Valentine's Sweets

I know that Valentine's was 1.5 weeks ago, but for Valentine's Day this year, I got something special in the mail.

From the sister! In case you couldn't tell, the heart is actually a map of downtown San Francisco! Isn't she awesome?

LeTran! That is me! She even tied it with a piece of pretty twine.

Polka dots and stars! Such perfect folding, too. The paper is this really nice and smooth heavyweight paper. Don't you think it looks kinda like a tie?

Let's see what's inside...

My oh my!

"Dear LeTran"

"7 seas
203 countries
7 continents
8 planets
80 billion galaxies
1 universe
infinite stars..."

"and I had the privilege to meet you."

"Happy Valentine's Day!
You're just plain awesome"

"Love, Baotran"


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Well, kiddo.

I think about how special it is that I get to be your sister everyday.

...and that I get to be your friend always...

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...and that I get to laugh with you...

...and clap with you...

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...share a flowery umbrella with you... (we still have this umbrella, by the way)

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...and have horrible permed hair together...(note to self, never get hair permed ever!)

...because at the end of the day, we'll always be sisters and best friends forever and always!

P.S.: Baotran said that she stole this idea from someone, but I care not! I only care that I got a really cool thing in the mail and that she spent time making it for me!

An Engagement Adventure Part II

Part I had all of the serious ceremonial business and this one will be all about the fun stuff we did!

While the serious ceremony was going on inside, we were goofing off outside and not paying attention to how to get married. "You'll never get married this way, LeTran", Helen would say. Anyhow, I decided that since I was already in traditional garbs, I might as well do an old person pose.

An Engagement Adventure Part I

I have never been savvy with anything marriage related. Especially when it comes to all of the steps of a Vietnamese marriage. There's the "presenting" event, then the engagement ceremony, the "farewell" ceremony for the bride's family, and then the actual wedding! Phew.

1. Presenting event: this is a name I made up for this event, of course. Back in the olden days, when marriages are arranged, this would be the day that the whole groom-to-be's family saunters over to the bride-to-be's family house to take a peek at her. Since there are very few arranged marriages these days, people no longer go through this step.

2. Engagement ceremony: this is when the groom-to-be and his family parade over to the bride-to-be's house and present everyone with gifts such as betel nut and areca leaves (very important because they symbolize marriage and stuff), roasted pork, sticky rice, wine, and some other stuff that I don't remember. Basically, it's an event to request the bride-to-be's family for her hand in marriage. I imagine back in the day, it would be pretty funny to parade over and then the female's family would go "NO CAN HAZ MAH DAUGHTER! GO AWAY!"

3. Farewell ceremony: if the marriage proposal is accepted, this would be the night before the wedding when the bride-to-be say good bye to her family. There would be crying and giving of jewelries, and educating the bride on how to have sex, etc. I'm kidding about the last one, but it could very well be true!

4. Actual wedding: too complicated with so many steps that I don't know so I'm not even going to bother explaining this one.

Anyhow, my friend, whom I knew since 6th grade, decided to marry her long time boyfriend. So, I was invited to attend her engagement ceremony to be one of the females accepting gifts from the groom-to-be's family. Yup. I had an actual job at this thing!

Started with a decorated house to let the groom-to-be's family know where to go or else they would be asking for the wrong girl to marry their son. Hah!

The Move Part III

I woke up at 6 am to unpack because I am crazy! I still have the kitchen left to do. It is waiting for cabinet liners.

The cleaned up bedroom! I basically don't have anything in there. Decorations will have to wait.

What a difference since last time, eh? Helen said that I need a cat sleeping on the bed to complete the bedroom set. I agree.

I do not know why there are so many mirrors at my new apartment, two in the bedroom, one in the hallway, and two in the bathroom. The person who lived there before me must really like to see himself naked or something.

The half-way unpacked kitchen.

The couch that is in serious need of cleaning.

A bookcase.

Another bookcase.

This is the view from my fire escape.

That's it for now, folks! I shall update on the flaky internet story any decorating story.

The Move Part II - The Quest for Internet

Oh, internet, why do you like to toy with my heart? AT&T called and said I should have internet on the Feb 10th at 8 pm. I got home at 10 pm, and tried to set up my internet.

Do you like my new office? It's in the kitchen. It's there because the phone jack and the power outlet is next to the sink. What? I tried to set up the internet and did everything they told me. Alas, nothing was working! As in turned out, the old phone jack was rusted and all of the copper wires were oxidized.

By some miracles, I found a brand new phone jack among the bathroom stuff and managed to installed it. Hoorah! Internet!

While setting up the internet, I had the stove next to me so I made some eggs and ate it with a bit of salt and pepper flakes. I hadn't unpack the dishes yet, so I ate it out of my cast iron pan. I am the definition of classy.

The Move Part I

I finally made a move from Berkeley to San Francisco! Now I can pretend to be an urban hipster with skinny jeans and hoodies.

Here are all of my stuff packed up and ready to go!

The new apartment is on the 2nd floor and the building doesn't have an elevator. That means, for every box of stuff that I had, I had to run up and down the stairs every time. So exhausting. My legs got the work out of their lives.

Here's the new tiny kitchen.

The unpacked bedroom. Wow, what a mess!

The new bathroom had this really ugly curtain.

So my sister got me new curtain! Isn't it cool? Helen used to have the same shower curtain, too! ...and so did Brendan. I suppose we all love our little world.

Duckie also moved with me. I got him from the Contra Costa Water Department during one of the career fairs. Besides not getting jobs at career fairs, I like to pick up free stuff like Duckie here, and random tiny plastic cones.

The first morning at the new apartment, I woke up with wonderful hair!

I turned on the water, washed my face, went to turn off the water and...the wonderful faucet handle broke into pieces! I was very strong! Just kidding, the faucet handle was so dirty with rust everywhere. It was disgusting. Since it broke, I couldn't turn the water off!

But don't worry, I was clever, I took off the handle on the cold water side and stuck it on the hot water side and all was well again.

Of course, I called the landlord and demanded new handles! Don't worry, I also cleaned up the faucet. No more disgusting grimes.

There was also a giant gap, approximately 1/4", under my door so the cold breeze came to visit very often. Until I had a chance to visit Home Depot, I used my dirty moving jeans as a temporary weather strip.

On a side note, I realized that I have a lot of perfume. I must be really stinky.