29 April, 2020

Yes! #AtoZChallenge

What have you been saying "Yes!" to during this lockdown, when we are denied so many things we are used to?

Personally, I find that I have said Yes to reading. In the past month and a half I have finished 4 books, made progress in a long one that I have going, and I'm due to finish a re-read of Hamlet before April is out. That's pretty quick for me, because I tend to put writing time before reading.

I have said Yes to naps. This is not wholly unusual, but I'm doing it with greater frequency these days. Maybe I'm not sleeping as well at night, but still - Naps!

I am saying Yes to language study. I'm learning both Vietnamese and Mandarin. I have been for a while, but I'm more in the mood to study. Not much more, but my attitude about it is better, anyway.

What about you? Any new or renewed Yesses in your new normal?

28 April, 2020

eXiTS #AtoZChallenge

I recently asked if you have any games you regularly play on your phone.

I tend to stick with puzzle-type games, but I like to keep at least one nonsense, brain-relaxing game on my phone. 

Recently I came across a new game - and this is NOT a sponsored post - called "EXiTS". It appeared to be puzzle-y, but more fun. It's about eXiting from a place. Each game is a new location, with new puzzles to figure out. Good for a puzzler, right?

No. I mean, it's intriguing, and I've played it daily since I downloaded it, but I need to use the hints in almost every puzzle.

I do sudoku, crosswords, "brain" games... but this one stumps me all the time. Like there will be a robot with a triangle, square and circle on his chest, and you need to remember the order or position, because sooner or later you will find a box whose lock needs to be tapped in the order of the shapes. Very weird.

Well, I'm still playing it, and since eXits has an "X" and begins with the right sound, I'm borrowing it for my X post. 

Not necessarily advocating this game unless you love brain-teasers. I'll be very intrigued to see how everyone else filled their "X" requirement!

27 April, 2020

Who are We? #AtoZChallenge

I shared this meme in my R post on resolutions:

It got me thinking, what are my priorities now? What does matter? How am I acting on that? Who, really, am I? I have reinvented myself several times, but what is at the core of Who I am? 

Can you answer that question about yourself? Who are you?

I can give you list of roles I play: wife, daughter, sister, employer, employee... I've had many roles. But that's not Who I am, that's what I am. 

I've saved several different soul-searching info-graphics to my pinterest board, chock-full of introspective questions - useful and not-so-useful - like:
  • What do my dreams tell me?
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
  • What does my ideal day look like?
Like I said, some useful questions, some not very. 

Who am I? I am confused. I have strengths and weaknesses. I am not a job, by any means. I couldn't even tell you what I "really want" out of life, because the parameters - not of what's feasible, but even of what appears desirable - changes constantly.

Who am I? I'm a person. That's kind of it. Everything else is just an appearance of a type.

Who are you? Am I alone in feeling a bit like a blank slate of a person? I mean, at the core, ignoring the roles and personas we take on, Who, really, are we?

26 April, 2020

Volume #AtoZChallenge

As I was dropping an ice cube in my glass of beer the other day, I wondered if the ice changed the "ABV"% for my beer. That "alcohol by Volume" is a good standard gauge, and it's used worldwide.

In China, the cheap-crap wine I found had a higher Volume of alcohol than the "good" wines I drank in the States, but never left me with a headache in the morning. Awesome! The common beers in China had a lower Volume than the microbrews I typically favor. Which is good, because people drank them ALL the time.

In Vietnam, the typical beers everyone drinks, and pours over ice at every family gathering - and keeps pouring and pouring so that no one really knows how much they've been drinking - have low ABV.

We've started buying beer by the case. Only we're metric, so a case is 20 500ml bottles. (They have cases of 24 330ml cans, too.) 

I have recently discovered that I can get three small glasses of beer out of one bottle, if I pour it into a small mug and put ice in it. It's not that I love beer so much, but we drink SO MUCH water - tropics, you know, it's necessary - that it's nice to break it up. And honestly, buying beer is cheaper than buying juice or soda.

I mentioned that I wondered how the ice affected the Volume of alcohol percentage, but I really don't care enough to look it up. I know that I'm not drinking too much when I water it down.

This subject loosely ties in to my "Covid-19" theme, as I keep seeing jokes on social media about how much more everyone is drinking now that we're not going anywhere: day-drinking, stress-drinking, virtual happy hours. I am not immune. I do feel like the "rules" about drinking no longer exist. But am I drinking more? If it's watered down? I don't know. I really don't care, either.

What about you? What has been your go-to beverage of choice while stuck at home? (Alcoholic or not.)

24 April, 2020

Undead #AtoZChallenge

Anyone else exhausted from doing nothing?

In trying to think of a "U" word that fit the way I'm feeling today, "Undead" seemed the most applicable. I wake up with ambition. (I mean, not too much, let's be real.) But pretty soon I'm lying down again. 

Don't judge. I live in a tropical country. The whole place basically shuts down for two hours in the peak heat of the day.

Still. My energy never returns. Basically, if I don't do something in the morning, it's not getting done. I'm Undead by early afternoon. Since it's nearly 4pm at this moment, I really don't want to write much, so instead I'll share a suitable song. 

Personally, I prefer the Whiffenpoofs a capella version of "Re: Your Brains", but can't find a video version of it. This is still good ... well, the animation isn't, but listen to the words. Hilarious. Please enjoy a very funny song about the Undead.

23 April, 2020

Travel #AtoZChallenge

One of the first changes we made when we realized Covid-19 was going to have a huge impact on the whole world, was changing our Travel plans.

After I returned from my nephew's funeral in September, Brett said he had been thinking that we should plan a longer trip to the US for the summer. Time to see all of our family in happier settings. He knew that Traveling alone all that way, for such a heavy event, was hard on me, and we need to have intentional "this may be the last time we see you" visits. 

Then, my sister died, and we both Traveled to the US for that. It made it even more important for us to plan a trip for fun. 

We wanted to Travel in June. I usually start tracking airfares about three months in advance, and watch for price fluctuations. That was March. 

All Hell broke loose during that month, and we looked at each other and agreed. "We can't make this trip in June." Optimistically, I thought maybe October would be an alternative. My niece is getting married that month, and although we hadn't intended to make the trip, if we can't go in June, why not do it then? 

Now, however, unless things change in how America handles this pandemic, I don't think Traveling there will be wise. Even if the US opens its borders, that doesn't make every other airport we would travel through safe. With a US passport, we can go there anytime. But we live in Vietnam. Before completely closing our borders, Vietnam issued a list of nationalities that would not be allowed in. That was early on. China, Korea, Italy, UK... countries that were hit hard at that point were denied entry.

Even as the US began showing more cases of Covid-19, we were not on the list. (There was a lot of grumbling among expats about that preferential treatment, I can tell you!) Now, no international flights are coming in, and even domestic travel is heavily regulated. (Changing cities may result in 14 day quarantine, so only go if you MUST!) My guess is, as Vietnam eventually re-opens borders, they will do so gradually, with lists of acceptable and unacceptable passport countries. 

I expect that, with the current trend of this disease in the US, even in October*, the US may be in a questionable state. We will not leave if we can't return to our home.

*Because to Travel there, I need to get tickets early. It's not a trip you take on a whim, just walking into the airport and expecting a seat on a plane. So if we want to Travel in October, I'll need to start planning by the end of July. Hmm...

We're thinking June, 2021 sounds like a good time to Travel.

What trips will you take when you feel able to do so?

22 April, 2020

Statistics #AtoZChallenge

When I was in college, I was surprised to find that the course called "Statistics" fell under the banner of the Psychology department. I remember thinking "Aren't Statistics numbers?"

I never took the class, but I learned a lot about Statistics in a graduate course on research methods. Statistics, when considered for research, are a scientific tool. However, the presentation of Statistics often appears to be psychologically driven. Accentuate the part you want to draw attention to. The perception can change depending on how you say it.

Statistics are purest without a spin doctor. Here is a pure Statistic: 
On April 21, the US had 25,985 new cases of Covid-19. (Vietnam had 0.)

<All Statistics herein come from THIS website.>

Some people will look at that Statistic and think how great it is that the number is going down. (The day before was 28,123.) YES! That is good. It's progress. In my opinion, it is small progress, but the Statistic is... progress.

The number of new cases per day seems to be leveling out around 20-30k. But each day's new cases are piled onto the those remaining from before. 

On April 21, the US had 690,503 total active cases, up from 677,856 the day before. The number of active cases is still on the rise. 

I check that website  daily, just a quick peek at the world, and my home in Vietnam. (We are 5 days with no new cases. Bars and restaurants can re-open tomorrow.)

I see Statistics being spun all over the news. I don't listen. I look at them myself. 

To look at a more personal Statistic and my personal views on it...

When my sister died - wow, 3 months ago already! - it was ruled a heart attack. She now joins the Statistic of female deaths from heart attack. Known to be the leading cause of death for women in the US.

Certainly her heart stopped beating. But there was no autopsy. Her cardiologist had given her a clean bill of health just a week prior to her death. Was he wrong? How did she really die? Was it, in fact, a freak heart attack? We will never know, but to the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, and everyone involved in fundraising for heart disease, she is now one of theirs.

It doesn't really matter. She's dead. And that's why there was no autopsy. Does it matter? 

Regardless, I guess my point is: Be careful what you pay attention to. Numbers can be painted in various colors. Don't believe a meme. Look it up. Or, if you can't be bothered to check it, at least don't spread it!

Resolutions #AtoZChallenge

Did you make a New Year's Resolution for 2020?
How's it going?

It seems like a good time to check on Resolutions, don't you think? We're a quarter of the way through the year. A lot of people will have bailed on their Resolution already. Have you? And if so, why not take the time now to pick it back up?

I saw this on facebook yesterday. How perfect!

So, did you make a Resolution?

Generally, I don't do that (for a variety of reasons I'll not go into here) but this year there was one thing that jumped out, and I made one Resolution. I can't remember now exactly how I worded it, but basically I am going to be more diligent with my social commitments. You see, to me, there is no plan better than a canceled plan. That means I need to make plans with better care, so that I don't find a way to cancel them. One Resolution, two prongs: DON'T cancel (unless truly necessary), ONLY agree to a social commitment that I feel strongly about, no on-a-whim "sure, let's do that" type events.

Now, with everyone staying in - and if not, at least understanding of the concept - this is a very easy Resolution to keep!

I would imagine there are two situations happening regarding the world's 2020 Resolutions:

1. Resolutions that involve going out and doing something are not being kept. Exercise goals? Can't go to a gym, walks are cut short, unless you prepared a home gym = hard to keep.
Resolved to eat better? a lot of processed food on the menu, delivery is the safest option, unless you have a good source for fresh fruit and veggies = hard to keep. 
Resolve to travel more? Ix-nay. Not for quite a while, I'll bet.

2. Resolutions that involve staying in should be doing well. Read more? You have the time. Spend more time with family? In spades! (except for distant family)

So, what about you? If you made a Resolution, how's it going? Is it easier or harder in this new world paradigm?

20 April, 2020

Questions #AtoZChallenge

Back when I thought I'd be writing about grief, Questions was a logical Q theme.
So many Questions.

Then, I decided to add Covid-19 to my theme. It seemed even more applicable to write about Questions! 
There are so very many Questions about this disease. 

But you know what? 17 letters in, I'm getting kind of sick of this theme. The darkness, the weight of the subject matter, the daily reminder of difficulties, instead of escaping reality into my blog.

So instead I will ask random Questions for you to answer in a comment, or just think about, or ask others in your household during this time.

Totally random Questions (nothing personal):

If you watch TV, what's your go-to binge these days?

I understand some streaming networks offer "watch together" options, where you can get a bunch of friends in different places, and all watch the same show at the same time. Do you do that? Is it worth it? 

Right now, what is your favorite thing to do outside, in the short time you go out?

Typically, what is your favorite thing to do outside?

What will be the first thing you do outside when this is all over?

...Okay, I guess these are not totally random, but still related to Covid-19. Oh well.

Do you read? What are you reading? 

Are you satisfied with the food currently in your fridge?

Do you prefer strawberry or chocolate?

What games do you have on your phone (or tablet)... that you actually play?

I'm not being very imaginative, but there you have it. Q, for a day. I guess the obvious final Question is: Do you have any Questions for me?

18 April, 2020

People #AtoZChallenge

People are driving me crazy.

Which is weird, considering I am at home all the time now!

Nevertheless, I felt my heart racing dangerously as I read an absolutely INSANE conspiracy theory posted on the facebook wall of a friend from high school whom I know to be a sweet, intelligent, rational person. (I have no truck with conspiracy theorists.)

I have inherited my father's heart problems. I can't be reading inflammatory stuff that will give me a heart attack before I get out of bed in the morning! I know, why blame People? It's my own fault for opening facebook, especially before coffee. And that's the point.

I locked myself out of facebook for a few weeks recently, purely because of the People who live there. I don't mean the version of those People that I know in real life. IRL, People are generally pleasant! But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "Facebook doth make fools of us all." It has taken a lot of strength of will for me to stop myself from responding to inflammatory posts in the past, but I have managed it.

This time, I could not refrain from responding. I love this girl. She was like a sister to me in high school. I had to tell her how sad it made me to read those opinions - which I believe were reposted from some other twit - on her wall. That's all.

Today may be the day of a purge. Time to block all the People who are proving to be a problem to my health and well-being. I might just unfollow the People who are simply sharing stupidity in their panic-induced insanity.

More often than not, I wish for solitude more than anything. People have not typically been a primary joy in my life. Why do I collect them on social media? 

I truly think I'd do well on a desert island. Who's with me?

17 April, 2020

OUT!!! #AtoZChallenge

"...And stay Out!"

Well, I'm not that mean, but we seem to be more diligent than our neighbors on keeping others Outside of our home. I'm sure it's partly in sympathy with our friends and family in the hard-hit USA. Here in Vietnam, we're just over 250 Covid cases, about 100 active, and we've been in the Covid game since China discovered it!

Yes, restaurants and bars are closed. We get delivery, but have to stay Out of those places.
Yes, if you try to go any distance beyond "local", you will likely hit a roadblock where you need to declare where you are going and why. No joy rides Out of the home circle.
Yes, everyone is wearing masks when they go Out.

But... our neighbors come and go more than we do. 

I would love to have the Australian woman from two doors down over for tea or something stronger - especially since her husband can't return from NZ yet - but I won't have anyone into our house. They all need to stay Out!

We have had conversations through the gate, or in the street, trying to maintain distance, and even in our yard, when the gate is open.

Because every day we have to open the gate. We have a lovely front garden, but I have a history of killing plants. So when we took this house our landlord agreed to maintain the garden. Everyday I open the gate in the morning, whether or not we are going Out, and at some point "dad" (the landlord) will come over with the hose, or pruning shears, and make sure the plants aren't dying. 

Sometimes the gate remains open all day. Then come the random visits when we need to try to politely encourage whoever it is to stay Out.

It feels rude. We believe we are being diligent. Are we rude? The alternative, I suppose, if we wanted visitors, would be to pry into where a visitor had been, how many people they had contact with, and inquire about their hand-washing frequency. That seems ruder, to me. My home is my haven. People Stay Out.

How strictly are you maintaining isolation?

16 April, 2020

Normal #AtoZChallenge

I read an article the other day advising that, rather than trying to keep life "as Normal as possible" while on lockdown, or isolation, or whatever you choose to call it, instead we should be finding a new Normal. Or rather, "accepting" that this may be Normal.

Here is the full article.

It's a good point. How much fighting against this situation is just wasted energy? If we could find ways to "be Normal" within the new parameters, and without raging against them, we might all be better off. Of course we don't expect lockdown to be forever, but it may be a lot longer than most people expect. Covid-19 is changing the world and the way we do things. How we work, how we study, how we shop, what we eat, international security measures...

The old Normal is no more. It will be no more. Oh sure, eventually we will be able to go shopping whenever we want, and we'll get together with friends when we choose, but so much will be different. Our minds are changing.

And that's okay.

Being non-productive at this moment in time is okay. It takes time to adjust. Allow yourself time.

A friend of mine started a new daily journal. I don't know if she's calling it a "Covid-19 Journal" but from what she said about it, that's what I'd call it. Every day, noting the weather, health, any major news, current home situation... basically status updates for adjusting to the new Normal in her own life. How beneficial it will be later when she can look back and see the difference. 

Is this a shocking thought for you? Do you rebel against the idea of a new Normal?

15 April, 2020

Music #AtoZChallenge

What are you listening to these days? My background music tends to vary depending on what I'm working on. Language study? Mando-pop. Writing? Depends on the WIP. Mornings are in flex: coffee jazz, dance music, Christian pop, funk...

A couple weeks ago, Brett got it in his head - for a Twitter joke, I think - to make a "Covid-19" playlist on Spotify. Intrigued?

I love it. 

It includes music from just about every genre. The sole unifying factor is in the titles.(So, only English language music.) Even if you don't like a single song on the list - which you will, there's truly something for everyone - you will probably appreciate just reading down the titles on the play list. Every title applies to our current world-wide situation.

From "Fever" by Peggy Lee, to "Times Like These" by Foo Fighters, just everything imaginable is in there.

When he first shared the link on facebook, more song recommendations came in. He was adding to it for days before finally drawing the line. There are 19 hours of music on this list! I think that's enough.

Do you have any music choice? Has it changed, now that you are home more? What would be your criteria for a "Covid-19" playlist?

14 April, 2020

Lost Words #AtoZChallenge

I've Lost my words.
The more that is happening, the less I have to say, it would seem.

A few weeks ago, I logged out of Facebook for the remainder (most) of March. When I reopened the app, I found I had less to say. I had gotten used to just LIVING and not documenting my life for the world.

I logged back out a few days later. But... my family lives there. Sort of. And friends. So I logged back in and have been watching from afar. But my words are still Lost, for the most part. 

These last few days, I've Lost words in real life, too. Stuck at home, Brett and I are each other's captive audience. But I just have no words. It seems I've said them all. I try to respond to things he says, but usually I'm so out of it - we read and watch different things - that I feel like my words don't even make sense. They themselves are Lost, as they leave my mouth.

I wish I could talk to my sister. She would get it. A 20-minute call to her would help me sort out my thoughts. But she's gone. I can send her all the unanswered wechat messages I want, there will come no answer. 

I have friends. It's not like I have no one to talk to at all, but ... well, my words are Lost. My last couple phone calls have been more listening on my part. Not bad, but no help to finding my words.

I have Lost my words in my writing/editing, too. I keep thinking I should stop my language classes for a while to focus on writing. (If I've Lost my words in English, I sure as shootin' don't have them in Mandarin or Vietnamese!) But each day that a language class comes up, I just skype in and plod my way through it.

I did learn new words in my Mandarin class today. Well, a new combination of words. So there is a bit of humor in today:
hui(2) jia(1) , ni(3) he(1) zui(4) le!

Yes, that's MY Mandarin handwriting. Literally, it means "Go home, you're drunk!" Since that's what we all want to tell anyone and anything that acts irrationally, I thought it was a great set of words to know. I've written them down in a couple places, so they don't get Lost, like the rest of my words.

I guess, for having no words, I managed to pull some together for this post. I hope you are doing better than I am! What has been Lost to you? How are words working for you these days?

13 April, 2020

Kicking Myself #AtoZChallenge

I'm Kicking myself today.

It's Easter Sunday in Vietnam as I write this, and I'm completely unprepared. I knew today would be Easter. I even tried a new "mandarin orange" flavored Kit-kat earlier in the week, thinking that if I liked it, I 'd go back and get the box. (They seem to be a special release thing: minis sold in a pretty gold box.)

But these days, staying in is the norm, and going out just to get one thing seems superfluous. So I waited.

And now it's Easter, and there's no chocolate in the house.

I found that there was still some nutella in the bottom of the jar, so for breakfast I spread nutella on a couple "Digestive biscuits" (I think Digestives are a British thing?). They will have to suffice for Easter chocolate. 

I could have bought not just chocolate, but all kinds of goodies! Had I thought about it, I might have splurged on apples at the market when we went on Friday. Kicking myself.

I mean, I have a mango, pineapple, passion fruit. All good sweet treats, but nothing special.

Kicking myself for forgotten items when out shopping on Friday.

How are you handling shopping these days? Do you keep a continual list so that nothing is forgotten? Or do you just go out anytime you need to regardless of how much or little you are buying? Why do I feel guilty to go out for one or two things? Do you get that, too?

11 April, 2020

Joy? #AtoZChallenge

I wanted to write about Joy today.
I still do. 

There is Joy. I delight in my life and location every day. But I'm not necessarily feeling Joy as much as I pretend to. Mostly, I'm just tired.


Moving on. Joy amid grief.
What, Joy? Yes. Joy.

At my sister's memorial weekend this past January, there was a delightful evening when we all hung out in the lobby of the hotel most of the family were staying at. Drinks, snacks, bonding, some occasional smoking outside. It was really a Joyous, raucous time amid all the sadness and tears of the events earlier in the day. 

Brett and I also had some weird "Joy" of being the foreigners landing on once-familiar soil and getting baffled by all the snack options in the tollway plazas. How many varieties of chips do we need? All of the them. The answer is all of them. But we are not used to that, and I laughed a lot at my own indecisiveness.

When I had returned in September for young nephew's funeral, I stayed a couple days later than the rest of the family, and was treated to a Joyous reunion of college friends. (My big brother and his wife met at our college, so many of their old friends were known to me.)

It was an evening of Joy, while forgetting about the trauma of the prior week.

Now with the world in lockdown, isolation, pandemic outside, etc. I have a lot to be happy about and I know that. 

I have times of Joy. I do. It's hard to feel it through the fog sometimes, though.
Wow. This turned dark somehow. Sorry about that.

What about you? I would love for you to share some of the things bringing you Joy today, or this week, or throughout this weird time we are in. What's Joyous for you?

10 April, 2020

Intimidation #AtoZChallenge.

I find I'm Intimidated to talk to my family back in the US. I know myself. I am judgmental. Especially right now when it is so clear to me - over here, near, you know CHINA - that they need to stay inside.
I'm Intimidated to ask if my parents and siblings went to a physical church service last Sunday. Or if they intend to do so on Easter.

In the Christian church, Easter Sunday is a big deal. As a Christian, Easter has always been my favorite holiday. It's the most significant, faith-wise. Christ's resurrection is, in fact, the very reason we have faith!

When I lived in the US, I was an active member of a church. When we moved to China, I lost that. Our first year in China, we tried to find a place to go to a Christmas service. We found that they they are such a huge deal and attract tourists, that some churches required you to show your foreign passports just to get in. We opted NOT to attend a Christmas service. 

In the past four years, I've gotten used to reading my Bible, praying, meditating, and not having that church community. I get that it's a transition process and most people living in a "free-religion" society are accustomed to attending communal worship. I get that the sudden change in societal rules does not make people suddenly comfortable to give up communal worship.

I'm Intimidated to ask any of my family whether they went to church on Palm Sunday. I'm not asking about Easter plans. My family is not too active on facebook, so if I don't ask, I probably won't know. Then I won't have to get in their face. Because I will. I'm mean. And as the 4th of 5, knowing that no one takes me seriously I sometimes get loud.

In the face of my Intimidation, since I can't say this to those I love IRL, please, please, PLEASE...


Here's a thought. Worship at home. Zoom, Skype, Sing an Easter hymn without potentially contaminating yourself and dozens of others.

GOD gets it. God has asked us to care for each other, to consider those in need. Right now, we are all in need to be protected. We NEED to isolate.

Worship. By all means. Jesus lives, and that is an amazing miracle. 

But follow His lead and consider all the lives that touch yours. STAY HOME!

09 April, 2020

Home #AtoZChallenge


Everyone is at Home these days. 
We hope. 

How's that going? Are you finding Home to be the haven you need during a world-wide crisis? Are you struggling because you can't work from Home, and therefore are lacking in income? Are you stressed by caring for kids/family 24/7?

I want to broaden the perspective of Home. I am Home. I love my Home - both the house we live in and the "Home" that it is. (sorry. Pet peeve. A "house" is not equivalent to a "home".)

I am, however, not in my "Home-country". It's a distinction unique to expats. Where I live is, in my heart, my Home. But people I know in the country I came from often ask "When are you coming Home?"
...well, okay, they don't ask that anymore. I've bitten enough heads off during our first year in China that I think people who know me get it. Or they pretend to.

An expat friend of mine, who LOVED living in Asia, recently caught the last plane out of Azerbaijan to go Home to the US. I do not know the whole story. I'm dying to ask, but she's been in transit, and I know there are bigger things happening for her than answering a nosy friend's questions. Did she leave her beloved Home in Azerbaijan because the school she was with closed? Was she at greater risk there than she expects back Home in the US? She has a daughter in college. Was her decision somehow based on being near family?

Today, Brett read that the US embassy in Hanoi has partnered with England and Ireland to arrange ONE flight out of Hanoi for expats living in Vietnam or Cambodia who wish to return Home. RETURN HOME. Not an open flight for tourists. I get that everyone has their own situation and different kinds of family ties that might affect one's decision, but right now, you couldn't PAY me to go back to the US. 

Sorry if that bothers some of you, but seriously. 

Blame who you want, it is the PEOPLE who are not staying Home. Who are not wearing masks in public. Who are wantonly spreading germs they don't believe they have. Maybe these are the people who still think Covid-19 is the flu. >excuse me while I bang my head on my desk until I bleed< 


I told you this month might get - well, I said snarky. I guess it's more like "bashing heads together and hoping something smart comes out".

08 April, 2020

Getting Together #AtoZChallenge

Since no one is really Getting together these days (one hopes), this post is more related to the "Grief" part of my theme.

We moved to China in September of 2016. Knowing we'd be leaving the country that month, my dear mother tried to get the whole family together for Labor Day weekend. She'd had kids out the country consistently for at least 8-10 years. My big brother moved back from Turkey in June, so there had been just three months with all FIVE of her offspring on US soil. 

Our family is seriously lacking in family photos that include everyone. 

Suddenly, days before the weekend Get together, my little brother decided he had to take his daughters to Chicago to see their maternal grandparents. So the rest of us Got together, but it was not what Mom had hoped for.

Nearly a year later, Brett and I returned from China - partly to close out our storage unit, since we now knew we'd stay in Asia long-term, partly to see family. During that 2-week visit, I only managed to Get together with one of my four siblings.

After moving to Vietnam the following year, we knew it would be a while before any family Get togethers.

Or so we thought. 

When my nephew died (18yo) last fall, we scrambled to find a way to get me back to the States. I won't get into all the reasons this was a logistical problem, but Brett couldn't leave. 

The whole family at one Get together. For a horrible, horrible, terribly painful reason. But we were there. At one point my older brother (father of the deceased) commented with tears in his eyes about how amazed he was that everyone was there.

When I got home, my darling husband suggested that we start planning a trip to the States for June of this year. A long trip - maybe three weeks - so we could see everyone and spend time together for fun. Not for grief. I had started clocking ticket prices in early January.

Then my eldest sister died. It was ruled a heart attack, although there was no autopsy, so... (Come back on Day S for my opinions of Statistics.) That meant just five months after going State-side for one painful funeral, we were in transit again. This time, Brett was able to accompany me, and THANK GOD! 

Again, the whole family was able to Get together. Again for a horrible, horrible, terribly painful reason.

We were, even more than before, looking forward to our June trip - as yet unplanned - to Get together with all of our friends and family for FUN!

When Covid19 came on the scene, I knew that a trip in June wouldn't be possible. My family in the States may have been skeptical, but I knew. Now that they are dealing first hand with this pandemic, they agree. We cannot have any fun Get togethers for a while.

When was your last Get together with friends or family? What did you do? Does the memory of it help keep you optimistic for the next time you can Get together?

Food #AtoZChallenge

What are you eating these days?
(We've had some internet issues, so I'm keeping this short and sweet.)

The main change for us is that we can't go out to eat. Here's a picture of the last thing I ate in a restaurant:
March 12, 2020

That same restaurant was a good place for me to go to write. A few days after that meal, I was sitting there to read and write.

Beer, nook, facemask.
I wore a mask whenever the waiter came by. I was the only one there at first.

Then a trio of guys came in. They sat at the far side of the restaurant, so no worries. Another table was seated well behind me. But when this guy came in...
...I decided that was close enough. I finished my beer, paid and left.

Now, we eat in. Vietnam has officially closed all restaurants, except for delivery. That began on April 1, and is scheduled for two weeks, but may be extended.

In addition to delivery, our landlords have been randomly bringing over food.

Meals, snacks, and my favorite:

Coconut Coffee.

Mostly, we cook in, with occasional delivery. But our landlords are making sure we have food, too. We know we have it good.

How have your eating habits changed since all this self-isolation?