Happy Gregorian New Year!

Panini from Passio I haven’t had a proper kitchen since I left Ohio in July, but it’s not so bad. I usually grab something for $2 or so and lately that “something” has been a panini from Passio, a coffee shop right across the street from my alley:

passio

I’m getting a little tired of Passio and pho all the time. It may be time to dust off the Trip Advisor again.

I was having some coffee and writing some postcards at Passio yesterday, when I started talking to Julian, a thirtysomething Brit who’s been here 18 months and owns some bar in Spain. He claimed the post office would be open today, on New Years Eve, because as he said, “It’s not their New Years,” referring to Tet in February. What the heck? The calendar still changes from 2012 to 2013. And we got 2 days off work, not to mention the Christmas and New Year’s decorations everywhere. Here are some near my apartment and the lobby of my office:

deco

Shows how much he knew because the post office was indeed closed today…for New Year’s, no less.

Strange IM Before I got off my tail, ventured out, and found out about the post office, I had an odd IM exchange from a guy I haven’t seen in 20 years and hardly knew back then anyways. Here, maybe you’ll find it amusing (I’d be shocked if he reads this blog):

IM

And that was it. He didn’t say anything after that. I swear, 2012 has been the year for weird, random IMs from people I don’t know that well.

swastica Right across from my apartment is a Buddhist temple with swasticas on it. For Western people like me, the symbol can be jarring, but around these parts it means “eternity”. Centuries before Hitler got hold of it, East Asians and others used (and continue to use) the symbol – both clockwise and counter – to represent any number of things. Even in New Mexico, I ate at a restaurant converted from an old Navajo structure that had swasticas in the antique tiling. The Wikipedia entry goes quite in-depth about how popular the symbol was before the 1940’s. Here’s the temple across my alley:

temple

swastica

I live on the 5th floor of a 6-story “house”, two rooms per floor. The family who owns it – I’ve counted a couple, two kids and possibly some grandparents – live in the very top and very bottom floors. Between the stairs leading to my room and the front door, I actually walk past someone’s bed, that’s oftentimes being slept on by 1 or more people. (Many Vietnamese are avid daytime nap-takers.) Check out this pic from the bottom of the stairs (looking toward the outside.)

groundfloor

New Year’s Fun Nhung and Nghia invited me to some “ring in the New Year with a bazillion people jam-packed into a small area” nightmare. Insane crowds and I don’t get along, so I declined. I’ll be ringing in the New Year in my weird little room, doing more of what I’ve been doing off and on all day: reading some pretty cool blogs.

Harrowgaite House Diaries Am I overstating to say that this post reads like a 19th century English novel? “Earlier today Mum & Dad asked Callum, Hadleigh and me to come to the drawing room where the atmosphere was thick with anticipation…” I love the name Hadleigh. In another post, “I know tea dispels chaos, English people know this…” According to the blog, she’s a home-schooled, 14-year old living on a period estate in England somewhere.

Deconstructing Myths And this guy. “As the curtain descends on 2012 and the Mayans wait for their 2013 calendar to arrive in the mail, it is hard to synthesize all of the events that have taken place in the land of GMO milk and honey.” And later, “So while we collectively count down to the new year and lift up our eyes to the big ball in the sky, the powers that be wanting more power are raising the theater curtains to unveil America III: The Age of Austerity.”

Nghia’s promised to take pics of the throngs of people I’m missing out on tonight, so I’ll post those as soon as I get them. Ok, back to reading!

2 thoughts on “Happy Gregorian New Year!

  1. Thanks for reading my blog – I admit, I thought you were judging me at first. There are alot of families like mine. I just choose to blog about mine and not tell anyone. Happy New Year! Lottie x

    • Definitely not judging, Miss Lottie. Just really like your writing. It’s better than most! I hope your secret stays so you can continue writing. 🙂

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