Thấy anh Phúc là thấy Tết

Mình định viết tặng anh Phúc một bàn post từ hồi tháng 11 hôm sinh nhật anh, nhưng rồi cứ việc này đến việc khác xong lại lười và quên mất. Chủ đề mình định viết hồi tháng 11 là khi bạn thành công và nổi tiếng thì lời nói của bạn sẽ dễ được tin tưởng hơn và việc thực hiện những gì mình muốn có vẻ sẽ dễ dàng hơn. Nhưng mình nghĩ chỉ cần tìm một ngày trong khoảng thời gian Tết đến xuân về thì cũng vẫn thể hiện được nội dung mà mình muốn. Vì hôm nay là 30 Tết nên mình sẽ nhất định không để qua năm mới nữa.

Người ta nói rằng mọi việc xảy ra trong cuộc sống này đều có lý do của nó, như việc gặp gỡ một ai đó, hay việc bạn có thể trở thành bạn, thành người yêu, hay ngay cả việc chia tay một ai đó đều có lý do chính đáng. Hồi tháng 6/2020, khi dịch bệnh có dấu hiệu được kiểm soát tốt và du lịch quay trở lại, mình đã quyết định dành thêm thời gian để tập trung vào marketing để tiếp tục xây dựng hình ảnh và quảng bá cho TUI BLUE Nam Hội An – khu nghỉ dưỡng mà mình đang phụ trách kinh doanh. Lần hợp tác này là công việc còn dang dở với Ban Khoa Giáo VTV2 sau nhiều lần hứa hẹn mà chưa thành. Lần này VTV2 dự kiến sẽ xây dựng một chương trình truyền hình thực tế thông qua việc mời một nhân vật trải nghiệm tới tham quan một địa danh mà còn ít người biết đến ở Tỉnh Quảng Nam và qua đó giới thiệu thêm về tiềm năng phát triển du lịch của vùng đất này. Ban đầu, mình được thông báo là nhân vật trải nghiệm là một nhân vật khác, nhưng do một số thay đổi, mình được thông báo rằng nhân vật trải nghiệm là MC Dương Hồng Phúc. Mình được hỏi là có biết anh Phúc không, mình trả lời ngay, MC Hồng Phúc thì … ai-mà-chẳng-biết. Có lẽ một phần là vì anh cũng xuất hiện nhiều trong các chương trình của đài truyền hình Việt Nam, mà ngoài Bắc thì mình không xa lạ chút nào, mặc dù bản thân anh Phúc thì là người miền Nam. Mặc dù vậy, mình cũng đã dành thêm một chút thời gian để tìm hiểu về nhân vật này để coi có thể kết hợp như thế nào thì phù hợp. Mặc dù không cố ý nhưng nhiều khi mình phải khẳng định rằng bản thân con người mình khá là mâu thuẫn và có khá nhiều định kiến. Mình không thích mấy cái vỏ bọc hào nhoáng của giới văn nghệ sĩ và mấy người chạy theo tiền bạc và danh vọng quá nhiều, cũng có lẽ vì vậy mà trong suy nghĩ cũng có phần tiêu cực khi tiếp xúc với những người của công chúng. Anh Phúc cũng không ngoại lệ, mình “Google” anh Phúc coi kết quả tìm kiếm sẽ ra bao nhiêu cái nhà lầu, xe hơi, nhưng xong rồi khá bất ngờ vì kết quả khác hoàn toàn với suy nghĩ.

Lần đầu tiên gặp anh Phúc là ở sân bay Đà Nẵng, cảm nhận chung là rất thân thiện, ăn mặc bảnh bao, trẻ trung, năng động và quan trọng nhất là phù hợp với hình ảnh nhân vật trải nghiệm mà mình đang tìm kiếm. Mình còn thấy là ông anh này có phần hơi ‘tăng động’ vì cứ nói cười, chụp hình, quay phim không ngừng nghỉ. Mình đã nghĩ trong đầu là chắc chỉ được một lúc thôi, vì mới đến nên hào hứng như vậy. Nhưng sau gần 5,6 ngày trời làm việc ròng rã, thấy anh ấy vẫn miệt mài làm ngày làm đêm, vẫn làm việc, vẫn vui cười cùng đoàn làm phim. Nhiều lúc có thấy mặt hơi mệt nhưng mình vẫn cảm thấy có nhiều năng lượng tích cực và thực sự điều này làm mình thay đổi suy nghĩ khá nhiều về người-nổi-tiếng. Có lẽ những điều mình nghĩ không phải như mình vẫn nghĩ. Gặp được anh Phúc và biết thêm những câu chuyện mà anh và vợ anh là chị Quỳnh Phượng đã cùng nhau vượt qua những giai đoạn khó khăn nhất và việc gia đình họ lúc nào cũng xuất hiện vui cười niềm nở trước công chúng thực sự làm cho mình cảm thấy có nhiều điều phải suy nghĩ, liệu rằng những khó khăn mà mình đã vượt qua từ trước đến giờ có đáng để mang ra so sánh?

Ảnh selfie cùng MC Dương Hồng Phúc tại bãi biển Tam Tiến

“Năm nay anh xác định là cho nó qua luôn, nghĩ thế cho đỡ nhức đầu em ạ”. Anh Phúc nói thế khi được hỏi về tình hình dịch bệnh đã có ảnh hưởng như thế nào đến anh. Chương trình đóng máy vào cuối tháng 6, cả nước lại đón thêm một đợt bùng dịch mới do COVID-19 gây ra. Mình chỉ biết thầm cảm ơn là cũng may là đoàn làm phim đã đóng máy, trong tay cũng có cơ số các videos và hình ảnh có thể sử dụng lâu dài. Anh Phúc nói lần sau nếu có cơ hội quay lại anh sẽ mời gia đình cùng đi.

Đoàn làm phim của Ban Khoa Giáo – ĐTH Việt Nam trong chuyến công tác tại TUI BLUE Nam Hội An – Tháng 6/2020

Tháng 12 vừa rồi khi dịch bệnh có vẻ đã được kiểm soát, mình đã nghĩ ngay đến việc tiếp tục cộng tác cùng anh Phúc nên đã gửi lời mời anh và gia đình quay trở lại với vai trò là người dẫn chương trình cho Tiệc Gala Dinner Cuối Năm tại TUI BLUE Nam Hội An, ngoài ra anh và gia đình có thể nghỉ ngơi và tận dụng thời gian để sản xuất các hình ảnh, videos phù hợp. Lần này do có thêm nhiều thời gian để chia sẻ hơn và vì có thêm gia đình nên mọi người lại có thêm nhiều cơ hội tâm sự. Về bản thân mình mà nói thì mình tự thấy bản thân quá may mắn khi vẫn sống sót thành công qua cả một năm thực sự khó khăn, mình cũng chúc mừng anh Phúc, vì thực sự vẫn cảm thấy với 2020, anh Phúc đã “được” nhiều hơn là “mất”. Cái “được” ở đây là mức độ phủ sóng của anh tăng đáng kể, ít nhất là kể từ khi mình biết anh ấy, và ngoài ra là thành công của anh trong chương trình “Màu hạnh phúc’ để gây quỹ cho các bé ở bệnh viện nhi đồng II có dịch tật tim bẩm sinh. Mình có nói là em thấy làm nghệ sĩ thật buồn, em thấy bọn anh quá vất vả, như cái guồng quay không có hồi kết. Anh Phúc thì nói là, nỗi buồn này cũng không phải riêng anh đâu, giới nghệ sĩ ai cũng thế, mất show, mất tiền, bao nhiêu dự định và kế hoạch. Cái khổ nhất của giới nghệ sĩ bọn anh không phải là sợ nhiều việc, sợ vất vả, mà là sợ…không có gì để làm, không những là không có tiền, mà còn là bị khủng hoảng tâm lý, vì mình đã quá quen với việc phải làm, phải đi, phải diễn và phải có khán giả…”.

Mình vẫn luôn tự cảm thấy bản thân là một người hết sức vô tâm. Hồi tháng 12 vừa rồi cũng là những ngày cuối cùng làm việc tại khách sạn cũ, mình trở về làm việc với một tâm trạng không quá hào hứng, vì đây là việc phải làm nên không có lựa chọn nào khác. Mình có thể kết thúc sớm hơn để nghỉ ngơi, nhưng nếu như vậy thì quả thật là không trọn vẹn. Cứ như vậy, như một người vô hồn, làm việc dựa vào lý trí và khả năng và nghĩ là kiểu gì cũng thành công và kiểu gì cũng xong. Thực sự mình đã không nghĩ quá nhiều về việc Tết đến xuân về.

31/12/2020

Gia đình anh Phúc đang di chuyển khắp các địa điểm tại khu nghỉ dưỡng, mình thấy kể ra cũng vui vì nhà anh này lúc nào cũng vui như Tết. Đúng tối ngày 31/12/2020, mình đã chuẩn bị một bộ trang phục phù hợp nhất có thể và di chuyển ra sảnh để đón khách, vẫn chưa thấy Tết đâu cho đến khi gặp được gia đình anh Phúc. Những ngày cuối của năm nên thời tiết ở miền Trung hơi se lạnh, anh MC của tôi mặc một bộ vest trắng vui cười niềm nở khi đang quay livestream: “Thưa quý vị, chỉ còn vài giờ nữa thôi là chúng ta sẽ nói lời tạm biệt với 2020. Phúc đã thấy không khí Tết tràn ngập tại đây…”. Hai anh em lại có thêm dịp “song kiếm hợp bích” trong một dự án lần đầu tiên mình có cơ hội làm, đó là việc tổ chức một phiên đấu giá tranh gây quỹ cho Operation Smile. Vậy mà cũng làm được nữa. Rồi cứ nhìn thấy anh Phúc thật sự chu toàn trong vai trò MC, bất kể chương trình là lớn hay nhỏ, anh tương tác cùng ban nhạc tham dự chương trình, cùng khách hàng và các bạn nhân viên. Đứa vô cảm như mình bắt đầu nhận ra, thật may là có anh Phúc nên ở đây có Tết.

Hồi tháng 1 vừa rồi mình cũng đã có những thay đổi nhất định trong công việc, chuyển qua chỗ làm mới nên cũng muốn thông báo với những đối tác thân thiết, trong đó có gia đình anh Phúc, vì mình cũng hứa với Chíp Sún là về Sài Gòn rồi sẽ hẹn cả nhà đi ăn. Nhưng có phải cứ muốn đi ăn là xong, mấy người ưa bận rộn này chỉ cần có cơ hội là sẽ kết hợp với công việc, mình và anh Phúc lại tổ chức một buổi tiệc tối gây quỹ từ thiện cho “Màu hạnh phúc” tại nhà hàng The Post Duck Kitchen. Mình đã mất 3 ngày để lên chương trình, mình đã nghĩ là không quá khó nên sẽ làm, cái video này là kết quả của một buổi tối suy nghĩ, sáng hôm sau thức dậy từ 5h sáng và ngồi suốt mấy tiếng để hoàn thiện. Buổi tối thì lại lung linh 🙂

Vậy đó, đây là những lời cuối cùng trong năm mới dành cho một người anh mà mình thấy rất yêu quý. Chúc anh chị, bé Chíp Sún và bé Ny một năm mới thật nhiều niềm vui và sức khỏe. Và vì yêu quý nên mình cũng mong anh chị sẽ có thêm cả những khoảng thời gian sống chậm lại chút xíu và đừng làm việc quá vất vả, vì những khoảnh khắc không đứng trước ống kính cũng quan trọng mà.

Video: Màu Hạnh Phúc
MC Dương Hồng Phúc và gia đình tại nơi làm việc mới của mình – Công ty Q Industries Việt Nam tháng 01/2021

Thank you for TUI-ing this together!

How do you look at the one you love and tell yourself it’s time to walk away?

Tam Tien Beach 🏖

I was told to be one of those overachievers at work, I thought I was one of those who has been blessed to have met so many amazing mentors, partners and beautiful colleagues who have been a great motivation for me to keep striving.

I’ve been very busy doing the things I love and loving the things that I do, this is all thanks to the people who have got my back and myself for not giving up on pursuing my own dreams.

Discover your smile

It was me delivering one of my presentations to give an introduction of TUI during the first Partners’ Briefing Series – a nation-wide roadshow to promote TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An. TUI stands for Touristik Union International – the world’s largest travel company.

About one and a half year ago, I got the offer as the Pre-Opening Director of Sales and Marketing to open the first TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An, which happens to be the first TUI Blue hotel in Asia – a member of TUI Group. And while people have the absolute rights to feel what they feel, I did feel very special while accepting this new offer. TUI for us is giant, it was like I got an offer from Yahoo or Google of my own industry. The TUI Smiley logo has become an icon in the world tourism industry for many decades.

Explore the more…

“You are Miss 001, because you are the first employee of TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An”, I was explained by the employer. It took me 2 months to warm up, the probation period is what it is called to get acquainted to a completely new working style and environment. After 2 months, I started seeing rainbow and butterflies 🌈 🦋 . I was able to build my own team and do take on the challenge to build a hotel brand awareness from the scratch, with a new hotel brand, located in an complete unknown destination.

Partners’ Briefing Series at Press Club Hanoi – October 2019
Partners Briefing Series continued in Hanoi 2019
Partners Briefing Series continued at the Deutsches Haus Ho Chi Minh City.
Partners Briefing Series in Danang – November 2019
Partners Briefing Series in Hue – November 2019
Partners Briefing Series in Hoi – November 2019
Christmas High Tea in Hoi An – Destination Wedding Briefing – December 2019
Some people dance in the rain, other people just get wet ☔️

Soft Opening – COVID-19 then now what?

We never really stopped our activities. For many reasons, the show must go on. 2020 was tough although we have been the luckiest people on Earth who have been able to live in Vietnam during Covid-19. And despite of a global pandemic still ranging, and followed by a tropical storm and rainy season, TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An has still been able to operate throughout the year while most hotels and resorts in the regions had to temporarily shut down.

Culture event with partner Y Van Hien – Celebrating the 45 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Germany 🇩🇪
New Year’s Eve Gala and Auction Dinner at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An to raise fund for Operation Smile Vietnam.
Arts for Smiles Gallery was founded in 2020 – the first Art Gallery in South of Quang Nam, located at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An.
Cooperation with Tohe Social Enterprise in 2019-2020

Until we are TUI-gether again!

I don’t know what people do out of a global pandemic. We made face masks, we followed the government instructions, we tried to keep our activities alive whenever we had a chance.

Thank you to all the senior leaders for giving me the chance to do what I am capable of. Artur, I haven’t been to Hanover yet 😔
Dieter and Tania – without you I will not be Miss #001
Thank you anh Kien for all your support!
Marko, I hope to see you again after the pandemic 😷

Last but not least, I am thankful that I had a team that would never give up on me, although I was the first person who came and found the team and I decided that I would eventually need to depart, for one and many other reasons that make more sense for my future endeavors.

Thank you to my (extended) Sales & Marketing team!
Don’t stop dreaming!
Thank you for TUI-ing this together with me! Chị Hồng & anh Hoàng Anh – two of my most senior members of the Sales and Marketing team.
When life gives you lemon, make lemonade. When life gave us a major flu 🤧, which turned out to be a global pandemic 😷, we made face-masks with a smiley logo 😊
Andreas and Bridget – it was a pleasure knowing you and thank you for your great support and trust!
Thank you lovely Hoa for being part of my incredible journey! This lady really made me cry on the day of my departure.
Thank you Tuan – this talented and young little brother for being a great multiplayer of the team. We won’t be able to have our name today without your support 💙
Thank you Trang for your resilience and commitment. I know we don’t talk much but just so you know I am very proud to have you to be part of the team.
This little sister was the first person that I hired to the team, one of the members that I spent the most time with in both professional and in real life. Chau has lot of potentials and I hope she would always find joy and peace in what she does in life.
Phuc I was really tough on you while you were our intern but I hope the experience was worthwhile. You are the best 💙
Thank you Thao – the newest member of the team – Our meeting was very brief but I have confidence that you will be great at what you do ❤️
Once upon a pandemic team 😇

This is definitely not Goodbye as I am sure our paths will cross again soon, one way or another. Please take care, don’t stop dreaming and till we are TUI-gether again! 💙

My Celebrity Doctor 👩‍⚕️

Why would a doctor need a fancy photo-shooting at a five star resort? For fun? For her own interest? For her personal branding? Who else does she want to be?

On a not-so-beautiful day of May 2020 for me because the tourism and hotel industry has got the largest hit of the century due to the destruction of the corona pandemic, I received an influencer-cooperation request for a photo shooting project at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An from my favorite make-up artist cum producer Kyo Phan. I would love to work with him of course then I asked if he could send me a detailed program of the cooperation for my own review. We had worked before on different projects with professional models or people who work in the entertainment industry. But this time, it’s not really about a model, not even an actress or a singer. He said it was about Kha Le, a businesswoman and an entrepreneur. Oh what? I think I missed something, she is also a doctor, a dentist to be exact. But why would she need such a fancy photo-shooting in such a five star resort?

I was like why? Why would a doctor need to have a fancy photo-shooting in a five star resort? For fun because she’s rich? Maybe? Or for her own personal branding? Perhaps she’s working on a project? Maybe…

So I did a bit of homework and googled her name. I didn’t have to wait long, a number of articles came up. Of course I would be able to tell which article is paid on commercial and marketing purpose and which one is not. But I do see something different. This woman has really made an effort with her personal branding. Here are some of my findings:

“For a woman, fashion is a joy” (Image: GlobalWoman.vn)

Then on a beautiful summer evening in Hanoi, I finally had a chance to meet with Dr Kha Le, after spending a few days of doing my own research about her and her brand TrendSmile also.

My first impression? She’s an elegant and a beautiful woman yet very friendly and quite easy to talk with. Just like how I was convinced by the way she carried herself, I guess she would do a great job to make her client trust and love her as long as they get to see her. I like her more in the daily life or even when she’s in a uniform. No matter what she says or what people say, she’s a doctor after all. And it takes years and brainwork, lots of brainwork to be a doctor. But here’s even a beautiful female doctor, there’s a difference, too👩‍⚕️

Dr Kha Le and her selfie – This picture is posted with permission 😇

“I am a woman after all, apart from being a doctor and a wife and a mother. I think it’s important that I have time to enjoy life. I have seen my female class-mates from university. Although many of us ended up becoming dentists, and then becoming wives and mothers of their children, but many are doctor – doctors by own means. They get stuck in their uniforms the whole time. Some of them even seem to look older than their age and tired. But of course they do look like doctors in the world that is defined for us with lots of ethical standards and sacrifices”, Kha Le said. Then she continued: “But I want more, I want to enjoy life, I am a doctor but I am a woman also. I want to feel beautiful and look beautiful. I believe we should never put a limit on ourselves, you can still be a doctor and a beautiful woman at the same time”. I am not sure about you, whoever might be reading this, whether you are a man or a woman, but I personally adore the type of woman who has her own interests and simply knows how to inspire other people even with a small act of her daily selfie as a way of saying hello to the world 🤳

Yes I do like her selfie too ☺️

Then it came to my turn to ask “So what do you want to do from now?”, looking at Dr Kha Le as she was about to share more.

“I’ve started Trend Smile for more than 3 years now. It’s not been easy but I think we’ve got some very first encouraging successes. I want to live a happy life and bring happiness to people by helping them to design the best possible smiles. Some people are simply not lucky enough to have a good smile to start with. But I always believe having a good smile can change someone’s life”.

At some point I am glad that I have met her. Although I am actually not a big fan of all these beautiful stuff. I called it beautiful stuff because I really don’t spend lots of effort of searching the definition of “the best smile” or “the best beauty smile” or whatever. But this doctor has convinced me that she’s really been trying to make a difference, even if it only started by becoming a beautiful and successful doctor who is good at inspiring people around her.

This Trend Smile brand is another interesting story. I was quite fond of the design of the logo to be honest, although I need to admit that I do not know much about design. But it looks clean, fresh and quite modern for me. Maybe it’s just my own opinion because I am a fan of minimalism. Unlike other dentist clinics who often use the drawing of a “tooth” to design their logos, Trend Smile’s logo was inspired by the idea of a circle hugging and protecting a human body. The logo was created with the belief that when you know how to take care of your dental health, you know how to care of your own body and soul.

Vietnamese idiom has this saying “Cái răng, cái tóc là góc con người”. It means the teeth and head-hair are considered as human figure, which gives the meaning to the most important parts of human appearance”.

I have asked a few designers for what they think about this logo. They said, for a dental brand, they would prefer something shaper as it shows professionalism and accuracy.

I came to her dental place in Hanoi at 255 Pho Hue, I was also informed that she has another address in District 7 in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) since she knew that I live in Ho Chi Minh City now. My impression? I felt at ease, no stress because the design of the clinic and arrangement made us feel calm. I did some easy dental cleaning so it was not much of a big deal, but it was a totally a smooth process, it can be compared to the feeling of entering a Spa. The team including the doctors was very gentle, polite but still looking sharp and professional. I would definitely come back perhaps because of the dentists here who really have made me feel comfortable and safe ☺️

So that is it. Kha Le is becoming more and more admirable in her own way. I called her a “celebrity” doctor to hope that she will make her dreams come true. Be a successful and beautiful doctor, with a style! Let me share with you some beautiful pictures of hers taken at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An. Looking at these images, I think I need to ask her to show her work license to prove that she is a real doctor, simply because she is too gorgeous to be a normal one. Thanks God she’s not normal and that makes her very special👩‍⚕️

I wish all women in the world would be able to find success, love and happiness no matter what they do. And the sky is not even the limit if you believe that so. Cheers to better days to come! 🍸

Try everything, keep the best!

I have recently decided that every time I see something good or someone who has done something that I found meaningful, I will make a record out of it. Either to give them a recommendation on Social Media or at least to write a blog post or to tell the story to related people that I know just to show my appreciation.

I first met this brother – Kyo Phan about 2 years ago when I was in charge of the Sales and Marketing activities for Legacy Yen Tu – MGallery. He was the make-up artist in the first photo-shooting project which I had the chance to take care of. He didn’t really have chance to talk much as was mainly for him to listen to me and to what other people had to say. We added each other on Facebook, occasionally “Like” and “Comment” to each other’s post but hardly ever talked, maybe once or twice because there was actually no reason to do so. We barely knew each other. I remember that one time I told him that I had a job change to Hoi An area.

About a month after, he contacted me and see if we could have a chance to work on another shooting, this time at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An, the new resort where I am currently assigned to work. I would love to say yes but the resort was not ready, I referred his proposal to another sister property in the area so that he could still get the work done. Then he said, whenever I need something regarding make-up or taking profile pictures I would need to let him know. I thought it was kind for him to say so but didn’t really care much at that moment.

I guess about 2 months after we finally had the chance to meet again when I was back in Hanoi for my business trip, we met up over a nice dinner at Ming Restaurant of the Pan Pacific Hanoi. He wanted to introduce me to the lead model in one of his recent projects – Dr Kha Le from Trend Smile. And the moment he introduced my name and how we met, I was stunned. He said I was the one who took care of him so well in one of the best shootings that he has ever done. Because of me taking time to introduce to him everything about the Legacy Yen Tu, from the pottery and the meaning of the rice-husk wall so he remembered and the crew was able to capture the best shoots of the property and models.

Then we kept talking the entire evening and ended up having a nice drink at Angelina’s of the Sofitel Legend Metropole. He reminded me that we needed to do a shooting for me so we decided to do in a few days after. And here are the results:

This is the most like-able picture of the entire album. I do not know why people like it so much ☺️
For this picture to be done, it took me no less than 30 times passing the road ☺️
I think I actually look more like an actress in this picture.
Another “celebrity” moment ☺️
I don’t know how they were able to capture this look…
And this too ☺️
I think it’s kind of fun to do this once in a while ☺️

And only once in a while should be enough I guess. But the experience was worthwhile as I do believe that I had the chance to work with one of the best teams in the make-up and styling industry in Vietnam. Kyo Phan is definitely a genuine, fun and talented make-up artist. I was also blessed to know Duc Nhat, his hair stylish and especially Ms Mai Giang who did a great styling job for me on the shooting day. She was so gentle and caring and so humble for her own tittle as Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012. I guess the next level of maturity when you know how to stop taking yourself too seriously.

Here are two of my favorite people: Mai Giang (Left) – Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012 & Kyo Phan (Right) – The super talented make-up Artist 🤗

He is also a fashionista and a great model, too 😇

Dimples

There are certain things in life that you think you can not explain… Perhaps you will know it later but maybe you don’t want to know. Sometimes you simply don’t want to get to know too deep or too much of anything in order to keep its beauty…

I’ve got to know a lady for, let’s say… 12 days and I can’t help thinking of her with lots of admiration and curiosity at the same time…

I’m trying to picture a 33 years old woman, who is the single mother of 2 kids… But that’s not what I’m talking about… She had got married when she was 20 and divorced 5 years later…

She had lived 3 years in Singapore where she worked for the world’s largest networking and marketing organization but doesn’t speak a fluent sentence of English… And as a Vietnamese to Vietnamese I could easily pin point some of her pronunciation mistakes that she often makes…

Then I wonder how could she become who she is today? She has her own business, her own house, her own car with her own driver… She does seem to own a lot of things and I have no doubt that she knows a lot of people too…

But and can’t seem to connect these dots no matter how hard I am trying to connect them. Perhaps, as we get closer, I will understand about her little more about this woman but for now, it’s all good things…

When I can’t think of a good reason to explain her success in life, I am thinking of the sparkles in her eyes while talking to her about anything in life – work or random things. Just be very careful because even though I know I am a 100% straight woman, it is still easy to get lost, either in her pretty eyes or her adoring smile with charming dimples on her cheeks, which I must say, one of the sweetest smile that I have ever seen in my life…

tumblr_nugyammybY1ue9hpio1_500

Life is Magnifique in Hanoi

life isNot too long ago I was in my 20-something crisis. I knew I was. I saw negative sides of things that I encountered on a daily basis with the highest level of disappointment I can get… I found nothing interesting in anything or anybody. That sounded so bad wasn’t that?

I walked along the rainy streets and I knew I had to make a phone call to a friend. 15 minutes later we got settled in one of the coffee shops near by. I asked if he could tell me the truth of how miserable I looked at that time… He was like ‘yeah yeah’ like it doesn’t even matter…and of course the fact that he did not show any sympathies to me at all made me a little angry… Then I decided to stop talking about myself. I saw the sparkles in his eyes and could not help wonder how he had been. I asked why he could be so happy. The answer was quite simple. He said he was happy because he loved all the things that he had been doing… Wasn’t that good?

But still, facing the fact that only him feeling good so it did not make me feel any better. I looked out the window and sighed: “Can you please tell me when this rain’s going to stop? I am so sick of this weather…” I said, with knowing that my friend might have been fed up with me already for ‘un-intentionally’ trying to turning him down… “I am so tired of this city. It’s always either too hot or too cold. And did you notice? The foggy and rainy weather has been like this for 1/4 of the year…” I continued.

Then he began – I think I only waited for this moment to hear his feedback. Because I know this guy will he super direct and straight to my problems.

“What’s happening with you?” He asked. “Are you trying to tell me that I am not acting like who I am? Like a normal me right?” I answered.

“Can’t be truer than that”. He laughed sneakily. I questioned him back: “Hey, I knew you also have a hundred things going on at the same time and you also changed your job last year… Don’t tell me it’s been a smooth process….!?”.

“Of course not… You had no idea how bored and disappointed I was when I had to quit the job. During my last few days at the office, apart from the day-to-day activities that we all have to accomplish, I had done something that I thought it was abnormal. I read through a 500 pages long book about Vietnamese history and now I feel like I have a new profession…”.

We laughed until his face looked a bit more serious again… “I think you should stop looking at the dark sides of everything. Of course you can leave if you don’t like this city anymore but you know more than anyone that there are goods and bads everywhere. Why don’t you look at this city to see our advantage of having seasonality? Other cities in Southeast Asia do not have that and they missed the opportunities to sell seasonal products and services…”.

“Okay!” I smiled and that’s when he knew that he made a clear point to me…

We kept the talking for another 15 minutes later before we greeted goodbye. 3 months later, I called him back and asked how he was doing… I know this is the man that I should be thankful for having him as a friend. And now, talking about seasonality, if you think Hanoi is the only capital city in Southeast Asia that has 4 seasons then it’s time to think again. We don’t just have 4 seasons, we have 12 flower seasons. I brought this idea for an internal presentation at work and received a number of good feedback… Let’s just forget about brand standards for now… I am just in love with the thought of me re-starting to have more of original ideas and finally get back to be my-authentic-self…

Vanity of Vanities

thuxanhthuxanh

thu

I’ve got to know this little sister for less than a year since I had received a as a marketing intern. Yeah I knew it from the very beginning while looking at her profile that she is very into art & design. It didn’t take me long to realise the artistic side of hers, apart from her artistic look – just like her own drawing in the above picture, she is a little bit of vain – just like me – and full of vanity – But I am a little less – oh no, so much less of vanity than she is.

The thing is she knew it too well and she seems to enjoy very much of her own little world, which used to drive me crazy and make me worry for her at the same time. She looks so damn cool and strong from the outer but a little shy and fragile kitty is all I can see through… But then I realised, I shouldn’t have worried for her at all. Why should I? In fact, during the time that I’ve got to know her, I’ve kind of having had enough troubles on my own. She’s happy isn’t that enough?

Congratulations on getting another piece of vanity done. I know you’ve worked hard for it. Wishing you all the best in life and lots of vanity in your crazy little Thu Xanh’s Blog 🙂

Love you heaps xx

I already smiled.

me

Few days ago:

Boy: Hey, I’ve got you a present.

Girl: Thanks, what’s that?

Boy: I will not tell you until I see you again and I will give it to you.

Girl: Okay 🙂

Today:

Boy: Hey, are you there?

Girl: Yup?

Boy: Do you remember I said I had a present for you?

Girl: Yes?

Boy: It doesn’t exist anymore.

Girl: Really? Was it food? Did it get expired?

Boy: No 😦 Actually it was a stone. I found it on the street while the kids were playing. Then I took it home and worked on it to make you a present. But today I dropped it and it was broken.

Girl: Don’t worry. It was so nice of you already. Thank you so much.

Boy: But I just wanted to see you smile when you see it.

Girl: I’ve already smiled.

Namaste

I know this is just the beginning of 2015 but I’ve just had one of my best moments of the year catching up with some amazing friends and people, this includes the Sajus…

I met Saju in back in 2010 when we were at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. He was ‘the Chef’ and I worked in Food and Beverage as well as Sales and Marketing department. Except for the fact that he is Indian and he cannot swim – he admitted in front of everybody when we were playing the ‘Who’s Who game’ at the hotel – we knew nothing about each other until we both came back to Vietnam…

In 2012, he got a job promotion at a five star hotel in Saigon and by that time I also left Australia for home in Hanoi. I took the occasion to meet my old colleguage again in one of my trips to Saigon and got to know his family, his beautiful Croatian wife Mirjana and his gorgeous daughter plus personal assistant Kylie.

We met again in Hanoi yesterday and the day before as they went for a trip in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. Oh my god, Kylie surprised me as she is a lot taller than she was before… Kylie loves winter so she seemed to enjoy it very much. However, the Hanoi weather has not been very pleasant as we’ve been experiencing to the extreme of the unpleasant days with cold wind air and too much of winter rain.

I enjoyed my time spending with them as well to get to know the ‘insights’ of how it’s like to get married with a Chef and got to know a bit of here and there… Europe, India, Australia and Vietnam… We literally include almost everything in our conversions and sometimes they even went up into becoming some ‘big’ husband & wife arguments but I guess this is just how life’s supposed to be. Mirjana was like: “Camellia, don’t get married and don’t have kids”. I just can’t help smiling looking at how happy they are and I could not see anything which is more lively and more beautiful than that…

I had one of the best Indian meals in my life at Namaste Restaurant in Hanoi… I just tried everything that I was advised by ‘the Chef’ and they were all so good.

10904907_10200335197819868_1949878629_n

10933076_10200335198059874_1775576001_n

It must have been not so difficult for Indians to become vegetarians they have such a wide variety of choices when it comes to vegetarian or vegan food. I told the family that I wanted to become a vegetarian. Just got this feeling recently… And perhaps 80% vegetarian is a better target as it is not easy to be a vegetarian when you are part of the food and service industry and especially when you live in the society where people show absolutely no respect for animals as many of them still think dog meat is a type of food to eat…

Despite of the cold and rain, the Hanoi trip was good for us, I still feel like I am a ‘tourist’ sometimes – it happens when you travel with people coming from different cultures who look at your culture in a different perspective…

Life is full of coincidences. And I think I must have made Mirjana super happy as well. She might probably thought that she was the only Croatian in Vietnam. We were walking along Nha Tho street where the St Joeseph’s is and I suddenly realised that I knew someone also from Croatia who lives in Hanoi. Coincidentally, they were all at the same place at a perfect timing and just good enough for me to get everyone from the small little Croatian ‘community’ to get introduced to each other in a short period of time. Mirjana was so happy that she couldn’t speak a word after the encounter with not only one Croatian guy but also another one and another guy who is Croatian’ son-in-law. She asked me as if I knew everyone in this city which just made me smile… I took a step back to think of another coincidence, it was about an Austrian man who I’ve got to know for quite some time and once we went for dinner together at Da Paolo Westlake, he was so surprised that he could hear the ‘Austrian’ sound from another man who was dining in the table right next to us…

I said to the Chef: “Hey Saju, I think just maybe, if someone thinks he/she is the only person who has ‘unique’ nationality in this city, they should come and see me as I will be able to help them find a friend who comes from their own state of origin…”