Nàng thơ

Hồi gặp em ở chỗ làm thì anh thấy em cũng cứng thật, nhất là lúc em làm việc. Nhưng có hôm anh đi qua L’espace, hôm đấy anh thấy em mặc đồ gì đấy rất đẹp và nhìn mặt rất xinh đi dạo trên đường Tràng Tiền là anh nhận ra em thực ra là một người rất lãng mạn và nữ tính, cái này ai thân với em thì sẽ thấy.

Trên kia là lời nhận xét của anh bạn thân rất thân nói với mình ngày hôm nay khi mà cả hai đang ở nơi mà mình gọi là “Sài Gòn Cô Tiên năm 2020”. Có vẻ anh ấy còn nhận ra một phần mơ mộng trong con người mình từ lúc mà hai anh em còn chưa thân nhau. Còn cậu bạn thời thơ ấu thì vẫn luôn tự an ủi mình, thôi cậu cứ như vậy đi, đừng thay đổi, dù có già đi cậu vẫn là nàng thơ của tớ, những thằng khác không có đâu, vì cậu không thay đổi, cậu vẫn là nàng thơ. Ừ thì đó, nhưng thơ mãi sao được đây…

Sài Gòn Cô Tiên năm 2020

Mình nghĩ một trong những điều trớ trêu nhất chính là việc người khác giao cho mình làm kinh doanh, trong khi bản thân thực chất lại là một người theo thiên hướng khoa học xã hội và nghệ thuật. Nhiều khi ước gì mình sinh ra vào một thời đại khác, khi mà các bạn “học giỏi” không có nghĩa chỉ là giỏi các môn khoa học tự nhiên để sau này thi vào khối tài chính ngân hàng. Có những giai đoạn mình cố ép bản thân ngồi trong nhóm của những người học giỏi đấy rồi lại thấy mình chẳng liên quan. Mà không hiểu sao mình cứ nghĩ nhiều thế làm gì cho mệt não. Công việc cũng chỉ là công việc, không chơi thì nghỉ. Nói thì dễ mà chẳng hiểu sao cứ miên man…

Mà cũng đúng thôi, sau cả một chặng đường đấu tranh cho những cái tôi to đùng, mình lại giật mình tự hỏi vậy con bé ngày xưa đâu rồi? Cho mình xin phép phàn nàn một câu, làm người lớn đôi khi thật chán…

Mình đã từng là một đứa bé đi sưu tập những nhánh cây và hoa về nhà trồng và mỗi sáng đều chạy lên sân thượng để kiểm tra xem hoa mười giờ đã nở chưa và luôn cảm thấy vui mỗi khi có một bông hoa nở đẹp. Giờ thì không cây cũng chẳng cỏ, chỉ thầm ngưỡng mộ những người luôn nuôi dưỡng tình yêu đặc biệt với thiên nhiên.

Mình cũng là đứa ngồi mải miết đọc những quyển sách ngữ văn của các chị gái. Mình nhớ hồi đấy mình học tiểu học, các chị lớn hơn 3-5 tuổi nhưng đã bắt đầu ngồi đọc những bài văn thơ nước ngoài và còn học thuộc. Có một bài mình chỉ nhớ loáng thoáng có tựa đề là: “Thư gửi mẹ” của một tác giả người Nga, còn có một đoạn thơ như thế này. Cũng không hiểu sao đến khi mình đi học thì không còn những bài thơ như vậy nữa.

“Chỉ có điều mẹ nhé những ban mai

Đừng đánh thức con như tám năm về trước

Đừng gợi lại làm chi những giấc mơ đã mất

Đừng gợi chi những mộng đẹp không thành

Cũng đừng dạy con nguyện cầu vô ích

Nẻo về xưa đã khép lại rồi

Chỉ có mẹ là diệu kỳ, ánh sáng niềm vui…”

Rồi bây giờ lại thêm thời đại 4.0, kỉ nguyên của công nghệ nữa. Mình thấy thêm một điểm nữa là mỗi lần xã hội có thêm một bước tiến mới thì cái bản chất bảo thủ của mình nó lại lộ rõ thêm một phần nữa. Cứ như thế này thì còn chỗ nào cho tình người? Còn chỗ nào cho mộng mơ? Chẳng hiểu những thời đại sau này, như con cái mình nếu có thì các bạn ấy sẽ lớn lên như thế nào nhỉ? Mình đã có thời gian đi du học và nghĩ rằng lựa chọn về Việt Nam là chuẩn xác, nhưng rồi nghĩ lại một câu chuyện khác rồi lại đặt lại câu hỏi cho bản thân, liệu rằng mình đã nghĩ đúng chưa? Mình có một câu chuyện mà mình đã có cơ hội tham gia vào như một vai nữ chính trong phim.

Sometimes it doesn’t have to make sense, to make sense…

Sau này có con thì cho con sống ở đâu?

Chuyện về người hơi bị cũ. Hồi đấy mình mới tốt nghiệp và đi làm được khoảng 2 năm thì có quen một anh này. Nói chung biết nhau cả một khoảng thời gian không cảm xúc gì và vào một ngày đẹp trời mình bắt gặp một cái ánh mắt anh ta nhìn mình theo kiểu cực kỳ là bất thường. Mình cũng thắc mắc không hiểu có phải do mình là con gái nên thường hay tưởng tượng là bọn con trai nó thích mình không. Xong từ lúc đấy người anh kia đi đâu cũng thông báo để mình biết, đến mức thói quen của mình cũng thay đổi vì cứ phải theo dõi các chuyến bay của người ta và muốn biết người ta có an toàn hay không. Một ngày đẹp trời khác khi đang ngồi nói chuyện anh ấy đột nhiên hỏi mình: “Sau này có con thì cho con sống ở đâu nhỉ?”.

Thấy kỳ lạ gì đâu. Mình hỏi con ai cơ? Con anh ấy hả? Sống ở đâu mà chẳng được 😂

Không, ý anh là nên sống ở Việt Nam hay ở Châu Âu hay ở Úc. Ví dụ ở Việt Nam thì sẽ dễ tìm giúp việc nhưng giao thông thật là khủng khiếp, còn bên Châu Âu thì việc học có vẻ sẽ tốt hơn…

Mình đã nói với anh rằng là quan trọng nhất là ba mẹ của con là ai và mình có cố gắng tạo điều kiện tốt nhất cho con hay không thôi, ở đâu cũng được mà. Nhưng em nghĩ mình đang đi quá xa rồi đấy.

Anh kia: Rồi một ngày nào đấy chúng ta sẽ quay lại nói về chuyện này thôi, anh chắc chắn đấy.
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Nhiều năm sau, cái chắc chắn của anh đã đảm bảo là đến giờ anh vẫn chưa lấy vợ, mà cũng có thể anh chẳng muốn lấy ai, nếu lấy thì có vẻ sẽ phải lòng một cô gái Việt Nam nào đó thôi. Mình đã từng mất khá nhiều thời gian chỉ để nghĩ về người này xong giờ chẳng nghĩ gì nữa, sau vụ Covid anh này cũng đang tạm trôi dạt về châu Âu, vẫn đủ tử tế để cập nhật cho mình về địa điểm mặc dù chẳng biết bao giờ mới có cơ hội gặp lại 😊

Chỉ mấy hôm trước thôi mình đã nghĩ là nếu mình có lập gia đình và nếu có con cái thì cứ ở Việt Nam thôi. Nhưng chẳng hiểu sao, ngày hôm nay, chỉ sau một buổi họp về công việc, mình bắt đầu thấy có những điều không ổn… Thôi thì vẫn như mình đã từng trả lời anh kia, dù có ở đâu cũng sẽ cố gắng làm những gì tốt nhất có thể…

Mình thực sự vẫn cần nhiều hơn thời gian để mộng mơ…

Ảnh chụp một buổi chiều Sài Gòn mưa tầm tã tại The Dorm Đồng Khởi. Ảnh do anh Trang Minh Hà chụp.

The best version of you

It’s been a hazy Sunday afternoon today and I couldn’t get lazier. Life has changed a lot since my last blog post and I guess it was written 4 years ago maybe. The feeling is somewhat similar to what you do with a long distance relationship. You had spent so much time apart and you had so much to tell to the other person, but when you actually have the chance to meet and talk again, you simply don’t know where to start.

So what have I been doing over the past few years?

I am still a hotelier, but much different now. Not in a five-star city hotel where everything is just so close and convenient and professional like how much I wish I could have in my recent jobs. Although I do feel like I am going backwards in terms of system and technology but still, I am so glad that I got to see new things, new people, new challenges and finally managed to step out of my comfort zone.

I’ve changed my job twice (2018 and 2019 respectively) and currently moved to Saigon to live and work. Life has been fair to me I guess.

I have decided to go back to university after my first 5 or 6 years of work experience. For me this learning process has been quite complicated as how I find it, sometimes useful, most of the time a waste of time and money, but in the end, you’ll learn something anyway and you’ll hopefully get the degree, sooner or later.

I’ve got to meet new friends and re-united with some long lost ones. The best part, I guess is that I am blessed to be surrounded or under supervision of those who love me, to talk and laugh together during happy moments or to find ways to give me some comfort when I am weak.

“You haven’t changed a bit since we first met”. I have heard this several times from several people. Some told me: “You are still the same person that I met 5 years ago. My response was like: “What do you meant? How would that be possible? That’s not true, I have changed a lot, emotionally and physically, I am prettier, can’t you recognize?” I said jokingly. But obviously some people may perceive you one way while others see you in different way as how you allow them to see you. But for me, I think it’s quite true that I don’t change a lot, my habits, my way of seeing the world and seeing people. I just hope that if I had to change something about myself, that would be for the better, like how I am getting more and more comfortable with being my authentic self and to believe that I am a beautiful lady even with knowing that I do have lots of flaws and silly thoughts. Nevertheless, let’s keep calm and trust the process then, because I believe that the best version of yourself is always the current version of yourself, even when you are happy or when you are sad, when you are strong or vulnerable, there’s always beauty, if you know where to look.

This portrait is one of my favorite shots which was taken recently during my last trip back in Hanoi in July 2020. Some said it was definitely the best version of me while other said they would like to see me more in a natural and gentle form. Well, this is still me, a different version of me. This is just to show that I am capable of changing my style as I how I want to. It’s just the authenticity that I would like to keep for myself and the ones I love and treasure.

Okay that sounds very irrelevant but there’s a guy who keeps starring at me the whole time now as I am sitting in a corner of a coffee shop and writing my first blog post after a long time. Not that I am going to do anything about it, just find it quite amusing.

Saigon, 23 August 2020

Talking to the Moon…

It’s funny how my phone could be instantly filled up with texts and calls and missed calls during day time and almost always in an absolutely silent mode at night. It actually makes sense because I set my phone on ‘airplane’ mode every single night… So that I won’t get disturbed while sleeping because of unnecessary notifications/the light and everything. And so that I wouldn’t have to wait for someone to text me or call…

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I’ve got in to an extreme case I guess. That guy who has plenty of problems but why can’t I just forget… It’s been to the third year already and I don’t think I can forget that person. I don’t know why it’s come to this. I should have forgotten him just like anybody else. I know I will but when?

Not that I keep holding on to him. I have let him go and completely let go of him too. If this is not love then I don’t know what it is… Addiction perhaps?

Who said we would never get the best out of everything? I am sure I did. And I think I am right. No matter what it is and how life turns out to be… I think I will just be fine. Isn’t that always true? Then I can say… Yes it is okay not to go back in time and make a wish that we could be together. I cannot hate you and I won’t. I think loved you (but not to dead) and it was just enough that I wish you all the best in life, even if it means we’re never getting back together. I want you to be happy – And as much as I would like to have my own freedom, I want to set you free to go after what you want in life.

Thank you for being a great part of my youth. And thank you for all what you’ve done, because I know, if this wasn’t because of you, because of me and because of us, I wouldn’t have become who I am today.

Goodbye!

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 🙂

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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…  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…”

Cammy

Ordinary

never

I allow myself to confess some of my weak moments today. Well this is still my world isn’t it? I’ve been thinking of someone and still thinking of that person today. It’s the man who said something to me that got stuck on my mind for months. He said we were not normal. And he said our relationship was not normal for one reason and for many other reasons… But why, I wonder, it only appeals to me that we are just so ordinary? Because if we were not normal, we would have overcome all of those common obstacles. We know it’s not easy and I never thought it was easy. But mister, have you ever ever thought back on the reason why you started all this? And the reason why we started all this?

Maybe none of that matters to you now. It’s a bit unfair because I’m just a little too not over you. I know there will definitely be a day that I will completely forget about you and the day when my heart can actually get settled. People say “Do not give up on someone you can’t go a day without thinking about”. I don’t know why they could even say something like that. Have you ever seen a person who claps with only one hand? I guess not…

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. 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.  And I guess the most exciting part is when people start to question whether I originally come from a region where the song that I sing 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:

22

One friend of mine gave me this book as a gift once we went to a bookstore together, by the time I was 22 years old and a few months.

22

I did not believe in this book – like many other cases I often read on the newspapers as I think the authors simply select some special cases and coincidences then trying to relate them into reality. Brad Dunn’s When They Were 22 tells stories of many famous celebrities and their fateful events and choices that they made at all important age of 22. It was when Oprah Winfrey dropped out of college to become a newsreader in Nashville, and at 22 she moved to Baltimore to work at a station where she started her own talk show. Or like how Jack White had his own upholstery business at age 22, but while practicing the guitar he asked his wife, Meg, to try the drums and because he liked her playing so much, they began performing as a two-piece band, the White Stripes.

Brad concluded that most of us can point to one or two moments in our lives when everything changed, when a stroke of fate forever altered the future, or a single decision sparked a lifetime of consequences. It happened to many of those famous people when their lives changed forever at 22 than any other age. I did not want to believe in that, however, I am here today, one day before I turn 23, I have proved myself wrong and yes in the 22nd of your life, there is so much to talk about.

It’s the age that I realised there is no right – no wrong – no rules for me, I will just live, learn, work, love and experience. And I realised that: 

Everyone crosses your path by a mean, not by accident. And I am so glad that they’ve come to be part of my life – Many have cherished me with joy and love – I think of them as the greatest gifts and some gave me the lessons.

It is so important to have faith in life and in people just to make it easier every time you breath. I know it is not easy to trust people and trust is not something that you can easily give to everybody. But I also know, if you don’t trust anybody, never expect yourself even once to be trusted by other people, either. It was the first thing I learned from my Business Ethics class: Treat people the way you want to be treated, it’s simple as that.

I learned that escaping is never a solution. It has come to time that I think I needed to walk away from my home country; from the company that I am working at; from all the dramas and chaos of life that I have created myself. I just need to face it, every single one.

I don’t need a master’s degree. I know it’s always good if I have one – but what if I don’t? I guess it doesn’t really matter. It will only be dangerous when you stop learning… On top of that, I’ve still been applying almost every single lesson that I learned from my bachelor studies into my work & life and still have not been able to use them all yet…

ROE (Return On Experience) can be far more important than ROI (Return On Investment), and I am at the age that I will just need to learn, travel and experience.

Always tell the truth, so that I won’t have to remember what I said yesterday or the day before…

Everybody can be replaced so don’t ever take things for granted.

Breathing is important. Sometimes I know people are too busy and forget to breath.

At the age of 22, I am proud that: 

I can live in almost entire areas and I know I will be fine no matter what I do. I accept me for who I am, and I am glad of the person I have become. I don’t compare myself with anybody, I don’t compare my job to other people’s jobs. I know I am beautiful the way I am.

I might not be the smartest one in love, I’m not sure if we could find someone who is, but I do believe that no matter what decision I make in life, as long as I am an independent person and have a good will to live, I am always going to be okay.

I have decided what I wanted to do when I am 23, 24 and maybe for the rest of my life:

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