Friday, August 29, 2008


My husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in 1999 with a trip to London and Paris. We started our annual July vacation in New York with my family, then onto London, stayed three days at a hotel in Kensington. The High Street station of the Underground was nearby and we even took the double decker bus to get around the city. We were impressed with the EuroStar (bullet train). It was extremely smooth ride and took only four hours from Waterloo, London to get into Nord, Paris. We visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and most memorable moment was when we just sat on the sidewalk outside Notre Dame Cathedral, sharing a large croissant for a quick breakfast as we were hunger but did not want to miss attending Mass. We flew back to New York from Paris. CP went back to St. Louis while I remained in New York for another week. I purchased a bottle of water at the airport in Paris. It was the long gone world prior to September 11, 2001 so I was able to carry the full bottle thru security. I kept it as a silly reminder of our trip. This week I finally decided that it was time to let go and deposited the bottle into the recycle bin.
In December 1988, when I moved to Grand Haven, Michigan from New York City, I learned to enjoy simple country living. Making baskets was part of that experience. For a few weeks I would meet at a home of a member of the Tri-Cities Welcome Wagon. There were about 10 women, most in their late 50's and 60's. Each week, we made different baskets, with seasonal themes such as Valentine, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. I made the above basket with the color of the Vietnamese flag, the former South Viet Nam with solid red background and three yellow stripes across representing North, Central and South regions of the country. I must clarify that the current Vietnamese Communist flag also has a solid red background with the yellow star in the center. I gave most of the baskets I made to friends and family, some baskets were well made, enough to be given to charity for fundraising. After we moved to St. Louis I did not make any baskets and no longer interested in arts and crafts projects. For now I will keep this basket, just for old time sake!
As I started to sort thru all the clothes in the three closets in the house, I came across the Vietnamese ao dai (photo above) and the Chinese cheong-san (photo below). Ao dai is traditional Vietnamese costume for women, a full length, high necked tunic slit to the waist, worn over black or white satin wide, long pants covering over the feet. My mother took me to a tailor to have the dress made during a visit to New York. My husband took the photo of me standing in front our little house in Grand Haven after my presentation about Viet Nam at a local school. These photos were taken in 1989, back then I was in my youthful age in the late 20's and only weighed 105 lbs. How did I ever fit into these dresses, able to breath, to sit down comfortably and there was room in the middle section! I decided to keep these dresses for now. Perhaps I could donate to the local Asian American Community Center or a school and the students could wear the dresses during a cultural week.

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