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…

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Shoe-pidity

If I had to say sorry to any part of my body, I would need to say it first to my feet.

I’ve been traveling and running here and there on heels and I’ve hurt my feet… In order to walk and even run confidently on your heels, you know you’ve practiced hard, your skin’s got thicker and you no longer feel the pain regardless of how long you spend your time on those so-called: “shoe-pidity”. Having said that, at least I do not wear those “ridiculously” uncomfortable stilettos because I know I would not look incredible on them, and I do not think I am capable of wearing them either šŸ™‚

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I personally consider walking as a form of mediation. It would be nice if there’s a warm hand for you to hold but I still enjoy very much those winter days that I put on my jacket/ coat and my hands are in the pockets.

The other day I went for dinner with a “so-called” ex-boyfriend. I asked if he wanted to walk from where we met to the restaurant which would take us about 10 minute-walk… Ā He said yes and followed me but couldn’t stop complaining that he did not enjoy walking at all. I looked at him, smiled and told him in a polite manner: “I know why we could not be together. We were definitely not on the same road…”

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Busy-ness!

I never truly believed when someone said he or she was too busy until I have become addicted to being busy. This is when I’ve realized that it can easily take me 20 hours to reply not-so-urgent texts; it takes days to reply my not too-urgent-emails-because they-can-wait and my Facebook inboxes are full of unread messages…

This is when I’ve also realized that, love/relationship is almost an impossible thing in this modern era. Perhaps the love is still there but we cannot see and hardly ever feel it because everyone of us is so full of our own Busyness. Some told me that he was so busy – I believed him but never truly believed. And then I’ve been becoming more like him. Except for the fact that I don’t live in hotel rooms and I do not hold a platinum membership from any Airline company. Working in the hospitality is tough. Even if I am entitled to work within office hours and only on weekdays, this job is as demanding as a super time stealer and already feel that I am over-loaded. What about you who has such an important job? What if I had to fly 12 times out of 7 days per week? Have I ever wished if IĀ  could travel back in time? I guess not, I am so busy with my own Busyness and the good news is I seem to enjoy it very much. This Busyness has taken all our memories away. I have started to forget things and people and I’ve started to forget you… And I am sorry…

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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 meĀ 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…

Living the island

Picture me..

An 18 years old girl who recorded herself as the youngest and the only Vietnamese G.O at Club Med Lindeman Island. 48++ hours of work per day and 6 work days per week and only once per every 2 weeks I took a ferry to go back to the ‘main land’, work was hard but almost a worry-free zone just because there were no targets, no numbers nor any ‘mission impossible’ that was assigned to me at that time. Well, let’s be fair, neither me nor any employers should expect too much from a just turned 18 years old employee but I gotta admit that I had learned so so much from there… Sadly Club Med Lindeman Island was closed down in late 2011 and the property was sold to some Chinese billionaire… Anyway I hope they will turn the island into a new paradise with a generation view point…

Although it only lasted for 6 months on the tropical island but I am so glad that I made it there – it was definitely one of the best 6-months of my entire life to be able to live in one of the greatest places on Earth and meeting some of the most amazing people in the world. My island’s friends are the one-of-a-kind friend in the world: my bestie Phillipa, my Aussie dad Graeme and my favourite handsome English Joe who are always on my side no matter what happens…

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Me, 18 years old at Club Med

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The 8th hole

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With my favourite GMs and GOs

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The heart shaped island from the WhitSundays, Australia

Vanity of Vanities

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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 littleĀ Thu Xanh’s BlogĀ šŸ™‚

Love you heaps xx

What are the flowers thinking beneath the snow?

The first book ever that actually brought me to tears while reading was the “Christmas Shoes” by Donna VanLiere. Back in 2011, I found “Christmas Shoes” in a bookstore in Civic (Canberra, Australia) while I was taking my ‘walking meditation’. I still remember how I immediately grabbed a pen and a piece of paper to take notes as soon as I opened the very first pages of the book:  …time to find out what the really important questions are, the ones that matter. Not How am I going to make enough money? or What can I do to get promoted? No, more like What are the flowers thinking beneath the snow? When do birds make reservations to fly South?. What is God’s plan for my life? What are my wife’s dreams?

The piece of paper has always been in my wallet – I think it is priceless so I will keep that forever šŸ™‚

What are the flowers thik What are the flowers thinking beneath the snow? “The Christmas Shoes” – Donna VanLiere

I was born in a way that as soon as I learned how to speak my baby’s first words, I started to sing, to tell stories and to perform in front of many people in the most natural way as possible. And most of the time I do feel like I am an artist.

So when the guy told me: “You can only see things which are black and white. You cannot see the colours”. – I did not get angry at all but whenever I think of this, I feel pity for him and I find his words very much like an insult. Who the hell does he think he is? (I thought to myself) – A pure bottom life manager who was trying to give me an advice on how to live my life more colourful? Yes, this is me, to tell me that I am colour blind is obviously like giving me an insult because I’ve been living most of my life like in the most artistic way as possible.

I think what makes us (me and a number of friends that I know) feel so glad after all is no matter how tough this life can be and how much people are trying to tame you – you know you can’t be tamed. I’m not saying I know the Art of Living, which I really don’t… I am like the majority of people on this planet, we all need to work to make a living – and I understand the fact we all need to become a Bottom Line Manager of our lives to ensure all our needs are satisfied.

At the end, I always think that I am still one of the luckiest in the world to live such an amazing life that I am able to feel like I am an artist. At the same time, I know I need to be more down to Earth as well to see through things and people to understand what their true values are behind all the expensive or average looks. We except the fact that everyone lives differently and thinks differently. We appreciate different things and admire different people. And I think what actually makes huge differences between people from one to another is when we are all asked to answer even one single question: “What do you want out of your life?”. Or another interesting friend of mine often pops out a question that he thinks he will be able to tell a lot about someone’s personality: “What would you like to do if you don’t have to worry about anything in life? What would you like to do?”. I think that so, too.

Everybody is so lonely in this neither big nor small world. It is when you stop a moment to think that you know everybody, and as many as the number of people who know you – How many people are there for you when it comes in to the need of emotional stability?

Rachel Zoe

For those who do not know Rachel Zoe, she is an American fashion stylist – For what I know of, she has her own fashion brand and a number of other related beauty businesses, a long list of A-list clients and she is a working mum.

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Anyway, lovers are gonna love and haters are gonna hate her so what does Rachel has got to do with me while she doesn’t even know me?

Rachel is a *MAJ inspirer to me. So I’m saying right now as I am still on my full-time job – if I quit my job tomorrow and someone needs somebody else to blame you can blame Rachel for having inspired me to do something else (And obviously she will never know unless my post will be 1000 times or more reposted).

Right, so what’s about Rachel?

(*MAJ is short for major by the Zoe’s speak)

Once upon a time, when I was almost in the middle of nowhere – It appeared to me that I had absolutely no idea about what I wanted to do for my future then I ‘met’ Rachel on StarWorld Asia on her reality TV series: The Zoe Project. I think it was just funny for me to capture the picture of a pregnant blonde woman who never stopped complaining about the fact she was at her month #8 of her pregnancy and at the same time still working as a crazy person as a fashion stylist.

So nothing much really but I don’t know why I keep watching that show from one to another season and to see how she has been through with her family and businesses. And obviously everybody in the fashion world would know how great Rachel is, Ā together with her husband and the team, she’s done a massive job over almost 2 decades.

What I like about Rachel is not only the fact that she is one of the most influential people in the fashion industry – I was impressive to learn that she has not done any formal fashion training into order to get into the position that she is today. Rachel just has a natural talent for fashion and I’m sure there are numerous factors that got her to the top level. I heard Rachel said ‘If you let passion guide you, you can’t fail’ but I don’t think this is the case; passion alone might not make you successful. There are a lot more, especially in this modern era… What can I say here? Your degrees? Appearance? Finance? Networking? Ā Surprisingly, I’ve found that many people in the world also have almost the exact same things for everything, even if it comes to the look (thanks to some certain beauty standards and plastic surgery) and same whatever that can be bought. Therefore, you gotta be D I F E R R E N T if you want to be I R R E P LA C E A B LE so I think it is important to have some certain levels of knowledge, attitude & experience. To cut it short, you need to create your own style – and what is style by the way – it is defined by RZ that: “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”.

Or I like very much what Yves Saint Laurent said: “Fashion will fade but style is eternal”.

Both I totally agree – and perhaps you need to be a little crazy as well. I think RZ is psycho in a way… I think I am psycho too as I even remember too much of the Zoe’s speak already (It happens when people like something so I hope that’s not just me). Not that I believe in everything about what people put on magazine or reality shows but RZ should anyway be the one to decide what she wanted to put on her TV shows. And in one of the episoles when she tried to dress her ‘poor’ little kid Skyler and her former style assistant Joey – She literally admitted: “My purpose in life is to dress everybody” and that she can’t stand it to see somebody who appears to be undressed. But come on Rachel, I hope life is not all about dressing, shoes, maxi or mini dresses, bags, make-up and how to impress people. Or maybe it’s her job to say so in order to sell or whatsoever that really is…

Afterwards, I still like Rachel and her style but I slowly started my own ‘Beyoutiful’ project as well so I really did not have time for her reality shows anymore. I’ve got to get real at some points. So I’ve watched and learned about Vietnamese women as much as I could with people coming from different demographics and to see different factors that effect their lives and behaviours. And there is one thing I realised that apart from the beautiful nature appearance that many Vietnamese women have been so fortunate to be given by mother nature, I figured out many issues that we are facing with in this modern society that actually make us less beautiful, I think I know what they are… And whatever they really are, they will never be accepted…

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.

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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.Ā 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…”

The Artistic Me

cropped-because1.jpgIf I were not a business woman, I would probably be an artist – like a musician or a singer.

I still think I am an artist and I’ve been somewhat living an artistic life. I very often think in music and just like what Albert Einstein said: “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.”.

The only difference would be: I don’t do music for a living. I hold no degree in music and arts nor having a professional work permit to become a professional singer. But I started to sing since I was two – I was able to sing almost everything that I listened too, whether it was in Vietnamese, English, POP music, Rock or Country Folks. This often makes things a little more interesting while a seeing a Northern Vietnamese like me is able to find a sing a song that represents a region of Vietnam with a very local accent. Ā And I guess the most exciting part is when people start to question whether I originally come from a region where the songĀ that I singĀ belongs to…

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a particular talent in anything and absolutely not that I had a great voice or a great vocal (My vocal is down to Britney Spears’ level…), but I do feel like music turns me up whenever I feel down, but not every time in the most positive ways but I’m sure without it, my life will not be easier.

Some people like to talk about their problems – I would choose a song to sing then I solve mine: