Last night was lovely. I spent it under a blanket of stars and in front of decadent food with Wiebe, Konstantin, Matías, and Michelle, all Theme Division coworkers at Automattic.
We talked about everything: love, work, travel, what going back to where we came from feels like, and stress. We’re an international bunch — Canadian, German expat in America, Uruguayan, American, and American expat in Vietnam — and each one of our perspectives brought great richness to the table. I’m thankful to work with such brilliant individuals who care about their craft, live their lives with meaning, and have varied interests outside of work.
The meal was breathtaking and the restaurant setting of Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa was otherworldly.
Ahi Sashimi, Hamachi & Compressed Watermelon, Wasabi Crusted Calamari
Swordfish, Pacific Prawns, Kona Cold Lobster
Molten Chocolate Cake
Today’s lunch, from Living Foods Market in Koloa, Hawaii.
This was probably the worst LFML meal I’ve ever had in my life, but the customer service and flight attendants were generally so amazing that I wasn’t too bothered by it at all. The peanuts I ate instead were good.
I’m in Lihue, Hawaii, now for a team meetup. Much of my week will be spent discussing premium themes on WordPress.com, drafting plans moving forward for the entire Theme Division at Automattic (we’re getting big and still growing), and spending quality in-person time with coworkers who I only see a few times per year.
I’ve been somewhat quiet on the food-slash-life front lately; Hanoi’s winter stole my soul. But everything is picking up again and the beginning of what will be a whirlwind year is here. I’ve been in Ho Chi Minh City for a few days to attend the wedding of a friend — I wish I would have known that turning 30 would mean suddenly being thrust into a world of nonstop weddings and babies — and on Monday morning I will fly to Lihue, Hawaii, for work. For all of February I will be in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with my grandmother and March is shaping up to be a month spent in Texas (SXSW, here I come!). After that? Well, I’ll get to that a bit later.
It feels strange to say this, but I’m having small doubts about life in Hanoi. I’ve been there for many years now, and I am hoping that these several months away from the city will give me clarity about the future. Vietnam has been such a huge part of my life for the last decade — it’s remarkable to think that mostly all of my 20s were spent here — and to imagine living anywhere else feels so weird to me.
But there’s a constant itch in my brain that keeps telling me there’s something else out there, whether that means moving to a different city (or returning to Saigon) in Vietnam or moving somewhere new. I often throw out locations like San Francisco, New York City, Tokyo, and Singapore as the next semipermanent stops, but the more I read about the US-based locations the more I fear the living expenses. And the more I think about Tokyo and Singapore the more I’m inclined to try them out for a few months before making any big decisions. They also require smart financial planning.
I wrote that my major goal this year is to let go, take everything as it happens, and live more in the moment. I’m getting there super-slowly, but I’m doing my best. While I can’t shut off the “maybe there’s something else out there” switch in my brain entirely, I can at least recognize when those thoughts are occurring and try to separate the positivity from the doubt. I am excited about life right now and whatever else may come this way.
Tonight I ate with Uyen, who I’ve known since 2004 (we attended the same university in Saigon), and talked about life, happiness, love, food, travel, and the future. I would not have chosen any other way to spend a Friday night here.
Green Papaya Salad, Fresh Spring Rolls, Grilled Vegetables
It’s officially reached the point in Hanoi where two air conditioners set to 28 °C and three layers of clothing just aren’t enough, so I’m not entirely sure why I went the route of eating something cold for Ehrin‘s post-birthday lunch. Either way, we had a lovely time chatting about amazing method actors, New Zealand, and stress. Random topics delight me.