Recently I made my first trip back to my motherland, Vietnam. I hadn’t step foot into this beautiful country since escaping it at age 5 with my mom. It was an eye opening experience that grounded me back to what I sorely missed, family. Growing up I lived with a lot of extended family members, very communal. We spent every weekend together over potlucks and karaoke. As we grew up and entered college, everyone started going their own way and the families dispersed across the country. Little by little each family unit began doing their own thing for birthdays, holidays and vacations. Now I live in the hustle bustle of LA far away from my family, excluding my sister, whom I was able to convince to move here two years ago. I came to Hollywood without knowing a single soul and threw myself into the rat race. Today is my BIG 30th birthday (x 12 – 80 x 20 / 800 + 13 x 2) and looking back upon my life there are many things I wished could have been different but I went through them and it’s made me who I am today and I’m thankful for it. For the second third of my life here are the changes I’m making:
1) Quality Time – Truly spend time with important people in my life. Which means not looking at my phone. Setting it to silent. If I have a time limit, I will set an alarm so I don’t have to be distracted by constantly checking in on the time. When I was in Vietnam this was what I really enjoyed the most. People just spending time with each other. When they had enough of you, they go home. People making eye contact on the street instead of looking at their phones.
2) Volunteer – More specifically, I want to donate my photography to more nonprofits. Right now I’m only donating my photography to a rescue mission here on Skid Row, but I’d like to maybe travel abroad in the future and perhaps work with organizations in Vietnam.
3) Create More Family – Friends are family by choice. I want to send out more energy into the Universe to attract good people into my life. Currently I have a handful of people that are dear to me and we share the same views and values in life. I want to expand this more into my everyday life here in LA.
4) Move Mom – I want to move my mom down here to LA so that I could be closer to her. She’s beginning her last third of her life and I want to spend as much time with her as possible. Plus when I decide to have kids, I want grandma around to teach them Vietnamese and see the joy on her face.
5) Be an Inspiration – For my nephews, nieces, friends, people. I want to live my life full of love and treat people with compassion. I want to be a change in the World and cause a domino effect. I want to have a marriage and family that others will strive for.
So here’s to love, family and giving back.
A few images from Vietnam