In the ‘burgh for real now


I am always shocked to see that time keeps on going despite the fact I didn’t complete my weekly blog posts. However, it was not without reason! Precisely six days after arriving in Pittsburgh I was off again to California to visit my aunt and my mom, brother, uncle, and older cousin would be joining as well.

A picture of the condensed gang at the beach: My aunt Hoa, my mom, my brother, et moi.

My aunt shortly after she got married.

My mom at 16.

It was so good to see them again and be with family. Usually I get quite stressed out being at home, but being at my aunts house was not bad. She was feeling a lot better the week I was there and tempted the fates by cooking up a storm with my mom. We feasted on banh mis, egg rolls, pounds of fried foods, rice, bubble teas, noodles, oily sauces, saucy oils, super-sweet chè, and barbecue. On Sunday the ladies (using my uncle and I as slaves) made a veritable feast for a party celebrating her recovering which included about 30 people from her husband’s family in addition to the 8 of us (her son, Jon, joined us over the weekend).

Not being able to speak Vietnamese or be outgoing, my brother and I watched the new The Karate Kid with Jackie Chan on TV while everyone re-connected. When that got over, we started Iron Man 3. My brother had flown in from Singapore on Saturday and it was the longest stretch of time I saw him awake. I had been really excited to see him, but he came arrived late on Saturday after getting in a small fender-bender on the road grumpy, jet lagged, and with the same indifference at seeing me from our childhood. After stomaching a banh mi, he went to bed and didn’t wake up until 3:30 pm the next day. And slept any time he was not eating for the remainder of the time in California. Ah well. 12 times zones is a lot.

So now I’m back in Pennsylvania and it’s for reals. Like I’m here for the year now. It’s really frightening still. Like, on Wednesday I went to Target to get school supplies. A task which usually pumps serotonin into my body like cocaine (I love office supplies, I love school. It’s been this way since kindergarten. I am elated by back-to-school shopping). But this time I was stressed out. I had no idea how what I would need for my classes. Would I need notebooks or sketchbooks? How many notebooks? Would I be writing in each of my classes? How many folders do I need?

Side note: asking these not-so hypothetical questions just re-envoked my fears and I had to stop writing and look at my classes again. I just decided I need one more notebook. And maybe some tracing paper.

I have six classes next semester, one is colloquium, one is a lab. Not to undermine the colloquium, who knows how “informal” this “meeting to exchange ideas”/”seminar on a particular field of study” will be and how much work it will involve?  And a lab? What does that mean? Do we get a chance to complete our projects as a group or are we given more work?! Your guess is as good as mine.

It was with these really important questions racing through my mind that I spent the rest of the week either reading or watching movies: Safety Not Guaranteed, Blue Valentine, and Punk-Drunk Love 

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