2019 và các cuộc đi – rong ruổi xa xăm rồi cũng lại quay về

các cuộc đi

seattle,wa – sgn

sgn – hàn quốc – seattle, wa — hành trình dài gần 2 ngày trời 🙂

bham – tulsa, OK và quay về

bham – san juan island bằng ferry

seattle, wa – bham, wa – vancouver, bc – san jose, ca – durham, nc – somewhere in sc – houston, tx – sgn, vn

dalat, vn trên những chuyến xe giờ nghĩ lại chỉ biết cười thôi

manila, cebu, moalboal, the philippines đặt lộn vé máy bay ^^ nhưng vẫn được yêu thương 🙂 đi xe máy và lần đầu đi lặn

quay lại bham bằng sân bay vancouver, bc

từ hôm quay lại tới giờ thì mình có những hành trình nho nhỏ như đi portland, or ngay sau chuyến bay dài và là lần đầu thử món ấn độ

đi birchbay, đi seattle, đi lynden

cứ đi vậy chứ không ở yên một chỗ được

và mình đang suy nghĩ về việc tuần sau có nên đi vancouver, bc hay không

và một kỳ nghỉ giáng sinh dài 3 tuần đang gần tới

những chuyến đi của năm 2019 chưa kết thúc được đâu

nếu mình sống sót trở về (và mình biết chắc là mình sẽ sống sót trở về)

thì cái list này sẽ gồm cả

seattle, wa – chicago, il bằng train

chicago, il – boston, ma bằng trai

boston, ma – nyc, ny bằng train

mùa đông ở bờ đông chắc là lạnh cóng

và qua ngày đầu tiên của 2020 sẽ là một chương mới với những câu chuyện khác

để nhớ và để kể lại

cũng như hôm nay mình bỗng sợ sẽ quên hết những câu chuyện trên đường

nên mình viết ra

About d-a-n-c-e, and my stubbornness

I ran. From the waiting room onto the back stage of Mount Baker Theater. My performance will be in three…two…one…

I was on the mat. Staring at the ceiling and listening closely to the music for the signal to sit up and move. I had done this many times now. One… two… three… turn… five… six… seven… split…

That winter, the message of my lyrical expression performance was decolonizing beauty standard. Being on the mat means being tied to social expectations on girls and women – beautiful, smart, perfect, and obedient. I left the stage without the mat on my hands, knowing that not only in dance but in real life, I am more than just what others think I am capable of.

But the story of giving up my mat started long before that night at Mount Baker Theater.

The summer before, I spent much time thinking about the one thing that if I wouldn’t try, I would soon regret, and that was dancing – to move with music and be on a team assisting each other in performance and in life. As spontaneous as I had always been, I signed up for dance lessons at a local dance company.

However, the challenge became real on my very first day. As I followed Google Maps to dance campus, I realized that it was located on a highway, and the only way to get there was by personal vehicle. There was no bus, and walking was too dangerous. Excitement was replaced with disappointment, and for the first time I doubted I was meant to be there. The second day was not better as I took a different route. This route was more accessible, but it was a 5-mile walking distance. The winter was dark and cold. I was a college student with nothing but tiredness from school and the desire to do something I had always dreamt of, and it seemed that nothing was working out well. My heart shrunk. Should I really have given up?

My third attempt turned out well because I finally got to dance class on time. I saw the brightness of that place with little kids in ballet costumes running around, and without even knowing anyone there, I felt belonged. I was ready to do stretches and do whatever it took to dance. But that was just the beginning. Dancing turned out to demand more than what I had – I could be flexible, but I couldn’t spin across the room without falling halfway. I could well memorize things, but I failed to turn or leap when needed to. Other students seem to be in their comfort zone. Me? I was close to my danger zone.

I was persistent, though. As an independent individual who has done most things by myself, I had to learn to be more comfortable in asking for help, and I received overwhelming care. Friends were willing to give me rides to dance, and while I still had nights walking home (in tears, honestly), there were parents at dance who would drop me off either at the bus stop or at my house.

With dancing, I asked my teacher to take videos of us in class, and every weekday between my commitments at school, I would rewind those videos and did those same movements countless of times – until my body was sore but my heart felt satisfied. For the first time, I didn’t aim for perfection – unlike how I always worked hard for 100% on exams or compliments. I learned to be brave.

I was brave to walk for more than an hour at night to and from dance class. I was brave to throw myself in a new community with people who had danced for their lifetime. I was brave to try endless dance movements until I got them right, taking bruises as accomplishments rather than evidence of imperfection. Time flew. Eventually I could get my costume and be on-stage – for rehearsal and for performance nights.

I ran, from the stage to outside of the Theater. My roommate would pick me up soon. I looked up at the tower, the symbol of Bellingham, and for once I wished to do it all over again. To experience the mix of joy, disappointment, and satisfaction. Of loneliness for knowing no one there. A sense of loved and of belonged for receiving helps from whoever knew my story. The mat was dropped. I wasn’t beautiful when walking and crying on the side of the road. I wasn’t smart because it took me countless attempts to do a dance move that took others five minute. I was neither perfect nor obedient. I broke the rules and I played the game my way.

“It is rare to see young people nowadays to work so hard for their dreams, and by seeing what you have gone through to dance, I believe you can do so much more in the future,” as my dance teacher said at the end of our time together.

The Glass Castle — Jeannette Walls: every person has a past that matters

“In the months that followed, I found myself always wanting to be somewhere other than where I was. If I was at work, I’d wish I were at home. If I was in the apartment, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. If a taxi I had hailed was stuck in traffic for over a minute, I got out and walked. I felt best when I was on the move, going someplace rather than being there….”

What keeps you alive? A person whom you love — perhaps a family you grow up in, a friend, or a spouse? A place to be — your home, or your hometown? A goal achieved — to graduate on time, to explore the world, or to settle down? What keeps you alive?

For me, I don’t know, because right now I don’t feel as alive as I would love to. Beside the facts than days are getting shorter, they also become dull. Nothing much more than checking things off the list. I want to be on the move. I want to keep moving, except that doesn’t help me as much as I expect it to be.

The Glass Castle doesn’t have anything to do with a physical gorgeous glass castle, nor with princes and princesses, nor with any kinds of luxury. Indeed, it was a continuous adventure of a family from the deserts to mountains and then to New York City. A family with a mom escaping responsibilities of raising a family and a dad who was an alcoholic.

Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. The Walls kids didn’t choose to be on an adventure. Not when the family had no money and the one reason to be on the move was to escape debts brought about by their drunk dad. The Walls kids didn’t choose to live up the mountain in West Virginia where layers of jackets couldn’t help in a house of no heater. Where there was no running water. Where there was a backyard filled with trash for there was not enough money to pay the fee of getting rid of garbage. Where there were eyes settling on wrong places on a girl’s body, and hands that made them fight. The Walls kids didn’t choose to live such lives. But they did, and they managed to get out of it.

Resilience perhaps is the glass castle that those kids built up over the years. I was most impressed and moved to tears when reading about how Jeannette saved up money for not only herself but her siblings to move to New York to have a different life. Yes, she worked hard for the money, but when she got robbed, by the dad who was too drunk to make money, it was resilience that made her keep going.

What keeps them alive? On the adventure, the glass castle that Jeannette dad had always promised gave them hope. But when disappointment filled in from time to time, what then?

Jeannette Walls’ husband believed that every interesting person has a past. I’d say every person has a past that matters. So much that they all have to be written down. Jeannette reminds me of how the past doesn’t define one, but it builds one up. The glass castle is the one that is inside each of the Walls kids, the story of homelessness, of starvation, of hopelessness, yet they all transformed into gorgeousness because the kids were loyal to each other, and despite however flawed the parents can be, there was still love that fueled.