Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mom's Year

This year is going to be the Year of the Rat. I visited the folks this past weekend in Little Saigon to check out the Tết festivities. The market was already congested with local and visiting Vietnamese families (a lot of my relatives are coming into town starting this weekend and there'll be a new addition to the family(!), I'll explain in another post). There was an air of excitement, it was absolutely festive. Tết is a time of excess. I love this time of year. It gets super busy the week before Tết. People are stacking up on food, fruit, candy, flowers, trinkets and firecrackers in anticipation for the holiday.

I remember as a child, I didn't have to go to school on Tết. It was my parents' idea. So cool. And I couldn't wait to get those red envelopes. No school and you are rewarded with money? WTF? That's like the ultimate as a kid. Total dream. These days, it's the other way around now that I'm an "adult." Now I have to save up months in advance to give to the little kiddies. They expect a lot these days.

Vietnamese take great care to start the New Year out just right which means wearing new clothes, having heaps of food at home, getting rid of old debts, ill feelings, etc... My mom said I can't even clean as that's bad luck; I'll be sweeping out any good luck. This will be very hard for me to do since I love to clean. It's a compulsion of mine. Luckily, I just cleaned my place so it'll be good until after Tet. Goodness.

The flower market gets bigger with each year. There's even going to be parade on Bolsa Avenue this New Year! Little Saigon is all you need during this time of the year. It's even better than being in Vietnam. I was gorging on everything; the food, incense, the flowers, the treats, the colors, the culture, the tradition. I love it so.

Yum yum rambutan. Yum yum muffin top.

Yum yum banh beo. The best may be found at Quan Hy.

Updated, these one dimensional paper clothes have gotten more stylish and modern; cool frames, mobile phones, flashy trainers... People burn these paper clothes as an offering to the dead so they too can celebrate with new duds for the New Year.

My family is going to attend this big cultural event NYE and my mom suggested I wear an áo dài. I'm down with that but really can't fit in any of my old ones so I was thinking of getting a new dress. Somehow I really can't really see myself wearing any one of these on the mannequins. I might have to try to lose weight so I can squeeze into an old one from like a decade ago. These are a bit hideous no? Could I rock it?

Went in for a spontaneous haircut. Told the lady to just chop it all off. Who cares. It'll grow back. Out with the old, in with the new.

Tunes I've been digging this past month.
1. Destroyer's Trouble in Dreams (OMFG, it's awesome. MY FAVORITE)
2. The Magnetic Fields' Distortion (I love Steven Merritt, so much beauty can be found through the noise.)
3. The Explorers Club's Freedom Wind (This is as pure pop as it gets and I love me some good pop music.)
4. Vampire Weekend, s/t (they're ready for grad school now.)