Anniversary Update | Hi Dad

Hi Dad,

A lot has happened in the last year, and even if it’s a relief you don’t have to deal with it, if only you were here to deal with it with us.

  • COVID-19 is still rampant in the US because people struggle with caring about themselves versus others, while the rest of the world knows they’re not mutually exclusive. If you were here, you may convince Mom to stay in, but then I’d have to worry about you both.
  • Racial relations have elevated from where not being racist is no longer enough, and being anti-racist is an active choice. It’s too bad I never got to know more about your thoughts on matters like this.
  • I did my first oil change! Took three hours, BUT it’s a step up from when you taught me how to check my oil and coolant levels.
Vietca's First Oil Change
  • I started dating and met a lot of… different types. They weren’t keepers, but the stories sure are. Remember the kid who “proposed” to me from another car at a Houston intersection? I still have the ring.
  • I went camping for the first time in years AND finally saw a bear in the wild! Remember that huge bear you got me when I was four, and someone stole it off the truck on moving day?
  • I built my first computer. I mean, I kinda built the others, but was more hands on this time. The first one you got me had a black and green screen. I just found my diary entries on floppy disks.
  • My friends helped me make a pumpkin Halloween costume, but everyone thought I was a strawberry, hot chili, or tomato. I was a… Viet Cà (cà = tomato in Vietnamese). Now that I think about it, I think you told me my first pun, in Vietnamese no less. Something about a lady with a lemon waiting for a boy with a bottle, haha.
  • I used my bilingual skills to make students feel more comfortable in the classroom! Remember the Vietnamese teacher who said my name wasn’t real, and seven year-old me said if she didn’t know it was, she’s not qualified to teach us? I got to spend the whole summer with you learning to read and write.
  • My friends and I had a fierce debate about how to close takeout boxes. I think I won. Remember that bigger-than-me barrel of fortune cookies from your restaurant? I’m taller now, but still collect fortunes. I have a feeling you had something to do with me getting this one.
  • Mom needed a couple of surgeries, and was stubborn about letting others care for her. Guess it runs in the family. She’s better now because we caught it in time. I still wish you told us sooner.
  • I visited Filoli Gardens for my first time, and it was absolutely beautiful! I still love Christmas as much as I did when you bought us our first Christmas tree in the first house we lived in together.

Finally, the Chargers didn’t do very well, but at least the AFC West won it. I still remember that Chargers-Steelers game we watched together that led to the Super Bowl. They’ll get there… soon, I hope.

Sorry, that was a lot, but it was all to say that however much you missed doesn’t amount to how much I miss you this year, today. It was nice catching up.

Love, Việt Ca

Digital Love

Love in the Time of Corona…virus

I’m an analog hopeless romantic in an online dating world. I openly favor face-to-face instead of Facetime, hashing it out instead of hashtagging, and talking on the phone instead of staring at it, but the rules have changed, so I’m adapting as we all should.

Digital Love

Since getting on the apps last summer, I had sprees of six-date weekends followed by weeks of self-declared social distancing. This is not dissimilar to my pre-digital love life–I was lucky to have loved deeply twice for a combined 11 years, and follow that with a treasure trove of hilarities in sporadic singledom.

In light of recent events, or, now, lack thereof, solitude is no longer a choice, and honestly, this can be the start of an awesome silver lining. Coronavirus Disease 2019, a.k.a. COVID-19, is changing the landscape for love and language. While some are happy to rely on sexting and flirty wordies, others feel restricted they can’t get physical, all in the name of preventing community spread.

Well, I’m no chemist, but I have solutions! Here are my top 10 virtual dates so you can get down digitally with a little help from my analog friends. Have fun, be safe, and get wild, creatively wild. The possibilities are virtually endless. #seewhatididthere

Minimum requirements | text (📝), talk (🔊), video (📹)

  • Netflix and Chill 🔊
    • Have a watch party of a movie you both love and create your own commentary. When your Youtube channel blows up, you’ll have a story for the grandkids.
  • What do you bring to a picnic? 📹
    • Discuss the five items that make up your perfect picnic basket, and grocery shop with their list. Then, dine a day in your date’s shoes, one bite at a time. Not only will they think, “I’ll have what they’re having;” they’ll wish they were there with you.
  • Safe Fun 📹
    • Exchange Instagram stories using the conversational filters; it breaks the ice and may pave the way to deeper understanding. Feel safer knowing it’s not live while confirming you’re not getting catfished. Lucky for you, I have a list of a lot of them. Seriously, like… a lot.
  • Sound the Alarm… Clocks 🔊
    • Set YOUR alarm clock so you can wake up the other person up, so not only will they be pleasantly stirred from their slumber, but you’ll get to see or hear what your forever feels like. And no, you cannot wake up early to put your face on before they call. Come on, people.
  • Talk about TED 🔊
    • No, not about Mosbey the Architect. For the intellectual high, select a few TED Talks to watch and see where that leads you. If nothing else, you’ll learn something new about the world and yourselves.
  • Video Games 📝
    • If you weren’t a gamer before, it wouldn’t hurt to try being one now. It’s cheap, fast, and easy just like how I like my banh mi. If you’re competitive, this will be a true and fun test.
  • Storybuilding 📝
    • Start a story via text or email by sending one sentence/paragraph at a time, letting the other person take it wherever with their paragraph. Maybe it’ll become the next Harry Potter. Probably not, but who knows?
  • Open Bar 📹
    • Crack open a beer or pour yourself a whiskey neat and have a drink with one another via video. Share stories behind how you amassed your collection, or the first time you had a certain cocktail, or why you don’t drink. The topics are bottomless like your mimosa.
  • Karaoke Time 🔊
    • Sure, you can download Smule (no, I’m not sponsored, but can be convinced), or just video one another, pick your go-tos and whale away. My friends reading this should know a Karaoke Hangout is pending.
  • Iron Chef 📹
    • Can you already tell I like food? Find a recipe you both would like and cook it together. Set a time limit, and have a rubric ready to judge on presentation while you argue adorably over whose tastes better.
  • Teach Me Something 📹
    • Select a teachable talent, and teach one another something new. It can be tangible like guitar chords, or cultural trivia from your heritage. Accepting help allows us to feel vulnerable, and helping someone feels great. You’ll start feeling close in no time!
  • Go Virtual… Literally 🔊
    • If you’re lucky enough to each own a set, play a game together. The haptic feedback along with your other senses will do wonders until you can perform your own wonders… literally.

Photo Credit

  1. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Actual Hindsight for 2020

I am really excited about this next year for a multitude of reasons, but I’ll give you 20, naturally:

20. I will continue to shamelessly execute good (or “bad”) wordplay, particularly this joke since the next chance won’t be until 2120. Fun.

19. Some of the goals I set are oldies, but still goodies. Persistence.

18. Some of the goals I set are oldies, but defunct. Follow-through.

17. Some of the goals I set are newbies, but necessary. Growth.

16. I am involved in far too few activities… Variety.

15. … far too much. Balance.

14. I will make sustainable changes to better care for my body… Health.

13. … mind… Knowledge.

12. … and soul. Inspiration.

11. I will renew interests that (used to) make me me. Invest in.

10. I will take a deeper dive into my finances. Invest out.

9. I will cut back on aimlessness… Intention.

8. … idleness… Action.

7. … and self-doubt. Confidence.

6. I know more of what I do and don’t want. Clarity.

5. I want to put myself out there more. Creativity.

4. I want to put myself out there more. Vulnerability.

3. I want to put myself out there more. Love.

2. I want to get the most out of each moment. Life.

1. I will continue to shamelessly be happy being me, and put myself first more often. Vietca. (Already getting a head start on #20!) #seewhatididthere

If you have a goal, let’s succeed, or try again, together! This century is no longer a teenager, so make room for our Roaring 20s! Good luck, everyone, and Merry New Year! Going out with a boom… er… many booms!

5F8CF77F-B232-4251-A041-63E1753365A5

 

Goodbye, Skinny Love

skin·ny love
/ˈskinē ləv/

n.

a relationship that is malnourished and, therefore, unsustainable

Today, I bid farewell to skinny love, a relationship that wasn’t loveless but rather starved and nonviable. All that is beautiful will wither without proper nurturing, and you must be both willing and able before you can be ready to give yourself to another.

He was constantly hesitating to contribute the missing ingredients while I was hopeful that love and time could overcome all. Eventually, he reached an apex of apathy while I settled with disappointment.

Only by being achingly honest with ourselves can we grow into better people. While I believe he’s a good person, that he’s capable of becoming the man I had hoped for, that anything is possible, the first step must be acceptance.

To skinny love, I hope you set aside pride long enough to realize, and learn from, your shortfalls, and earn any love you receive. Although I will never forget our peaks of happiness, I can no longer ignore the valleys of pain you caused. Today, I let you go because I deserve someone who is ready, willing, and able.

Thank you, Birdy… and Bon Iver.

Don’t Stop Believing

That mantra isn’t just for karaoke.

It’s been a few days since the anniversary of my dad’s passing (7/22), and this year, I consciously held off on a post, until today when a friend told me I had too much faith in people.

I, refusing to believe it to be a negative quality, responded, “Faith is what we possess and accountability is what people should have whether or not we believe.”

Story of my life, and invariably, my feelings toward my dad.

He was not a full-time father, but I was a full-time believer. Countless times he’d make well-intended promises that were not-so-well-executed, but my faith never wavered.

My memories are not riddled with fights of the number of Father’s Days, phone calls, birthdays, and graduations he missed. They’re filled laughter, joy, and love for when he came through.

It’s not my job to hold anyone accountable, to make them feel bad for their choices. I’ve made it my job to not take anything for granted, nor turn people away.

I know my belief in him gave him a home to come back to each time, even if it was for one last time.

So today, I know that although he passed alone, my dad knew I loved him, always.

❤ Việt Ca

PS. The Chargers are no longer playing for San Diego, but I’m still excited for us to catch some games when the season begins. 🤣

 

Thank Goodness for Regret

re·gret
/rəˈɡret/

n.

a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.

Today, I thank goodness for living with regret.

It’s been three years since my father’s death, and I think it’s time I stop punishing myself and let go of the guilt I’ve been harboring since then, the regret. This is my first time sharing this with anyone, so here goes:

My dad was receiving treatment in San Jose and because I was in San Diego, my visits were few and far in between. I even reasoned that it was best to put my would-be travel costs toward his medical expenses.

I flew up in April and June, and was planning another trip for late July, but my family encouraged me to visit sooner. The sense of urgency was thick, but I pushed it aside. Call it denial, or maybe blind optimism that there was more time. Regardless, I stayed my course.

On July 21, I was out when my dad called. I let it go wanting to call back in a quieter setting, but he rang a second time. Panic set in; I missed him again while rushing outside, but immediately called back. My uncle picked up and said my dad was already sleeping. He really wanted to talk to me, but was too tired, so I’d have to try again after he wakes up.

He never did wake up again, and I never got my phone call. He passed the next morning and in the seconds after hearing, “He didn’t make it,” the regret and guilt set in, and it never left.

Regret is typically a shameful word. We hide it deep in our closets, and hope it never rears its ugly head as a reminder of our transgressions, but today, I move that we embrace regret.

We’ll always wonder the what ifs of paths not taken, but so long as we fully commit to our decisions and their consequences, we will come out stronger.

Living with regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing because at least you’re still living.

I miss you, Dad. It’s Comic Con weekend, so I hope I can still have a #HappyFriday. Have fun watching my shenanigans and if it’s of any value, I think our last conversation would’ve been a great one.

I love you,

Việt Ca

Regret