Nhà Phương chuyển đi rồi, nhưng mình và bố nhiều lúc vẫn còn nhắc mãi. Nhắc những lúc cô Nhàn bưng bát canh bầu nấu ngao nóng hổi sang cho. Nhắc những thăng trầm của nhà Phương đã qua nhẹ bẫng như chưa từng nhờ bao nhiêu vun vén, lạc quan, nỗ lực, thương yêu.

Nhìn gương mặt sáng ngời của Phương, mình không khỏi ngưỡng mộ thầm. Mình nhớ những giọt nước mắt quằn quại của Phương lúc trượt Đại học; mình nhớ những lúc Phương kèm cặp các em học hành, quán xuyến việc nhà khi mẹ ốm để càng trân trọng hơn những vui tươi, tự tin, hiểu biết của Phương bây giờ, vì mình biết rõ Phương đã đi được một chặng đường xa chừng nào, gian nan chừng nào. Phương bắt đầu nghiêm túc học tiếng Anh từ hồi Đại học, vậy mà giờ đã được 7.5 IELTS và trở thành ở một cô giáo làm cùng trung tâm với mình. Lại còn tốt nghiệp đại học loại xuất sắc nữa. Bố bảo Phương giỏi giang như thế cũng là nhờ có một người mẹ nhân hậu như cô Nhàn.

Có lần Phương nói thấy may mắn vì có một người hàng xóm như mình. Không đâu Phương ạ, phải là the other way around.



Such a great word to say, with the gentle curl of your lips, and with the echo of the French accent that eases your soul.

Whenever I say the word, I picture inside my head a gorgeous ballerina on the tips of her toes. Everything about her is meant to keep the perfect equilibrium. Everything is just right: the ankle of her elbow, the tilt of her head,  and the balance of her chin.

Balance is the ultimate beauty, I think. I find it more often in older women – those who understand the fragility of happiness and find pain just another mere fact of life. Somehow poise is not just about how you maintain that perfect balance on the tips of your toes. Poise traces more under the surface, to the core inside which defines you as you are.

I remember one Japanese writer who compared young girls who are lack of balance to “the soul of a spoon”. I like that, a lot.


I see “the poise” in Katie Holmes, and I think Suri handles herself beautifully thanks to her. (For a day when stupid magazines dish Suri.)

The real tough bitch and the weird guy I used to know

I had lunch with my colleagues at a nice restaurant run by former Masterchef contestants today, and our conversation somehow swirled around M.N – the Masterchef who owns a famous bread branch with a rumor-has-it revenue of about 40 billion VN for the year 2014. I told my friends what I heard about M.N, that she was a real tough bitch back in college. My roommate was in the same class with M.N, and she couldn’t shut up about her, about how she showed off her crankiness without any slightest intention to ease it out and how she stood out in class, arrogantly like a peacock. I graduated with a vague idea of what I am going to do with my life and not many names and faces in my memory, but I’m quite sure that M.N was there, among those names and faces, labelling: a real tough bitch. Little did I know that only 2 years later, she would be once again in the spotlight, only on a bigger stage this time. I was in the middle of my stories when all out of my expectation, one of my colleagues told me: “That’s why she’s there, and you are, well, here.” I shut up immediately ‘cause it really hit me with the god damn truth.

A few weeks ago, a college friend of mine shared a picture of a young successful entrepreneur on our facebook group, and like everybody else in my class I remember him well. He’s the weird guy I used to know, back in military camp. He used to have a crush on one of my roommates, and even stole somewhere a lousy rose to come to my dorm room asking her out. In front of us mischievous young girls who really intentionally humiliated him with our sour tongues and blunt mouths! I remember laughing so hard at him, a weirdo with sluggish style and flabby hair.

It dawned on me. The real tough bitch and the weird guy I used to laugh at both possess some qualities I used to neglect. I used to think that they only showed off themselves back then, with the mere excitement of being recognized and being admired that every single teenager experiences during the most troublesome years of their life. Little did I see beyond the surface, to realize the sparkles of potentials from these kids. On retrospect, it’s so brave to be a real tough bitch and to be a weird guy. While I tried to hide my personalities in order to blend in, to be accepted, and to secure a place among birds of feather, they courageously stepped out, taking full responsibility for their actions, being true to who they are, and asking honestly for what they want. Outrageous fellows might not be warmly received at first, yet if they are willing to put hard work to what they believe in, you will see a swan growing out from the ugly duckling you used to know.


See yourself with your own eyes

We live among a sea of people. Each of them look at you, yet they only see some of your facets. I think, it is important to see yourself with your own eyes, and be highly aware of the fact that you are a diamond, sparkling with so many facets.

You are precious. You are unique. You are multi-faceted.

Not everyone around you would bother spending more than a couple of minutes of their day thinking about you. Not everyone would dedicate their time looking further into yourself to really know you and understand you. However, they will be so generous scattering comments about you here and there to overwhelm others with a miserably distorted version of you. Don’t trust them. Don’t let that distorted version become a mold to shape you. You have the right and an obligation to yourself: the right to live truly and the obligation to truly live. Their comments should be no other than flashes of refection through which you complete yourself.

I know, we live among a sea of people for some reasons. You cannot build an oasis of your own and isolate yourself there. An oasis would always remain so lonely surrounded by endless deserts. Be a tree in the forest, branch by branch, sheltering and being sheltered. Be a star in the galaxy, gravity by gravity, orbiting and being orbited. We should see ourselves with our own eyes and know ourselves with our own heart, but we should also see our reflection in others’ eyes and know our place in others’ heart. After all, the one who really cares, completes you!