Puff Pastries

It’s 10 p.m. on a Friday, and I am stress-baking.

It’s 10 p.m. on a Friday, I have a metre-long to-do list for the weekend, and I am typing away while waiting for my batch of puff pastries to rise nicely in the oven. Stress-baking, that’s what it might be.

1.

When I was around 11-12, my Mum, my very Vietnamese Mum, took up bakingat the time, to most households, a convection oven was treated as a luxury. French gâteaux. French pastries. She printed out stacks of recipes on A5 sheetswith ingredients put in bold, measurements underlined, important notes in italicall neatly laminated, hole-punched, and bound with a gold ribbon. Her proudest moment, one that I can recall vividly, was when she took a tray full of puffy croissants out of our tiny oven, joy dancing in her eyes; she had spent that entire Sunday folding and rolling out, from scratch, a batch of puff pastry.

For years, up until her career took a turn, Mum had kneaded and mixed and baked. These days, whenever they are flooding back, my teenage memories always fill me with the smell of dough and fresh cream and butter. Continue reading “Puff Pastries”

Being comfortable with being uncomfortable*

*Titled borrowed from TED Talk Get comfortable with being uncomfortable by Nigerian author/speaker Luvvie Ajayi, although the talk is not completely related to this reflection.

Were I an inanimate object, I bet I’d make a great label maker. The fact that a personal hand-held label maker is on my all-time wish list certainly doesn’t alleviate the comicality.

Continue reading “Being comfortable with being uncomfortable*”

No, Mia is not my only name.

Am I Mia? Or am I not?

Note: slightly edited on 29 August 2018.

If you were to meet me right now, here, in Australia, and ask me what my name was, I’d be most likely giving out this answer:

“I’m Mia.”

But that is, in some sense, a lie. Because my original name is not Mia. It’s Đỗ Dương Minh Anh  (yep, the Vietnamese version with all the correct ‘accent marks’). ‘Accent marks’ aside, written in the first name – middle name – last name format, it should be Minh-Anh Duong Do or Minh-Anh Do-Duong. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with Duong Minh Anh Do in all of my translated ID papers, including my uni transcript and my name in the roll call for all of my subjects. Meaning, whoever looking at that would think my name is Duong. It hadn’t really bothered me much, since I requested to add an alternate first name – Mia – to my personal details, and my life became a teeny little easier.

Until today. Continue reading “No, Mia is not my only name.”

Mia got MIA – An Explanation & Something I’ve Come to Terms with

I feel like owing you guys a reason for my recent Missing-In-Action weeks

I’ve been Missing In Action for the past three weeks, and here’s why: (1) I had second thoughts about my choice of field, which pushed me to quite a break-down, and (2) my ideas kept showing up at very, very, very inappropriate time. Continue reading “Mia got MIA – An Explanation & Something I’ve Come to Terms with”

A Toddlers’ Business

Learning a new language when you’re a grown-up is like being a toddler once again, trust me!

Not-so-new news, I’m taking up another foreign language – le français!

It all started when I found out I could declare a minor in my Bachelor course (Communication and Media Studies), and as I was looking through a long list of possible minors on offer, I spotted French. Four FREN subjects, one for each semester, and I can even plow harder and do an extra one in my last session! What’s not to like? Continue reading “A Toddlers’ Business”

The forgotten dreams’ keeper

I picked those dreams up, I dusted them off/because they are meant to soar

White and black keys, fingers gliding,

melodies glistening;

I was four when Dad took me to my first piano lesson:

“You know what, sweetie,

I will learn to play it too,

very soon, you’ll see.”

but I wasn’t paying that much attention.

 

A prize in Math, good grades in Literature,

something about me being smart, and will have a bright future;

I was six when Mom went to my first-grade parents-teacher meeting,

“You know what, sweetie,

I was an A student, just like you,

I could surely have studied abroad.”

but I wasn’t really listening.

 

I was fourteen and my fingers were dancing on black and white keys,

Dad didn’t know the chords, he couldn’t find time to learn,  

“You’re awesome at this, sweetie, 

keep on, and surprise me.”

 

I was eighteen and couldn’t wait to get admitted into a college in another country,

“I didn’t get to go, but I met your Dad,’

Mom smiled and continued her story,

“and we had you, my good girl, now you can go wherever you want to be.”

 

Mom had her chance, Dad had his,

but they chose to leave their dreams behind

for me to keep mine

 

but little do they know

I turned back and followed the paths in stories they told;

I picked those dreams up, I dusted them off,

and now they’re with me wherever I go

 

for now I see it all 

what I never noticed,

what I never listened to;

 

they were hearty dreams, they were forgotten,

and they are meant to soar

Forgotten dreams
(artwork by me)

2017.04.20
Mia

“Lấp lửng”, nhạc của H., và thơ Nguyễn Thế Hoàng Linh

Tranh mình vẽ, nhạc Hải viết, và một vài vẩn vơ về thơ N.T.H.L.

LẤP LỬNG

có gì để trách nhau đâu
gặp nhau thì cố một câu mỉm chào
có gì để trách nhau nào
khi ta lấp lửng chưa vào tim nhau

Nguyễn Thế Hoàng Linh

Continue reading ““Lấp lửng”, nhạc của H., và thơ Nguyễn Thế Hoàng Linh”