Travel Blog

Stay You'll Stay by Kai Song reminds me of AOL era

May 19, 2019
I'm going to take you back, way back. Today I was reminiscing R & B songs from the 90s and thinking back to my early teenage years. I suddenly looked up Kai "Say You'll Stay" song by an Asian-American group and played it over and over again. I almost wanted to cry. There were so many people on the internet in early AOL days who loved that song. It was burned on CD's, dedicated to girls on pager intros (before cell phones were big) and used as the theme songs for many relationships. So here it is, a dedication from me to all you OG internet people.


May you have good luck for 2019

February 1, 2019
Well, here it comes; my animal year! 2019 will be the year of the pig starting on Tues, February 5th, 2019. It only comes every 12 years. 

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately. I've got a bit of a medical problem that I pray will work itself out. I've also been going through a big transition in my life. I just moved, like 8 states from where I was at. Sometimes when life has been going so well, you forget the other sad elements that can come too. It's just how life is, and never perfect all the time. 

So I pray that we all get what we deserve in the new lunar year. Work hard, play hard and live smart. << That's my motto. Everything needs to have a balance. 

There are 4 Lunar Year festivals in San Diego this year. That's huge, you guys! I know I won't be able to go to four of them but I am definitely planning on going to the one in Balboa Park. It's free admission and I love Balboa Park. Check out the whole list of lunar year festivals/tet festivals in San Diego for 2019

Is anyone like me waiting for the Game of Thrones to come back on? Come on now, it's going to be a long winter!  Are you team Targaryen (Dragon) or team Stark (Wolf)? I'm all for Jon Snow and he's both! (Spoiler alert if you're not caught up.)

AIM is no more and old users are saddened

November 11, 2018
At the end of 2017, AIM (America Online Instant Messenger) was discontinued. Synonymous with the beginning usage of the internet by my generation as teenagers, it was the start of many people's interest of using a computer, every single day. This was over 20 years ago for me when I started using AIM. 

The abbreviation ASL was understood by everyone in the chatroom. Random strangers would start conversations with you without knowing anything about you except for your screen name. And then they hope that judging by your screen name, they could guess your gender. Sometimes, I'd get it wrong. Now, thinking about it makes me laugh! 

Filled with young people who couldn't drive, had strict parents or didn't know how to socialize well in person, AIM and the AOL chatrooms were their haven to express themselves without fear of being judged. This was where I learned how to talk 'ghetto', even though my English was proper and I knew my grammar. It started an interesting culture of people that carried on to outside the chat box too. 

People could meet other people from different countries without having to use a phone! This was huge back then. Today we use a phone for everything!  People would end up sitting down on their computers just to chat for hours. I know I did it. I created my very first website as a teenager (using a template, of course) because I wanted to have a way to share my pictures to people I would meet in the AOL chat room. Doesn't that sound pathetic? Of course I don't do that any more! It's been decades but to think what started it all; I could only think of AOL. 

AOL and AIM were the prequel to Facebook and Facebook messenger, by decades. In some ways they are so different but similar at the same time. It's funny to me how every once in awhile I'll think about AOL and try to remember what my screen name was. It was so long ago and I've forgotten. Do you remember yours? 

I know many of my friends also ended up meeting people they met in the chat room in person! Most of the time, the girl gets disappointed and ended up not talking to that person any more after meeting them. There have been a few success stories but they are really rare. 

I found out that they started AIM Phoenix and that if you want, you can sign up and create an account using the same screen name that you used for the old AIM, if it hasn't been claimed yet. Who knows, maybe this AIM Phoenix will replace Facebook. The world may never know.

And for you younglings, the ASL abbreviation I mentioned about stood for Age, Sex, Location. There, you have it. 

2019 will be the Year of the Pig

October 19, 2018
I'm looking forward to 2019 already and it's still only October. A lot of sadness happened in 2018. I'm praying that it'll get better.

Every new year, we all hope that it would be in our favor. We look at horoscopes, fortune telling sites and to our elders to find the answers to what it means for our year when Tet, lunar new year, comes around. 

I think that no matter what they say, we all have to try our best to work hard in our careers, relationships and health. You don't get healthy by sitting around at home nor find the love of your life that way either. So go ahead and jot down tangible goals! For example, don't just simply say: I want to lose weight. Say, I want to lose 10lbs or an x amount of weight. 

When it comes to love, I always think trying TOO hard to make a relationship work is bad too. Try but not force. Like for instance, if you'd like to ask someone out on a date, ask them out on a date nicely. If they say no, don't say 'please, give me a chance'. Just move on, and find another more suitable love prospect. Let things fall in line naturally. If there is that chemistry with 2 people, it'll be more special. Be you and be comfortable being you. 

Asian Corner in Charlotte for Pho and Banh Mi

September 9, 2018
For Labor Day weekend, we were in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the Carowinds and also made a stop to our favorite banh mi restaurant called Le's Sandwiches and tried a pho restaurant nearby. They were both located at the Asian Corner shopping center.

I have never seen a Vietnamese sandwich this small and see it be so incredibly successful. The owner, who is always the cashier, only takes cash but charges tax on all of his transactions. I've never been handed a receipt from this place and as much as I don't like being robbed of my money, I still shell out my cash for their delicious and well-made Vietnamese banh mi (sandwiches). I always get the #1 (banh mi thit nguoi, also known as the combination).

In the same shopping center, we went to Truc's Restaurant. The pho did not seem fresh to me but the flavor was all there. They also had bun bo hue, bun rieu and other popular Vietnamese dishes. 

Around Vietnamese New Year, this Asian Corner shopping center usually hosts a tet celebration with lion dances and firecrackers.

This shopping center also has a supermarket. Although the building is a bit run down, there is real potential for this place to grow.

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