The Reason Why I Left and Stayed

This was an interesting summer for me. Unlike the previous ones, I have no plans this time around. A couple of projects with a major studio, freelance hosting gigs, and some Downtown Fullerton fun, but aside from that, I had no agenda to follow, appointment to schedule, and days to be filled. Things were up in the air and that was something I knew I had to get used to. Now I didn't want to stress myself out by mapping out my entire future (something I've done many times before) because for once, I genuinely wanted to enjoy the moment. And when I say 'enjoy the moment,' I mean less social media, less picture-taking, and more of appreciating the scenery in its entirety. Eat the food to eat the food. Not just so I can take a photo of it and put it on Instagram. Essentially, all I wanted or better yet, all I needed, was to escape from the world for just a little awhile. So when the opportunity arrived, I took it.

Two days before my twenty-second birthday, my mother gave me a phone-call and told me to pick up three plane tickets to Vietnam. Was I shocked? Yes. But amongst trying to pack and prepare for the big day, the anxiety began to build up. 'Was this the right thing to do?' 'Should I leave now?'

At the time, I did not have an answer, but now that I have the chance to look at things in perspective, I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I've made. Yes, my heart is loyal to its California ways, but I'm a person who refuses to forget about her roots and mine just happens to be in the heart of Vietnam---Ho Chi Minh City.

I'll go in more details about my trip another time, but for now, I wanted to illustrate the state I was in prior to my departure.

I was lost. I was tired. I was confused. I was someone who just needed to figure herself out. I wanted answers. I felt like I was always running out of time.

While I don't recommend running away as a solution, I can tell you that there is something so incredibly uplifiting when it comes with traveling to a foreign country. Yes, I've been to Vietnam a couple of times before but somehow, someway, I always manage to come back a changed woman.

Here are some of the things I've learned:

1) Every culture is different. Don't be offended if someone refuses to accept your ideologies and perspectives. 2) There is no 'right' way of doing things. Just do you. 3) Don't judge a book by its cover. Open it. Read it. It will surprise you. 4) Some people don't change. Some people do. 5) Family is important. Separate those who claim to be your family versus those who act like family. 6) Continue to appreciate the small things in your life. For me, it was the rain, the city lights, the street food at 11 AM, the porridge carts, the honks and horns.