Practicing simplicity

A line from “Bridge of spies” really struck me: “Would it help?”

Particularly, it goes like:

James Donovan: I have a mandate to serve you. Nobody else does. Quite frankly, everybody else has an interest in sending you to the electric chair.

Rudolf Abel: All right…

James Donovan: You don’t seem alarmed.

Rudolf Abel: Would it help?

Since then, I ask myself that question whenever I’m about to make a fuss. It really helps.

Something like:

OMG. I’m having a total new class tonight. I’m not sure they’re gonna like me. What if they are not interested in studying? What if their levels vary so much? What if … blah blah blah

Would it help? Shut up, keep calm and prepare the lesson plan. That helps.

OMG. I love this dress so much. Though it doesn’t go really well with many items in my wardrobe, I think it would make me look fancy on special occasions such as my friend’s wedding next week. Plus, it’s 50% off.

Would it help? No, of course it wouldn’t. It does not help your capsule wardrobe, at all.

OMG. My friends all seem to go on so well with their life. I mean they travel, they study abroad, they get promoted, they get married to awesome people, they have amazing kids. I’m in the middle of nowhere.

Would it help? You’re juggling your 2 jobs, your study and your relationships. You should focus on your life. That helps.

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Better behind closed doors

People all look nice in public.

They dress so well.

They post or share their best images on social media.

But who they really are, behind closed door?

I think I will go first. Looking at me, people think I’m a gentle and good girl. But I’m not.

I rarely do housework. I often go home late, so my sister does everything. She cooks dinner. I eat, and put the dishes in the sink. For her to wash the next day. How irresponsible!

My room is such a mess. I have a huge bookshelf that is about to crash one day. I have piles of paper on my working desk, and I don’t even move my fingers to tidy them up. Worst of all, I often leave home without doing my bed. Nasty, huh?

I’m very lazy. And messy. That’s me. Behind closed doors.

I know a guy at work. Technically, he’s my boss. If you go thorough his facebook, you’ll be impressed. He travels a lot to fancy places. He meets important people from time to time. He sometimes shares smiling pictures of him, seemingly loved by friends and respected by colleagues.

I only know him behind closed doors of my office. He’s a jack-ass. Everybody hates him.

If I want to be a better human-being, everything starts with me – behind closed doors. Things don’t need to be huge, like learning a new language or going to the gym.

Just do my dishes and my bed.

Just that.

Repelling the fast fashion

I’ve had a very unhealthy habit of spending too much time to scroll through pages and pages, staring in awe at celebrities’ street styles. I know thanks to people like me that ferocious paparazzi thrive, yet I couldn’t stop it. Looking at those effortless beauties camoflaging in endless covers of tremendously overwhelming ranges of colors and textures usually brings me satisfaction – the eye-gasm should I call it?

I like Kristen Stewart – she’s so bad-ass-ly and effortlessly gorgeous!

I like Emma Stone – she’s such an American sweetheart!

emma stone aloha

Lily Aldridge is on the list, of course!

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I’m also into the Gigi – Kendall fever.

Kendall-Jenner-casual-street-style

Gigi-Hadid-casual-street-style

What I don’t know is that the constant exposure to the dazzling and polished images of stars somehow unawarenessly makes me feel like I’m always in need of more clothes to see myself shining in a different spectrum of light.

For example, when I see some cool image like this on the magazine, I would be driven to go hunt for the look, expecting to be seen under the same glow:

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Luckily, I ran into the 10-item wardrobe Ted-talk of Jennifer Scott where she introduced the idea of maintaining a wardrobe focusing more on quality rather than quantity (You can watch it here). I then decluttered my wardrobe, and ended up with 2 huge bags of unwanted, low quality and used-to-be-trendy clothing. Sitting among the mess in my crumpled pyjama, I looked through my huge piles of clothing, and examined my items one by one, scornfully reflecting all the horrible purchasing decisions I’ve made. This shirt looked nice, but I threw it away because of a missing button, deeming it too cheap to consider mending it. This pair of jeans was dumped ’cause I bought it out of a whimp, not noticing how uncomfortable it was. I never wear those dresses anymore because they shrunk noticeably after a few washes.

The list goes on.

Then it dawned on me. The ease of buying clothes for instant gratification often lead to the ease of dumping them irresponsibly. I seriously need to repel the fast fashion and abandon the consequential unhealthy consuming habit. Period.

First, slow down in making purchasing decisions.

I will stop buying clothes online. I gradually come to realize that only when trying something on, examining every seam and really feeling the texture will I know for sure if it will be my loyal and trust-worthy companion for the coming days. When I say companion, I really mean that I will stick with it day in, day out, dress it up, dress it down, everything.

I will stop buying clothes from stores who neither clarify the origins of their products nor take credit of the persons who make their clothes. That might mean from now on I can only afford 1 or 2 pieces of clothing per year, but I can definitely live with that.

I will stop buying trendy clothes which will go out of styles in months or even weeks. Investing in fewer clothes means choosing only high-quality, classic and versatile pieces which go well with one another and suit you well for different occasions. By the way, the seemingly limited choices will somehow spur my creativity in styling myself (I was so inspired by Chriselle Lim. You can check out her recommendation for 5 seasonless basics here).

Second, slow down in making dumping decisions.

Having a higher quality wardrobe (and of course, a significantly pricey one) will undoubtedly stretch the time it takes me to decide to throw something away, and will bug me constantly to take better care of my clothes.

Picture this, when you have to hand wash your clothes to make sure they remain in their prime, when you have to really mind where you sit and whether it is rainy that day to make sure your clothes won’t be stained or damaged, you will more than appreciate your clothes, and will take honor to mend them, tailor them, you name it, to make them last longer.

One benefit of buying clothes mindfully is that normally those kinds of stores will offer you free services of mending and tailoring.

One last word (song, actually)

“Slow down, you crazy child

You’re so ambitious for a juvernile …”

It’s such a perfect theme song for my days these days. Picture me, in my simple white dress that you see me wear almost everywhere.

The knife under the warm pile of pillows

Under every warm pile of pillows, there’s a knife.

Every single time I feel like I should relax and take it easy, there would be something that strikes me back to the reality – how not so very professional I am, how not so very cool I am, and how long the way I have to go to be a better me.

I did very well in the working trip to the Netherlands and Finland, but I down – performed in a very casual meeting today.

Anyway, I could take a few notes about how to become an interpreter. First, skills build up slowly, but fade off within a puff. Second, gesturing during the process of interpretation is so darn uncool. Third, being calm and you’ll be taken more seriously.

Being uncomfortable is so much better for me. Now that I realize.

Mỳ tôm in Europe

Sắp đi công tác châu Âu một tuần, và tớ được cảnh báo là thực đơn phần lớn sẽ có mỳ tôm.

Hào nhoáng lắm nhỉ?

Tại sao cứ nói đi công tác là sẽ mặc định là “sướng”?

Tại sao cứ bảo làm nhà nước là sẽ mặc định là “nhàn”?

Làm ơn ngưng phán xét đi ạ!

A little bit of discomfort every day

I try to go against my laziness to folder my documents today. I don’t know why it takes me so damn long to do the easy task. Deep down inside, I’ve always believed that I can do the task whenever I want, which is true, but also ridiculously naive. The truth is: Easy tasks are meant to be carried out at once, or they would remain there until they become such a huge problem to deal with.

A little bit of discomfort every day would do more good than harm.

Housework

  • Don’t ever wait until the sink is full to do the dishes.
  • Don’t ever leave your stove and oven unclean after each cooking. It takes only 5 minutes. Leave the stains uncleaned today, and gnash your teeth to wash them off some days later.
  • Clean your bathroom shelf, your mirror and  your sink every time you take your evening shower. Tips: Spray detergent on the floor and into your toilet, and leave it over night. The next morning job would be so easy peasy.

Relationship

  • Try to catch up with friends and relatives. No need to swing by often. A call or a text message is so damn easy, but most of the time I fail to do that simple courtesy which makes me feel so horrible about myself.

Work

  • Paper will pile up. Beware!!
  • So are assignments.

Health care

  • Health issues arise from accumulated little tit bits. Stick with good habits. Most of them consume only some few minutes of your day. Such as flossing. I’ve been flossing for about 5 years now, and yay me, I feel like a boss!!!!

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