Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food I missed

This summer I find myself loading up on blueberries and bagels, among many other foods I miss in the US. Perhaps I should learn how to make my own bagels...?

Monday, July 20, 2009

First piano lesson

Caleb started his first piano lesson today! I decided to use the series that I had when I was 7 so he could just use my old piano books. But since I could not find my Part One, I ordered a copy from Amazon which arrived today. Caleb never quite showed interest in playing, but I guess with the colorful monsters and all, he jumped on the piano bench right away and zoomed through a few lessons. We'll see how long this lasts. Hopefully we can find some sort of a keyboard in Vietnam if he continues to show interest.

Learning how to bike

We had been trying to teach Caleb how to bike by going to a local park with a bike path but failed with repeated attempts until our ingenius friends the Dings gave us the tip of taking Caleb to an open area where he can bike fast and not be constrained by a path. We did exactly that by going to a nearby school and Caleb can bike now! No more bending over and running after Caleb and the bike for Andy.

This past weekend we visited my uncle and aunt in Davis, and Caleb got to bike on UCD campus on his outgrown bike. He enjoyed it very much despite the 100+ degree heat. We also had a very good time catching up with my cousins and their families. And Caleb again had fun playing hide-and-seek with 5 of his cousins and Charlie the cat!


I guess, like swimming and biking, driving is another skill that one does not quite forget how to do. I had thought that after not having driven for a year I would forget how to drive. When I got back in June, I picked it up just like that. And old habits really die hard. I found myself reaching for the foot brake and the gear shifting handle next to the steering wheel since I was driving the mini-van last year.

We had sold all our cars last year before we left but are grateful Andy's sister kept one of Andy's old cars that he had passed down to her. It was Andy's first car from college that he bought from my roommate. It is an 89 Civic with a now broken A/C. But this old faithful proves to be very useful to us this summer. Much praise! We can't go long distance with it since it overheats easily and it can get unbearable driving without A/C in California's heat. Here's a picture of our 20-year-old old faithful.

Bridal shower

A highlight of being back is seeing old friends and family. I am glad I got to attend the bridal shower for one of my old girlfriends from college who's also one of my bridesmaids from 15 years ago. We had a fancy tea party on a sunny afternoon in San Francisco. We will also get to attend her wedding the day right before Caleb and I fly out!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Annual family trip

We are so grateful Andy's brother was able to lend us his other car for a few days when he was on vacation with his family so we took the opportunity to make our annual trip up to Yosemite last month. We never fail to stand in awe of the beauty of our Creator in His creation! And we have pictures to show taken by our little photographer in training. Notice Half Dome in both backgrounds viewed from different elevations and angles. We sucked in all the fresh air we could and Caleb had great fun on the hikes and falls.


It seems Andy was able to pick up where he left off last year with his ex-coworkers. His old lunch gang is faithful as always. One of them who owns a ranch up in Sonoma County invited us all back again this year for a July 4th party. The three of us stayed there 2 nights enjoying the beauty of the country, waking up to deer and coyote in the wild. The husband of one of them cooked a special Vietnamese noodle soup (Bun Bo Hue) for us all. It was a memorable gathering.

Andy also made it back to the company to visit with his old coworkers a couple times, sharing slides on the work in Vietnam to two different groups of employees (a Vietnamese group and a study group he used to attend).


We've been back for over a month now, and Caleb and I have only 3 more weeks left. Indeed time is fleeting! Many have asked what we've been doing during this summer break. I will try my best to upload some pictures and post some updates. Seeing family and friends has been a highlight of our summer, and visiting old eateries and places, processing paperwork/mail accumulated over the past year, making visits to doctors for annual check-ups, putting together slides and presentations on our work in Vietnam, and picking up things for next year such as Caleb's homeschooling materials, medicines, vitamins etc. have kept our days full.

Here's a picture of the Dao Family taken over the July 4th weekend at Andy's parents' home. His dad wanted to take a picture on this rare occasion when all his children are together. And Caleb had a blast playing with his cousins as if they'd always known each other.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How time changes the look

I was looking through old boxes for my childhood piano books thinking I might get Caleb on the piano this summer. I found one of my very first piano books published in 1955 with yellowed out pages. I then checked on Amazon for the latest edition published in 2005. I was amused to see how the elves have turned into colorful monsters in 50 years.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Yesterday we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Caleb wanted to take us out to Black Angus for dinner and so that's where we went. Andy and I loaded up on all the good beef we can get here while Caleb enjoyed his favorite Mac'n Cheese. We thank the Father for blessing us with our first 15 and His never ending mercies!