The halting decrescendo of the urban symphony pulsating through the city’s streets abruptly faded into a deafening silence following the confinement order. The bustling whir that once animated my day-to-day has temporarily given way to an achingly muted solitude. As we all retreated to our respective nests, the quiet stillness reverberated throughout the confines of my home. I tried to drown out the hushed air with music and the sounds from my own routine movements, but eventually the murmur of my own voice eclipsed all else.
As I became increasingly immersed in French culture, I eventually succumbed to their inimitable art de vivre, a way of living that invites one to unapologetically indulge hedonistic desires. This ethos also carries over into the workplace, giving the French the luxury to do lunch as lunch should be done.
No matter how hungry I was, I always dreaded the lunch period during elementary and middle school. It was either unpalatable food stuff processed beyond recognition, whose quality was on par with a meal that I had in a Texas prison. Or, it was leftovers that my mom packed for us. Neither alternative was appealing to me at the time. As much as I loved my mom’s cooking, eating then unknown Vietnamese dishes while my classmates nibbled on their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was excrutiatingly embarrassing.
This post is a short one because I didn’t have much free time to write this week. I finally buckled down and spent a considerable amount of time working on my master’s thesis. My ideas are finally starting to crystallize and I made quite a bit of headway. I didn’t, however, want to abandon this series after only one week into it. Though this one is brief, I have another post in the works about a classic Vietnamese dish. So stay tuned next week!
I should be working on my master’s thesis, but I decided instead to create a weekly blog series. Too much of the same routine can lead to stagnation, so I wanted to throw something different into the mix (as well as concoct new ways to procrastinate). I haven’t quite figured out exactly what this series will entail, but I would like it to serve as a space for sharing interesting stories that I come across, most likely those with a food bent. In a recent post, I wrote about how my attention span has increasingly dwindled and how I would like to veer away from simple drive-by information consumption. By sharing interesting stories, I’m hoping to spark discussion and deeper reflection around these topics.
Generations before me fled in droves from a war ravaged Việt Nam over 30 years ago following the fall of Saigon. The country was shrouded in panic and confusion during the final hours of the war as the Americans pulled out. In the midst of the mayhem, people in South Việt Nam scrambled to leave the country, which was the debut of a decade-long mass exodus. My mom and her family were among the fortunate ones who left by plane days before the borders closed after the south surrendered to the north. Many others left by boat and embarked on harrowing journeys at sea, where hundreds of thousands perished. Those who were lucky enough to survive the perilous journey settled in countries in all corners of the world.
When I was a kid, time seemed to have no end and waiting for anything felt like an eternity. Now, every passing year seems to come to an end more quickly than the blink of an eye. Already, this month five years ago, France became my new home country. A new chapter in my life was beginning, yet I was unprepared in every sense of the word for what was ahead of me. I had mistakenly assumed that migrating from one Western country to another would be a smooth transition. I was, however, in for a rude awakening.