At the moment, I'm peering down at my indecipherable notes that I have recently scribbled onto one of the Eat, Pray, Love blank pages that fell out of the already worn-out book (remember, it was only 85,000 Vietnamese dongs)...
I like to keep at least one piece of paper in my messenger bag, just in case an idea for my blog strikes at that very moment. Day by day, hour by hour, I yearn to share the details of my travels but also my true feelings on the peculiar observations I consistently encounter - - and essentially, what I personally prefer to take away.
Of course, I can go on and on about the landmarks I have photographed, the places I have been, and where I plan to step my size 6 feet upon next week.
Shall I discuss how the Vietnamese locals like to squat rather than sit on the ground like so?
Or how about the Pagoda I visited the other day and while being handed some ancient (very sacred) Buddhist chants, almost getting smacked upside the head by a female Buddhist monk because I mistakenly almost set those chants on the tiled floor...(maybe it's bad luck or something?)
And, if you think that's a bit dramatic - - and please, let me regress by saying that I, wholeheartedly respect all traditions and cultures so by no means, am I talking this particular occurrence down in any way. But, if you think that was a bit too much to handle...how about this one below??
This very detailed, very suggestive creation was found, quite ironically, right outside of the peaceful Pagoda walls - - indicating if anyone was 'bad' or to do 'evil' in this lifetime will pay in the afterlife...Geez, I'd say so.
However, I choose not to further discuss any of the above photos for this blog only because I want to continue expressing myself more authentically and not only make my own experiences here more meaningful,
But also make this reading experience for you just as meaningful, if not more.
'So, Cathy, what's really been on your mind and how are you feeling these days in Vietnam?', one might possibly inquire.
Well, here it is in a nutshell. The other night, after enjoying some cold vermicelli noodles with grilled pork seasoned with the typical Vietnamese flavors, lemongrass and fish sauce, I felt a hand pat my back as well as my backpack. Hurriedly, I spun myself around, preparing for the worst because I always hear how common pickpocketing is around Ho Chi Minh, and seriously ready to throw the meanest punch. But, alas, I accidentally let out a gasp and clutched my heart..
Instead of facing a local thief, my assumptions were completely wrong. There he was, a young boy, approximately 10-12 years of age, with barely any face, arms as skinny as toothpicks - - and that face. It was as if someone threw a mini bomb in this sweet little boy's face and left him with no means to consult a plastic surgeon to magically turn back time. His face was completely sunken in and after my overly dramatic gasp, I immediately felt a rush of guilt wash over my whole soul. I felt bad...I didn't mean to judge...It's just I've never seen anything so so sad in my life before.
I must have stood outside of that restaurant, still clutching my heart, frozen for how many minutes? I'm not even sure. Finally, my cousin's friend handed him some Vietnamese money and the boy, in response, smiled as much as he could bear it, clapped both of his fragile arms (I was secretly hoping he would stop because I didn't want to see him hurt himself) and patted my back - - once again.
I did not feel like I deserved that pat on the back after standing there like a goon just staring at him but was grateful to see something so rare - - and in a sense, magical.
This boy, disabled and most likely homeless, was still as forgiving as ever and ecstatic to receive some assistance - - even if it was just a few measly Vietnamese dongs, it just didn't matter. Although I was not the one to provide him the money he was seeking and also responded rudely (in my opinion)...
He seemed to be the happiest boy - - wait, scratch that, Person, I have seen and hung out with all day. Prior to this event, I had been a witness to various conversations that always seemed to link back to one common statement:
'I want...I want...I want...'
'I don't have (insert noun here) and will not be happy until (insert previous chosen noun here) is more abundant in my life...'
So what did I take away from this? Damn, be happy with what you've got. So you've only got one shitty car - - get rid of it and work hard to get a better one. So your significant other continues to put you down and wish for a happier love life? Either accept that person for who they are or make some significant change; don't you love yourself more than that?
Whatever those circumstances are, whatever current situation one is in - - be happy with what you've got today.
Consider yourself lucky. Because you probably really are.