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Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Life Reimagined, Vietnam | 0 comments

Alone in Hai Phong

The hardest thing I have ever done was spend 2 plus weeks alone in Vietnam. So far away from friends and family and not speaking the language. Even though I knew how lonely it is, I left my husband for what I thought was 4 weeks, but it has stretched on and on. Here are some of John’s ramblings . . .

Miscellaneous ramblings on one day and the alone factor
September 2, 2015 5:30pm

On the rooftop terrace after an early dinner. I made my special recipe burrito and I have to admit, quite delicioso. Now a Padron Aniversario and a little writing. Rain is falling but the makeshift roof over the terrace is keeping me dry (for now). And so I write…

Made it through my birthday week (August 27th), without going insane. Dawn left the week before to go home to visit. It was a trip well deserved and needed. At the time when we were planning her trip we were planning on me being back just after mid-September, now it looks like almost mid-October before I can get back. Not good. That’s the only problem with having great marriage and being so in love with your spouse who happens to be your best friend. When we are apart, it doesn’t leave me with much but me, myself and I. Yes there is work, and reading, my music and TV. Thank goodness for Netlflix and Amazong… and of course the daily Skyping with Dawn and sometimes my mom and brothers and the kids… (not frequent enough). And there is exercise and our Koi fish and an occasional gecko friend to surprise me. None of them are quite as enjoyable without that my friend and lover to share them with. The little things, the little routines, just knowing she is with me or nearby and the big things, the hugs and kisses, the talks and walks, the exploring… all I miss dearly right now. The solitude of a life so far apart at the moment, can make each moment almost unbearable and silence almost deafening.


enjoying some sunset rays on the rooftop

Cool breeze and 80 degrees… than goodness for small favors.
Only have 38 more days to go… piece of cake, yeah right.
So a day in the life in Vietnam… by myself.
Not a typical day is a Vietnamese holiday, National Day; so quiet day at home catching up on my project work.


Next door to our home is a shop where they host funerals. These wagons are ready to roll.

Rise and shine at 6 (not sure if its age or what but sleeping in is a rarity anymore. 7 is a luxury sleep in.

First coffee, a must. After coffee is poured, Skype with Dawn, have to have coffee first to wake up. Get caught up on her day, makes me miss her more but she can make me smile and laugh and I need that more than ever now.

Breakfast, the usual… yogurt with granola, and bananas and oh yes a little bit of cinnamon and honey on top. I do miss the occasional “big” breakfast, pass the bacon please!

Since I left my power cord in my office yesterday, I need to go there first this morning before I can work. Taxi or cycle. Made the right decision to bike it, need to keep exercising, good for the body and soul. Important ingredient in maintaining my sanity.

Nice pace, not much traffic being a holiday. Traffic meaning about a million motorbikes. Around the lake once and then a route that takes me off of any main road and through a couple of small neighborhoods. Met a horse (see photo), named him Trigger (okay so not very original). Quite a few wild horses roam around the area but this one was a bit healthier and bigger than most. After a couple of pics I continued through a nice little neighborhood on a narrow street getting a frequent “hello”, especially from the kids; and if someone stares at me, I just say hello… xin chao (sin chow),, and they usually at least smile or xin chao me back . My mission in life for now… make people smile at the friendly token American.


Trigger taking a stroll around the lake

The villages here are all different sizes, all different in feel but mostly small tight knit commune like neighborhoods, kinda like you would find in the average U.S. city with neighborhood housing developments except these developments are typically on the lower income side with lots of little shops that double as homes and lots of little roadside stands the sell everything from cigarettes to food, fruit and vegetable to the occasional street barber. They may be lower income on average, but they are generally clean and well taken care of.


neighborhood fruit stand


lake side garden

Thursday, Sept 10
Even when busy with work, I still miss Dawn. As hard as I try to stay positive and not let myself get so melancholy, that lonesome cloud creeps in, disables my automatic busy, reasonably happy mode, and puts me into the seemingly slow motion “woes me” mode. No pity part necessary, that’s going on in my head and heart. Ahh for sleep, my escape from the loneliness.

Under 30 days now and counting… oh how time goes by soooooo slow when you want it to dissolve into right now.

September 12, the day after 9/11

do you remember where we were? Together, that’s where we were. Where we belong… together.
I love you from the bottom of my heart, with all of my hear (oh – I remember, sitting in our bed, you were shaving and I was watching with disbelief what was happening. Slowly the kids came in and sat and watched the tv with us.)

Some people, maybe most, if they are lucky during their lifetime…get a glorious slice of life, of real living, of real love.


BV – Before Vietnam


Overlooking the rice paddies in Sapa, Vietnam

And somehow I, quite undeservingly so, managed to find you and with you and because of you, I have found much more than my share of living. So much more than I could have every hoped for or imagined.

I am happy, beyond happy, sitting at this crazy and uncertain table of life; you have served me with the simplest and most pure, the most beautiful and wondrous… recipe of love.

I am grateful.

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Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Life Reimagined, Travel, Vietnam | 0 comments

Back in the USA – Family, Friends and Fresh Starts

It is so, so good to be back home for a visit. My first week was a whirl of parties and reunions but now I am up in Port Townsend for a visit with my parents at their timeshare.


Sammamish Nights

I love Puget Sound. Every summer growing up we would climb aboard my grandfather’s boat, a remodeled Navy Gig. During WW2 boats like the one my grandfather ended up were used to ferry naval officers from the shore to the boats. My grandfather was one of those guys that could fix anything. He replaced the engine with a diesel engine, made the interior into a narrow but working galley complete with a wood stove, added two bedrooms, one of which doubled for a bathroom. We would spend a week or so digging clams, picking oysters up off the beach and slowly chugging our way from Hoods Head to Mats Mats Bay. We had our favorite swimming holes where the incoming tide would race over the warm sand pushing up the water temperatures enough to make it bearable. If we were really lucky we would be with him at the end of their trip and come back through the locks, heading through Lake Union and then onto Lake Washington.

It is sooo quiet where we are staying.  At night I can sleep with the window open and all I hear is the rain falling and/or the wind blowing. Much different than the roosters, barking dogs and honking horns that I am used to now.

Being in the Northwest means lots of hikes and walks and I am certainly getting all my steps in. My Aunt, my Mom and me, walked down to the beach and back up the steep grade to the condo. The next day we walked to Port Townsend – a five mile hike through Old Fort Townsend State Park and along the Larry Scott Trail into town. My 81 year old mom kicked my butt on the walk, although she occasionally got a little confused on which way to go.

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Trying to remember where the trail is.

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My appreciation for the beauty of the Northwest continues to grow when I am away.  I am working my way through all of the parks in Sammamish and spending much quality time with my family and friends.

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My sister and I visiting her son at his work.

Fresh starts mean that we get to celebrate the soon-to-be newest member of our family. Grandson #1 is on his way.

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Celebrating our soon to be grandson.

I got a good laugh with one of my nephews told his dad, “it isn’t illegal to wear socks with sandals. I did and I didn’t get arrested.” I have learned to ignore my adult children when they make fun of my sock clad feet. I feel perfectly happy and my toes are warm.



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