ball and started to push it around. He winded up pushing it across the floor into the water tank stand. Sure enough the giant bottle of water fell over (thankfully not landing on the kids head) as well as the plastic cups on the stand.

The mother promptly got off the treadmill and sort of scolded her infant. Of course this is when I began to wonder, "Who is gonna scold you you freaking idiot!" The mother then took her two kids and sat them down on the treadmill next to the one she was using. She then got back on the treadmill and continued to work out. When I left the gym the kids hadn't yet had another accident. However, with the treadmill spinning about six inches away from them, it was probably only a matter of time before something bad was going to happen.

Here's just a fact of life: LITTLE CHILDREN AND GYMS DO NOT MIX!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wisdom Teeth


(PICTURE: The first picture that came up when I googled wisdom teeth.)

When one lives someplace a long time, one starts to notice trends. Something I've noticed a lot over the last couple of years is that many of my students in their 20s have a lot of tooth pain. Recently my wife, who is also in her 20s, has had a considerable amount of pain emanating from the back of her mouth. Growing up in a country where people almost always preemptively remove their wisdom teeth, this is not something that I'm personally familiar with.

In Vietnam it is seems that nobody has their wisdom teeth removed. Instead people go to the dentist and have some kind of cream/ointment/paste on the wisdom teeth area to temporarily take away the pain. Supposedly that usually helps for a few weeks. I asked one of my students recently how long she has had pain and she said "on and off for a few years." I've been told that eventually the pain just stops. Who the heck knows if that is true or not. There's something to this though that is a great metaphor between a developed country and developing country. Or perhaps it is just a testament to Vietnamese culture as a whole. People here deal with annoyances for years and years until they finally disappear. Okay, maybe I'm reading into this too much.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How much crack is in a Rold Gold pretzel?


(PICTURE: Pretzels are heaven.)

I love pretzels. I'm not scared to admit it. I'd choose pretzels over any other snack food in a second. There's just something about the crunchiness mixed with sea salt that makes my body turn to jelly. Luckily for my waistline, there's not good pretzels in Hanoi...or so I thought.

The other day we went to Huyen's co-workers house and Huyen made a comment, "The last time I was here Anne had pretzels." Well, sure enough Anne went out to the store a little while later and brought me back a bag of Rold Gold pretzels. I don't know what got triggered in my brain but I tore into the bag so unbelievably fast that I was ashamed of myself. As soon as I had my first taste I couldn't put the bag down. After vacuuming down countless pretzels, Huyen took the bag away from me because she was scared it would ruin my appetite (we had gone to her friend's house to eat lunch). As soon as the bag was out of my reach, I shamelessly begged for, "one more handful." My god they were tasty.

After eating a huge lunch and feeling completely full, Huyen took out the pretzels again. Despite not being able to eat a bite more moments earlier, I once again ripped into the bag. I'm not proud to admit this but, I ate all the pretzels by myself.

Finding Rold Gold Pretzels is not what the dietitian ordered with just under six weeks to go before our wedding!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Housewarming Gift


(PICTURE: The Nguyens are now the proud owners of the clock on the top left.)

My parents asked Huyen's parents if they could get them anything as a housewarming gift for their new house. When we relayed the question, Huyen's mother immediately replied that they could use a nice clock with a swinging arm. I found it pretty funny how precise her mom was; clearly my mother-in-law is a woman who knows what she wants!

My mother and I briefly flirted with the idea of her buying a clock in the states and bringing it with her to Vietnam. However, I think we both quickly realized that the chance of a large clock making it to Vietnam undamaged were about one in a thousand. Instead Huyen and I went clock hunting around Hanoi until we found the right one for the new house.

For those of you coming to the wedding, be sure to compliment the nice clock!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's burning?


(PICTURE: My stalker photo. This is a shot of my neighbor about to burn incense.)

The closest I ever came to be a hippie in high school was when I bought a bag of incense at the Union Flea Market. I distinctly remember going to the flea market with my mother and feeling compelled to buy a cheap bag of incense. Maybe I was going through a body odor phase and was trying to cover it up. Or perhaps I was trying to relate to some of my friends who were trading Phish bootleg albums. Or just maybe I was slowly starting to condition myself for my time in Vietnam.

Since moving into my present apartment with Huyen, there's been a very common occurrence at our place . When the weather has been nice, I open our window (don't worry there's bars on the window so no ninjas can come in). However, the window usually doesn't stay open long because our neighbors constantly burn incense about three feet away from us. The elderly people who live in the house next to us must have a lot of deceased relatives because they pray for a solid three hours a day. Accompanying their prayers is a heck of a lot of incense. Because of our proximity to the burning embers, our apartment constantly smells like a pagoda. I guess in the grand scheme of things, there's worse things an apartment can smell like but the odor is so powerful I've got to constantly close our windows; with the nice breeze out these days, that doesn't make me happy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Minor Surgery


(PICTURE: This is sort of what my OR looked like.)

About a week ago I had very very very very very very very very very minor surgery. Frankly, I don't think surgery is even the right word but I like to use it to get sympathy from Huyen.

Long story short, I had an ingrown hair on my upper thigh that had become irritated. The skin around the area responded by making extra skin. Being where the skin was, it was quite annoying and often was getting irritated. Anyway, I'm making it sound worse than it was since it was literally about 1/4 the size of a pencil's eraser. However, it was annoying so I decided to get it removed.

Huyen and I went to the skin hospital and before the doctor would cut off extra skin, he insisted on taking a blood sample. Basically they wanted to make sure I didn't have HIV and that my blood would clot. After I passed all the blood tests, I was taken to the laser OR. Two ladies immediately escorted me into a room and told me to take off my pants. I hung them on a coat hook next to the operating table and then sat butt ass naked on the table. One thing that I found very interesting/disturbing at this point was that there was no sheet or plastic or ANYTHING on the table. Immediately I started to wonder how many other bare butts had been on the table that day. Well the next thing I knew the nurse/doctor (I have no idea what she was) had a scalpel in her hand and proceeded to cut off my extra skin. She then used a laser and lasered my leg where the skin was. The surgery was a success and I'm presently taking antibiotics and putting anti-bacterial cream on the spot. Just a few fun facts:

Total time in the hospital: Under 30 minutes (we left between the blood test and surgery).
Total cost of surgery: $12.50.
Total nightmares I've had since the surgery about my bare butt on the operating table: 3.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We've been approved!!!!...to begin Step #2

Dear U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,

Thank you very much for accepting our immigration visa petition. You had told us that it would take 60 days to process our application but today, on day #41, we received a letter in the mail from you claiming that we've been approved. We greatly appreciate you giving us the thumbs up to begin the rest of the immigration process.

Your fondest admirers,

Ben and Huyen

P.S. We hope that Step 2 and Step 3 can be as successful and timely as Step 1 was.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

ASEAN Delegation

A common occurrence in Hanoi is finding the streets have gone from no police to a billion. Usually the swarming of cops/army guys is an indication that someone important is in town. Recently there have been a few ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) conferences here which has meant a lot of important people have been in town. This also means the cops have been out in full force to establish some order with the traffic. As I was driving home from the gym the other morning I recorded a typical delegation getting escorted through the city:

video

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dong Da Train Update


(PICTURE: You can see the pillars which I'm assuming will hold the train.)

For those three people who care: They are officially building a train station in what used to be Dong Da Lake. The lake is still drained (and now filled with trash) and they've started construction on a giant pillars that apparently will hold the train line. Here's a picture I took next to the lake:

(PICTURE: Very interesting how the picture of the future has no motorbikes.)

I guess the good news is that Vietnam is starting to invest in mass transit. The bad news is that they had to do away with Dong Da Lake...which in truth wasn't one of the nicest lakes in Hanoi anyway.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Monumental Moment In Relationship History


(PICTURE: This picture is backwards. I usually get the amount on the right.)

Like we do all the time, two weekends ago Huyen and I went to her parents' house. Per usual protocol, after dinner/showering/brushing teeth, I went to the top floor to sleep in a bed with Su. However, after a few minutes I was pleasantly surprised when Huyen popped into the room and said, "My parents told me to come sleep up here!" This was the first time in my life that parents (including my own) have allowed my girlfriend/legal-wife to sleep in the same room as me. It only took 31 years and getting marriage!*

That said, yesterday we went back to Huyen's house for the day and, after lunch, I found myself napping with her father. Small steps!

* This asterisk is for future August/Nguyen children who come home from university with their girlfriend/boyfriend and attempt to argue with Huyen and me about not sleeping on the pull-out couch while their girlfriend/boyfriend sleeps in their bedroom. I always lost this argument and so will you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gym Peeves


I've got a lot of little gym peeves. Just to name a few:
1. Talking to me when I'm on a cardio machine...
2. Not wiping down your cardio machine after you sweat profusely on it...
3. Changing the TV channel when I was clearly watching...
4. Standing butt naked next to me in the locker room...
5. Working out in your boxer shorts so that I can see your junk when you do sit-ups on the bench press bench...

Recently though there's been one thing that has been annoying me more than anything else. Now look, I know I'm a Vietnamese TV star with a pretty sexy 1-pack so I really shouldn't complain. However, I'm going to. You see, I like to work out in the morning because there is nobody at the gym. Usually the gym has between 1 (me) and 8 people before noon. With that few number of people, there shouldn't be any issue with finding a machine or weight lifting station to use. Well, despite the 95% empty gym, there's this one woman who constantly likes to use the same machines I'm on. Here's an example of what this lady does:

I start to use a machine for my ___. After I finish my first set, I stand up and go to do some sit-ups. Within ten seconds the woman is now using the machine I was using thus not allowing me to do my second set. Okay, no problem. I then go to another similar machine and do a set at that machine/station. As soon as I finish my first set there, the lady strolls over and starts to use it. I then go back to the first machine and readjust the weights/height level and do my 2nd set. Sure enough, as soon as I finish she's back on that machine again.

This may not sound too annoying but trust me, it is. She does this every day no matter what exercise I'm doing. Honestly, it's like she thinks I'm a personal trainer and that if she copies what I do, she too can end up with a sexy one pack. What she doesn't know is that I'm clueless about what I'm doing at the gym. Also, there's no way we happen to be on the same training schedule because I've tried to change my schedule a couple times hoping she would stop mimicking me. And finally, no, it's not like this woman likes me or even wants to be friends with me. She doesn't make eye contact with me -- ever. She just watches what I do and then snags the machine the second I get up. This has truly become my biggest gym pet peeve.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hanoi In The Fall


(PICTURE: You can't beat the fall.)

I've got to tell you, I love Hanoi in the fall. The weather has cooled significantly over the last couple weeks making it absolutely perfect outside. Sure there's the sporadic downpour of rain but, in my opinion, that only adds to the splendors of this season.

Recently I've been wearing sweatshirts and cardigans while riding my motorbike. It not only makes me feel a tad more fashionable but it also makes me feel nice and cozy as the cool winds blow on me through traffic.

If only fall could last a few months longer than it does...

That said, I'm also really missing Japanese fall as well as northeast America's fall. I guess I just love autumn weather.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hand Me Downs


My parents love to tell the story of how badly I wanted a little brother when my mom was pregnant with my sister. My brother on the other hand, wanted a little sister because he was scared I would team up with my new little brother and beat him up. True story.

Well, after 26 years, I've finally gotten a little brother -- Su. Besides the fact that I'm Su's legal brother-in-law, I've just felt like a big brother since he moved to Hanoi. I could go into detail about all the big brother things I've done recently but perhaps the biggest example is the case of hand me downs. As a little brother, I loved to inherit my brother's stuff when I was young (and actually my dad's stuff too which was just a tad baggy on me). Well, Su has taken a liking to my hand me downs too. As I'm sure you can tell, Su and I aren't exactly built alike. Up until the other day, the hand me downs Su's been enjoying aren't my clothing but rather some objects like my badminton rackets and bicycle. However, the other day Huyen asked me if I ever wear the undies I bought in South Africa. I told her that I hadn't worn them since South Africa and she asked if I could give them to Su. Naturally I said, "Are you serious? Su wants my underwear?"* Well, the answer was yes. Su is now wearing my hand me down undies! I sure am a great big brother! Zev, why didn't you ever give me your underwear!


* In Su's defense: a) I don't think he asked for my undies; Huyen just thought he'd like them b) They are brand new and have only been worn once c) they're tight on me and I'm assuming fit Su nicely.

Monday, November 1, 2010

VOTE!!!!


(PICTURE: My dad and me marching in the 2009 Memorial Day Parade.)

Americans,

Go vote tomorrow!! And specifically people from Livingston, go vote for my father!!!! Nobody (well, except maybe my mother) loves Livingston more than my dad does. He's up for re-election on Town Council and I'm sure would love to have your vote. If my Dad is reelected this means two great things for Livingston:

#1: My dad will put his heart and sole into continuing to make Livingston such an amazing place to live.

#2: This means Huyen and I can march in the 2011 Memorial Day Parade which I'm going to tell her is really a parade welcoming her to America!!!!

Exercise you're right today as an American -- go vote!

Ben