1. Where My Journal Begins
This blog post would serve as my journals writing about my personal matters. For now, I don’t think I’m going to write anything too private, so it’s alright to set for public view. However, if I am to write something very personal and don’t want to share with other people, I’d change the post into private.
I plan to write at least one paragraph everyday and put into this post. If the post becomes too long, I’ll separate it later. Of course I have to write in English. Why am I doing this? Well, it’s just an attempt to improve my writing skills.
Currently I’m taking an ESL (English as a Second Language) course. The level isn’t high (My school doesn’t offer high level ESL classes due to the tight budget)) so there’s no pressure at all. I think I’m the best writer in the class and the teacher often praises my writings: “You wrote so well, so beautifully” (though I make some minor mistakes in grammar somehow). To be honest, I’m grateful for her praises but I’m not particularly happy about it. When I was seventeen, my writings were already that well and after so many years, my writings are still “that well” without any improvements. What a shame! Back then, I had a writing so good that the teachers in the English school didn’t believe I could actually write it, and they suspected I copied it from the Internet (By the way, it was the essay about my most favorite soccer player Ronaldo. Not the presently famous Portuguese Ronaldo , I’m talking about the legendary Brazilian Ronaldo). At the time, I actually took their suspicions as my pride. Then, when I came to study in Singapore, I did have some progress in English, but… nah, nothing to be proud of. After four years in Singapore, I came back to Vietnam and didn’t use English anymore. During the time, not only having no progress in the language at all, I could feel it was regressing eventually. When I came to the US, people thought I should be very much proficient in English, but then they found out I wasn’t as good as they thought. Again, what a shame! But never mind, maybe I’m just thinking too much. My husband always encourages me: “Don’t degrade yourself! You’re better than you think!” But he also knows I’m just not good enough, and I must be better than this.
The teacher said my writing was beautiful but I can only see it as an encouragement. I know it for myself, I may write decently with correct grammars and proper vocabularies, but it’s far from beautiful. I don’t even write like an educated native English speaker. I can’t write fluently and express my ideas smoothly like what I can do in Vietnamese. “Write beautifully” is a big goal I want to achieve. And to complete the big goal, I need to set several small goals. Keep writing everyday is one of the small goals. I’m not sure I can keep doing it for how long, but at least I have to try, right?
So, this would be my first journal, and the others are going to be updated following.
2. A Writing Contest
Today I see a letter on the school billboard inviting students to join the Writing Contest. The contestant can pick one of the following categories: fiction, non fiction, poetry, and script. I know nothing about poetry and script, also I don’t have the knowledge to write a non fiction. If I am to take part in the contest, of course I’d choose to write a fiction. However, it seems overwhelmed to me. Even if I am told to write a 30 pages of fiction (the rule stated not to exceed 30 pages) in Vietnamese, I may encounter a lot difficulties but still, I have the confidence to complete it. Though I don’t think I could actually win prizes, at least it’s something I can do. Unfortunately, now we’re talking about a 30 pages of fiction in English. It’s a big deal. When I first read about the contest, I suppose I’m just going to ignore. But come to think of it, isn’t writing professionally with a distinctive style always my dream? Don’t I always want to make a living on writings? Now the chance has come, why should I give up without giving a try? Of course I won’t delude myself on winning the prize, I wonder if I can even write 3 pages. But I’ll just try and see how.
3. My old friend WW
WW was a handsome blonde dog. Don’t ask me what breed was he because I really don’t know. He was just a crossbreed of many unknown crossbreeds. He lived among three other dogs in my house, and at first I didn’t actually like him much because he was such a bully. There was an old dog named TM whom I loved as much as a little brother, and this WW always bullied and hurt TM that made me so angry and sad. However, when I said “I didn’t like him”, it didn’t mean to hate him. I’m a dog person, how can I hate a dog, especially that dog loved me so much? Yes, WW loved me dearly though he showed little affectionate. I loved him too, but I just didn’t pay attention to him because I had to take care of the old and sick TM. Only when TM passed away, I became closer to WW, but regretfully, at the time WW was becoming old himself. Despite of the age, WW was still very strong and healthy. He never got sick. He only got sick one time, and though I didn’t think his illness was serious, though I supposed he was going to get better after visiting the vet and taking the medicine, to my shock, he passed away that night. The very night I’d taken him to the vet in the afternoon. I blamed the vet (many vets in Vietnam are very irresponsible and nasty, I never trust them but sometimes I just can’t avoid them) and I blamed myself (I should have taken him to a better vet that was further distance). The only consolation was he didn’t suffer. He was gone in his sleep and didn’t suffer, unlike TM who had had to suffer so much pain in years because of my stubbornness and selfishness. The day after, I took his body to the vet (another vet, of course) and authorized them to have it cremated. I took his ashes home and buried under a tree. The thought of him resting at his own home did comfort my feeling of pain and loss. WW is no more, but I shall never forget him, nor shall I forget any other of my dogs. They are all important to me and have permanently irreplaceable positions in my heart.
4. A Dishonest Beer Merchant
In Vietnam, people can easily buy spirits and liquors from anywhere, and in some Asian countries I’ve visited, beers are widely sold in supermarkets. However, in the US, the control laws are different in each state, and in my state, you need to buy alcohol from authorized distributors or stores. You cannot just get it from a supermarket or a convenience store like in Vietnam.
What I’ve said was just a background introduction. Now this is my story. Since I’ve moved to a new location, and there’s a small beer distributor in my new neighborhood, so today I made my first purchase there. When I walked into the store with my husband, we were talking in Vietnamese, and the owner who was also Vietnamese greeted in our native language. We wanted to buy a pack of Bud Light and there was only one left in the store, so we took it. The price was a bit higher than the store we used to buy, but it wasn’t a big deal anyway. When we went home and had a look at the pack, it turned out to have expired a half year ago! We decided to go back to exchange for another one. My husband doubted: “Will he allow the exchange?” I argued: “Why not? This is America. He can’t do business with Vietnamese styles”. I said this because I was sure he had known about the expiration but he had it sold anyway. And the price he charged for that expired item was higher than usual! When we were back to his store, he asked: “What’s the matter?” I showed him the date and said it was expired. To my surprise, I was told it wasn’t the expiry date, it was the production date actually. What the… Did he really think I was stupid? Did I look like an idiot to him? I told him I was sure about the meaning of the date and this wasn’t the first time I consumed that beer, and I demanded an exchange for another one. Then finally he agreed (before that maybe he’d thought I was asking for a refund and that was why he denied it?). However, the way of him doing business, the way of his denial toward his apparently fault, it’s unacceptable.
Though the store is very near to my house with only two minutes walking, I’ll never come back again. Dishonest and cheating merchant shouldn’t survive in today’s competitive business world.
5. Losing Facebook Friends
I lost two Facebook friends in one day.
The first guy, he wasn’t just a usual Facebook friend. He’s one of the very few people I’m truly admired of, he’s someone I always want to be. Then one beautiful day he notified everyone that he was going to close all of his online accounts. We’d had a few chit chat before he disappeared from the Internet. I may not see him again ever, but I’m glad he did the right things. Withdrawing from the virtual world and live on to the real world is the right thing to do. I’m gonna miss him.
Then, losing a second friend in the same day was really unexpected. That night I was drinking (well, it was a weekend night) when this Facebook friend came to text me. And we started talking (when I said talking, it meant texting). At first, our conversation was usual, then out of the blue, he called me childish (or anything similar, I don’t remember exactly). I said I wasn’t much younger than him. And he replied “a big old child”. He also said something about my personalities. Well, though his words weren’t wrong, I felt offensive. He was no one to judge me. I know about my disadvantages, I don’t need someone to remind me, especially from someone I’m not close to, someone I’d only made friend online few months ago. If I was in the normal state, maybe I’d just ignore the matter. Unfortunately, I was drinking and usually I’m more aggressive and impromptu when drinking. Our conversation turned sour and I was the one saying to block him. After a few words, he was the one who did the blocking. He said I was going to regret (well, it wasn’t a threat, he only meant after I was over the drunkenness, I’d feel regretful for what I’d done). Okay. Normally I wouldn’t block a person due to this kind of minor issues. I wouldn’t even bother to argue in the first place (though I’d still feel offensive). But am I regretful? Nah, I don’t think so. Why should I be?