how i met vi.

a few days ago, while paroosing the second-hand book shop, i happened across a compilation of short stories by Paul Auster. well, not actually, “by” paul auster (which is too bad, because i love that man) but rather by 183 americans who decided to write NPR with a small anecdote about their lives to be read on NPR’s This American Life (which just so happens to be my very favorite of all NPR programs). naturally, without any hesitation, i bought it.

needless to say, the last few days i have been savoring the random tid bits my fellow countrymen and women have chosen to share with the rest of us. at the end of every story is the author’s name and where they live. i have been dreaming up crazy stories about what they might be like after reading just a tiny fragment of their life. i feel oddly connected to these people whom i have never, and most likely, will never meet. but, i suppose that’s what the book is all about. i have read stories about love, war, dreams, and even about a chicken who knew how to let himself in a screen door by himself. while they’re not all poetic masterpieces, they are especially poignant and in my opinion, time very well spent reading.

so, i have been carrying this book everywhere. on the bus, on the skytrain, everywhere. yesterday kevin decided that a trip to Pantip Plaza (a 3 story building solely devoted to selling electronic goods of every kind) was in order. not surprisingly, i declined and let him do his nerdy gadget shopping independent of his naggy “kevin, are you ready yet?!” girlfriend. instead, i thought a trip to Lumpini Park (one of our favorite hangouts) sounded nothing short of perfect. i could people-watch, read by the water, and just lay around under the shade of one of it’s many trees. so, we went our separate ways, and i headed down to the park. i cannot begin to tell you how amazing my afternoon was. lounging under this giant tree, water rushing by, people jogging, temperature at a balmy 70ish degrees…and my book…it was perfect. i was laughing, crying, and overall just totally immersed in the richness of these stories.

a few stories in, i started to read about a girl who’s day was going totally, and completely wrong. she was trying to make it across country for a funeral, during which she got on the wrong expressway to the airport 3 times, left her credit card at the gas station, realized she had brought the wrong check book, used her last few cents to buy a lottery ticket (on accident) instead of to make a phone call (i dont totally understand how this happened, but it seems like both the lottery ticket machine and pay phone were right next to each other? strange.) and the list goes on. i must admit, that i was enjoying her misfortune, and was chuckling to myself throughout the entire story. it was quite well written. so, after recanting the entire story about her god-forsaken day, she writes, “it’s annoying when life seems to shit on you when you least expect it.”

end of story. i smile.

just then, with this ridiculous grin plastered on my face, a pigeon shit all over me. and i do mean ALL over. all over my thighs, calves, feet and my hand. it is everywhere. so, here i am, covered in shit, book in left hand, shit on right, laughing out loud at how ridiculous this situation is. then, out of no where, this tiny 5’1 asian girl comes up laughing too, and hands me a kleenex. “i’ve been living here 15 years,” she said, “and you never can plan for when you’ll get shit on…and not just by the birds…”

and this, is how i met vi.

Thanksgiving with prostitutes

Thanksgiving with prostitutes

I realize this blog may have a mixed audience so I’ll leave out the graphic depictions, but long story short Lindsay, Biggi, and I had Thanksgiving dinner at a bar/brothel tonight. It was actually a really high class place and the food was great, but it was certainly the first Thanksgiving dinner I’VE ever had that was served by somebody whom I could “hire” for “something that was NOT serving food.”

We had ham, turkey, yams, stuffing, gravy, tomato stuffed with green peas, and a piece of pumpkin pie with what tasted like real whipped cream. What’s more we sat with a 60+ year old drunk physiologist from LA who talked from the second we sat down until the second we left about his adventures and travels. Apparently he gave up working quite a while ago and has just traveled and done expensive things like learning to paint in Paris, and stuff, or something. Looked a bit like Jack Nicholson in the shining when he smiled. The girl you see in this photo is apparently a director or something who makes films in Sweden but lives in NYC… we didn’t talk to her, because as soon as she recognized the guy we were sitting with she moved to the other side of the bar.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

p.s. We’re thankful for all of you, in particular you who are reading this blog now.

p.p.s. I want to give credit where credit is due: Lindsay was 100% responsible for making Thanksgiving dinner plans, and without her I’d probably be sad and alone crying on a street somewhere or at least happily using my iPod Touch. Thank you SOOO much Lindsay, you are an angel and your teeth are so shinny and white (and big) and you are really great at cooking and I think your cheeks are very cute even though we all know they are a bit chimpmonkish. But only in a cute way. U r my little frog, my Wat Mahot, my little lamb.

we’re terrible bloggers.

so another picture post will have to suffice.
here’s what we’ve been up to (well, some highlights, anyway) since our last blog:


tubing down the mekong river in laos.


surprisingly, there were even ziplines and tree swings, which were AWESOME.
cuttie patootie.

we also volunteered at an organic farm.
here’s kev feeding and cleaning out the goat pen.

we also milked the goats and made goat cheese. it was deeelish.

then we went to this amazing waterfall.

we hiked up to the top (kev about freaked) and then went swimming in the rapids (not pictured).

then we traveled back to thailand for the last time!!! (chiang mai) and biked up to our favorite spot: the coffee village, which is about 30 km up the side of this amazing mountain. there aren’t any foreigners there, and it’s really just an amazing, unbelievably beautiful experience. we drank coffee (well, kev did), walked around the beautiful farm, and played soccer with a few of the guys that worked there. definitely a highlight of the trip.
i’ve decided i’m going to get on a co-ed team when i get home.
finally, as kev mentioned…i decided to run a marathon! so far, this is how i feel about it…

i have a feeling that my sentiments may change in a few hours.

dirk insisted that i needed to drink a lot of electrolyte drinks during the “training” process, which i personally hate and think are dumb. since there hasn’t been much (any) of a training process, i decided that one would be enough. here’s me enjoying my “electrolyte” (read: mcdonalds orange drink).


and finally, here i am with our crazy new german friends who talked me in to doing it to begin with. bridget and dirk, sporting our new spiffy special marathon shirts.

the bloody thing is in less than 10 hours, and i’ll be honest, i’m starting to freak a bit! kev and i are sitting in the internet cafe, biding time (he’s actually putting a bunch of podcasts and music on my ipod for my running enjoyment, such a sweetie.) before the big race! which, naturally won’t really be a “race” for me, but a “please god, let me finish it” experience. it starts at 2:00am and it’s supposed to rain. surprise, surprise. thank you, bangkok, for having awesomely humid and amazing weather. oh, and because i’m one of the runners who figures it will take them more than 5 hours to finish, i am running with the elderly (women aged 65-80 and men aged 70-90 :)) i’m sure the grannys and pops will kick my butt, but i can handle it. good for the ego.
gotta watch out for old people. their looks are deceiving.
regardless, i’m going to finish if i have to crawl my way to the finish line.
kev’s convinced that he has the hardest job, staying up for 8 hours, walking around looking for us, and taking pictures.
i’ll let you know if i live…or agree with him once the race is finished.
love and miss you all.
see you in (oh my god, less than a month!)
xxx
lgt
edited 5:37 PM POST race: i did it! and it was INCREDIBLE!!! although, my body is telling me (knees in particular) it wasn’t quite as “INCREDIBLE!!!” as i think it was. if i were just basing the experience on how my body felt, i would say potentially the “worst and most painful experience of my life.” but i’m not. i ran with a perfectly clear, “i know i can do this” mind, and it was without question one of the best experiences of my life. i seriously had a “runners high” the entire race (short of the last 3km, when i just wanted to see that finish line!!!!) i didn’t stop at all in the first 21km (1/2 marathon) and my time was around 2hr 15 min, which frankly, i’m pretty happy with. after km 20 though, i ran 2km and would walk for a while and start running again, and walk because my knees hurt so horrifically bad. but it was awesome. more than awesome. starting the run at 2:00 am in the king’s palace, surrounded by thousands of little old thai men and women (and a few young people, although i think i was one of the only (white) foreigners. the africans were ungodly fast, and passed me 2 hours after i had started (they started at 3:30 am) at the half-way point. naturally, they took the “golds” and “silvers” and “bronzes” etc, etc.
ahhH! running across bangkok’s largest bridge right at sunrise, watching the city wake up from the streetside, getting blessed by a monk (i think he was worried that my face was too red, and i might have a heart attack or something :)) and seeing kev at the finish line. amazing. i would do it again in a second….
well, maybe more than “a few seconds” 🙂
i’m starving, and kev and bridget and i are going to go rustle up some grub. one somewhat funny thing….at the end of the race, they handed out 2 mcdonalds burgers for ever finisher. isn’t that weird? at least a side salad seemed like maybe it would have been more appropriate.
regardless, i ate them both in less than 5 minutes 🙂
love you all.
cheers!

It’s been a long time…


too bright but on purpose, originally uploaded by Kevin Mitchell.

It’s been a long time since we posted anything, and this is not really anything worth writing home about (I think there’s a joke there somewhere), but I figured I’d at least share a picture I enjoy. It’s just a very quick version of what I hope will eventually be something I print out on a wall to remind me of what’s important in life. Lots of photoshop will be needed, but I’m convinced this photo has potential. It’s (as you may see if you read the description) a photo of a place that Lindsay and I stopped at often in Vang Vien Viang (spelling?) to have a water and a coke (total cost: ~80 cents) and look at the incredible rice fields… The photo truly does not do the place justice, the small shack you see was actually somebodies small house that they sold drinks from out front, and it was on a 30 or 40 foot cliff… so when seated on the mat yuo see in the front, you were sort of suspended over top of these beautiful fields… sort of like when Simba was held up in the lion king, same sort of feeling I would imagine.

Anyway, as of now we are actually out of Laos. It was amazing and we both wished we stayed longer, but incredibly Lindsay has decided to run a MARATHON in Bangkok on the 23rd of November so we’ve started the journey to BKK. We are currently in Chiang Mai, hanging out with some incredibly awesome people (Germans no less!) who we’ve been traveling with the past few weeks. There are running the marathon in BKK as well. I’m sure you’ll hear lots more about all of this, but for now I promised Lindsay I would be on the computer an hour and it’s going on three (sorry Lindz, I love you!). I’m really excited for Lindsay to run the marathon, it’s pretty crazy/incredible really, and I’m sure it’s going to be painful.

much love to you at home, and a special “shout out” to Ken and the rest of the SENA/NewPage “crew” – thanks for the email Ken, I got it a few hours ago and want to write you back (I’ve actually been meaning to drop you a line but Laos wasn’t an ideal email country!) but for now must run as you read above! It’s so nice to hear from you, I think of work in WI more often then you might believe (and I think of it fondly even!)!

noise.

ask yourself this question: what would you do if everything you heard…every radio, loud speaker, cell phone ring, supposed-to-be-entertainment-on-long-bus-rides “music videos,” EVERYTHING, besides the noise of incessant honking or rain patter, sounded like the beginning to “hopelessly devoted to you” on the Grease soundtrack?

(need a quick reminder? here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJpyG3PXoKw)

you’d kill yourself, right? well, let me assure you, i’m just about to my breaking point.

now, don’t get me wrong. i love grease. i love olivia newton john and idolized her snazzy black (p)leather getup. i know all the moves to “grease lightening” and have belted out “look at me, i’m sandra dee” (complete with motions) too many times to count.

“I don’t drink! (no)
Or swear! (no)
I don’t rat my hair! (eew)
I get ill from one cigarette! (cough, cough, cough)
Keep your filthy paws, off my silky draws! Would you pull that crap with Annette?”

love it.

i played that soundtrack front to back, back to front, over and over and over again. ask my parents. i was 10. i loved it. best christmas gift ever.

that said, there was one song too lame to ever listen to. this was clear to me at 10 years old, and the same holds true today. number 3 on the cd (fine, i just looked that up). skipped every time. i didnt want to hear about how painstakingly awful olivia’s breakup was, or how she could only ignore her heart for so long, and frankly, i don’t want to hear it now. please. let’s be honest. john travolta isn’t even all that cute. get over it. let’s get on to the more exciting things! lets rock out to the hand jive and forget all this sappy stuff, right?!

i know i’m sounding awfully cynical here. a real “debbie downer” on the breakup front. i know it’s unfair. hell, i’ve had my fair share of breakups (right kev? :))! i know what it feels like to be in misery over a man! (ha!) to be fair, as i’m sure many of you are familiar with, when you break up with someone you love you feel like the world’s gonna end. no. you WANT the world to end. all you want to do is sit, cry, and wallow in self-pity (alright, fine, maybe that’s just me:)). i don’t want anyone to tell me that it’s going to be alright. i don’t want to get up and go do something. i want to sit. cry. and wallow. oh, and listen to horribly sappy, horribly depressing music. like natalie merchant, or bonnie raitt’s “i cant make you love me.”

oh yeah. that’s a killer.
(and if it’s raining, thunder-storming, or just plain grey outside +10 pts).

we’ve all got our songs. phill collins (take a look at me now). the beatles (eleanor rigby). styx (babe). R.E.M. (everybody hurts). bob dylan’s (positively 4th Street). damien rice (every single song he has ever written). or my personal favorite, the postal service (nothing better).

(it seems that the rockers of the world really have this down pat.)

in the past, listening to ungodly depressing music puts the mess of jumbled feelings that i couldn’t (or didn’t want to) sort out to some sort of order. it made me feel better that someone, someone far more poetic or articulate than i will ever be, could pin-point my sorrow and could put words to it. someone understands. someone understands, and feels no shame in wallowing. you can indulge in your patheticness. yes, lindsay. you can. it’s alright. no need to feel guilty. it feels good. wallow baby, wallow.

friends of breakup-ees know that there really is nothing they can do for their friend in this state. the breakupee has extraordinary powers, complete with the ability to suck their friend (mother, father, brother, dog) into an enormous pit of all-encompassing quick-sand depression. all thebreakupee wants to do is be sad, and they have no qualms about taking hostages (as many as that may be) in their quest to immerse themselves in cheerlessness. everyone knows at this point, it’s better to just let the wallowing run it’s course and check in every now and again to make sure they’re not dead.

fine. i understand. i really do. it’s therapeutic. but PLEASE just answer me this. how does an ENTIRE COUNTRY of people all need to wallow ALL AT THE SAME TIME (ALL THE TIME)!?? that’s all i want to know.

it’s been raining here for the last 36+ hours straight. nay, not raining (sound familiar :)), POURING. raining like i have never seen. apparently there have already been 20 deaths in hanoi (where we’re currently staying). i’m sure that is not helping my cause any. yesterday morning, i ventured outside around 2 pm, my hunger giving me strength, to find some bread for a breakfast/lunch/snack, only to find the water in the streets up to my thigh. it’s grey. it’s raining. it’s depressing. and the only sound to be heard short of the rain and honking, is that of “hopelessly devoted to you.”

i don’t know what it is about the viets. every single (i swear to god) music video kev and i have watched on tv (and the last few days, that has been A LOT) has followed this plot line.
boy likes girl.
girl likes boy.
boy and girl are happy.
another boy comes in the picture.
boy #1 gets dumped.
constantly sees girl with new boy.
boy very depressed.
lots of sad singing, distraught facial expressions and tears.
girl somehow dies…car accident (hit and run, runs into the car, in a car and is t-boned), terminal disease, suicide.
boy #1 is hopelessly depressed forever.

it seems people here like to wallow. which is fine, but i’m sick of going down with them.

where’s some bohemian rhapsody when you need it? somehow, that song talks about someone’s mom killing someone, and then killing herself, and STILL manages to be upbeat and dance-friendly!!!

in other, still noise-related news, i need to make quick mention to the loud speakers.

while the my list of faults seems to not only be endless, but also seems to be on display on our blog every other day, i must let you in on another. when i’m tired or hungry, i get VERY grumpy. if i remember correctly, i think kev has made mention to fearing for his life because i was overly hungry, and might beat him in an earlier post. this is not far from the truth, as many of you who know me can attest. i’m a terrible person. i cant help myself. that said. back to the loud speakers.

we are in the capitol of vietnam. a city where war propaganda posters still dominate every street corner. a city where many people wear military helmets accompanying their daily attire. although this is turning in to a somewhat “debbie downer” post itself (although i really do feel perfectly happy, albeit slightly agitated), i must say strictly for the chance to dictate thoughts, feelings etc per kev’s request, that the people here are rude. we’ve heard for however many miles now, that the further north we go, the less friendly people get. not wanting to get sucked into that mentality (we seriously have loved vietnam!!!), i didn’t think much of it. but as it turns out, it’s true. really, it makes sense. these really were the people we were fighting us in the vietnam war. seeing a white face, i’m sure can only bring about feelings of anger, frustration, and annoyance. sure. i understand. but i must say, i am tired of the unfriendly, unhelpful. unsmiley faces. okay. i digress. back to the loud speakers.

every morning, at approximately 6:05am-7:45am, the city’s loudspeaker BELTS out propaganda (and local news) about all kinds of things: war, birth control, abortions, civil disobediances, etc. now, i understand that this might be the most efficient way to communicate with members of their community. without access to many tv’s, the loud speakers can do the job tv commericals can, and at a fraction of the cost. but at 6AM?! REALLY?! i swear to god, if i were vietnamese, i would do everything in my power to avoid listening to the government’s “news,” no matter what the cost. ear phones, ear plugs, ambient noise, a LOUD BEEPING ALARM CLOCK, ANYTHING would be better, than being woken up out of a wonderful, relaxing sleep to listen to the damn loudspeaker at 6am every morning. 6am is to early to do anything besides sleep. seriously people. and, as you might expect, not only did the loudspeaker happen to be parked right infront of my bedroom window, but at the beginning and the end of the “news” broadcast is the music. the hopelessly devoted music. what a way to start your morning.

finally. on far happier, and (i think) funnier note, 2 more tiny, itsy, bitsy stories, as this post is getting longer than is worth reading.

story number 1: the market.

two days ago, kev and i went on a mission to find dried squid to bring home as presents for all of you (suprise!). it, as i have mentioned, was raining cats and dogs, and i had neglected to bring my poncho. even still, i had managed to get to the market relatively dry, and was feeling quite proud of myself for doing so. (i was sliding around corners, crouching in small areas, dodging mopeds, really, quite ninja-like in my quest to stay dry). this market is a HUGE, strictly vietnamese market. i am not sure i saw one white person there the entire time. perfectly fine by me. disheartened about the fact that we could not find a place to have our favorite snack packaged to be brought home (sorry, i didn’t want to be smelling like a fish for the rest of our trip :)) i decided we should check one more place before heading home. since it’s pouring outside, kev suggests that we wait a second to see if it lets up a little. me, inpatient as always, say, “oh come on! we’ve made it all this way without getting that wet! i have mastered the art of tarp-running, and i know i can make it to that next one without getting very wet.” alright. so we’re off. i’m running, dodging things, and make it, no problem, to the tarp. i turn and smile victoriously at kev and am just about to say, “SEE?!” when i hear a loud RIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppppPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP! i look up, just in time for the tarp above me to break. down pours the mornings rain (and other disgusting things i’d rather not mention) all over my head. kev was spared and as you can imagine, found all of this quite funny. the butt of yet another “the world is against lindsay” joke. the smileless hanoian people all seem to lose their frowns and are all laughing, staring and pointing at me, now soaking head to toe. i look down. shit. note to self: rainy days are not good days to wear a white t-shirt.

you go white girl.
story number 2: halloween.

this story is just pathetic. this is a story about nothing (GO SEINFIELD!) wearing nothing orange, black or costumesque. eating no candy, sweet snacks or carmel apples. carving no pumpkins. not even drinking a beer. just sitting in hanoi. rained in. watching THE SIMPSON’S HALLOWEEN MARATHON for like 3 hours straight before falling asleep by 9pm. we’re quite the cool cats. but couldn’t even manage to be the black kind.

story number 3: the most beautiful girl in the world.

the other day, i met a group of vietnamese teenagers while waiting for kev to get out of the internet cafe (surprise, surprise). we were chatting it up, and having a nice little conversation about how old they were, what their names were, where they were from, what they did in their city, etc, when one of the girls looks at me and says, “you know, you could be the most beautiful girl i have ever seen……if you didn’t have these….”

and points to a freckle.

classic. too bad freckles are now covering 2/3rds of my body.
there goes my aspiration of attempting for miss universe.

love and miss you all.
keep the noise down, please,
xxx
lgt