Sunday, December 26, 2004

Lễ Đính Hôn

Cake Cutting
Originally uploaded by kimbalina.
I'm engaged...again. We are officially engaged in the eyes of our families. Yesterday, on Christmas Day, we had our official Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony, also known as Lễ Đính Hôn.

According to tradition, the groom's family asks the bride's family for permission for their son to ask for their daughter's hand in marriage.

Yesterday, Bertrand's family brought gifts called "quả" containing fruit, tea, special cake, and jewelry wrapped in red paper along with a roasted pig. His family walked down the street to the my parent's home holding these packages while walking in a single file line. My family welcomed them at the door. Bertrand's mom stated the family's reason for coming and asked my parents for permission for him to have my hand in marriage. After some prayer and singing, my mom came upstairs to bring me out for the ceremony. Our pastor shared some words of wisdom and Bertrand's mom gave and put jewelry on me. Both sides of the family then introduced all of the relatives and told Bertrand and me what we are now supposed to call them. According to tradition, after the ceremony, we are each officially a part of the other's family. I now call his mom, "Má" (Mom) and he calls my parents "Ba" and "Mẹ" (Dad and Mom). After the ceremony, my dad invited all of the guests to join us in a small reception where the families got to socialize and celebrate.

It was great to have all of our family and close friends together with us not only to celebrate Christmas but to join in the celebration of our engagement.

Friday, December 24, 2004

All Grown Up

I went to a friend's Christmas party last night and came to the realization that we are all finally 'grown up'. When I was younger, I always heard 'older people' talk about how they didn't feel old and still felt like they were kids and I remember always thinking, 'whatever man, you're old, get over it.' At the party last night, someone pointed out that most of the party guests were couples who were dating seriously, engaged, or married. The main topics of conversation were about houses, weddings, careers, and future children.

Where did time go? Before my very eyes, I am one of those 'grown ups' now...even though I still feel like I am a kid.


It's Christmas Eve! I've been on vacation for the past few days to prepare for the upcoming holidays and for our engagement ceremony. Don't let that word 'vacation' deceive you. I have been busier on my so called 'vacation' then I ever was on my regular every day schedule. In the past two days, I have driven around more than I have in the past two weeks. I've been running about a bazillion and one errands all over the Bay area and have dusted and cleaned just about every corner of the house. It's a good thing I'm in the holiday mood which makes all of these things actually enjoyable.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sights, Sounds, and Smells

Originally uploaded by kimbalina.

Things have been a bit crazy for me this past week. Despite all of the excitement, calling friends and family, and planning that has been taking place, I have still been able to enjoy everything that's going on around me. The holidays have always been my favorite time of the year. I love the hustle and bustle that happens everywhere. Sometimes I like going to the mall just to walk around and see all of the people, decorations in the store windows, and of course catch a glimpse of Santa Clause. I start listening to Christmas music as soon as the air starts to feel a little nippy, even if that means it's only October. I love the smell of peppermint in the air around the coffee shops and bakeries. I love eating warm cookies fresh out of the oven, to hear my family talking and laughing in the other room, and cuddling up on the couch with my blankie. The holidays always bring back happy memories for me of years past and this year another unforgettable memory was added to my collection. This year, on Christmas Day, my entire family on both sides of my family along with Bertrand's family will be getting together for our traditional Vietnamese engagement ceremony along with the biggest Christmas family get-together yet. I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My Early Christmas Present

We're engaged!
Originally uploaded by kimbalina.
On Saturday evening, Bertrand gave me my most memorable Christmas present ever. Yes, it is true. Amidst a park full of Christmas lights and under the big Christmas tree, he asked me to be his wife. I could not be more happy, excited, or feel more special than he has made me feel.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Communication Problems

Dialogue between me and Bertrand while I was working and he was looking through a book:

Bertrand: Wow, I totally want to go to France

What I heard:
Bertrand: Wow, I totally want to go to Phantom (as in Phantom of the Opera)

Me: Huh? You've never been?
Bertrand: What? I haven't been back since I left.
Me: What?'ve already been?
Bertrand: Yeah, I used to live there.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Shuttle Me

The best way to commute to work is listening to your pretty iPod mini, closing your eyes, and laughing at all the stressed people in their cars. I took the shuttle into work today for the first time (soon to be many) and despite the early morning, am having a great day.

I could get used to this.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Not so happy feeling

It's not so great when your neck is stiff after a big fall while snowboarding and you can't move around all day without feeling pain. It's also not so great when you make a massage appointment and look forward to it all day, but when you walk over for it, realize you scheduled the appointment for the wrong day.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Ringing in the Holidays

There's no better way to ring in the holidays than with a Google Holiday party and snowboarding in Tahoe. The party was as fun and amazing as could be imagined. I even got a manicure while I was AT the party. Yes, that's right, not before the party but while I was there.

Despite reported bad weather, the weather was actually perfect for boarding. It's been almost a year since the last time I've been snowboarding and I basically had to relearn how to board. Around mid-day we tried a long run that looked like it'd be fun on the trail map. That trail kicked my butt due to the random flat spots and my friend agreed to call it a day with me once that was over. Since we were on the Nevada side of the mountain, we ended up taking a detour and grabbed the wrong gondola back to the lodge. After taking an unintentional tour of South Lake Tahoe, we finally caught the right shuttle and got back to the car. Every muscle in my body is now feeling the results of the first snowboarding of the season.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

My Mini

My Mini
Originally uploaded by kimbalina.
After a morning of shopping and then part of the afternoon Christmas tree hunting, we headed up to San Francisco for the annual International Car Show where auto makers displayed and showed off their new models for the year, concept cars, and where people (men mostly) came to drool over the shiny automobiles. It was pretty neat seeing nearly every auto maker there with every type of car from Hondas to Ferraris and Asten Martens. I got to play around with a bunch of cars I saw on the road but never actually rode in or saw the inside to. I also learned, from several of the men standing around, that taking a picture of a car wasn't just taking a picture but you have to have 'just the right angle, with a view of the front and the side, or the back and the side'. Most of the people were gathered around the luxury cars and sports cars, but I was more excited to see the Mini. I already have an iPod mini, why not a Mini couper too? Anyways, Santa, I've been a good girl this year. I would like this for Christmas please.