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Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 8, 2010

My uncle told me last night that the last three years have been a waste.

He said I didn’t make any progress and I didn’t live up to my fullest potential. I didn’t get to the point I was supposed to attain, and indeed he has been very disappointed (anyway, I don’t remember him expressing any feelings towards me rather than disappointment). I didn’t write as well as he had hoped, I wasn’t able to publicize and advertise my name as a branch of someone young and promising, I didn’t keep a close and stable connection with him, I totally lacked determination and most of my writings are disgusting. To summarize his lengthy reproach, I can quote The Beatles: Im not half the woman I used to be.

So I’ve been seriously questioning myself all day today. What have I been doing from September 2007 until now? What are my successes? What are my failures? Can I say Im satisfied with what I have achieved?

Compared with myself 3 years ago, I find the situations now and then much similar. I am, as I used to be, afraid to leave home. I don’t know what is waiting ahead, Im unprepared for the future and dreadful to face changes. The changes that are coming, after my last year in university, somehow are not widely different from the changes coming after my graduation from high school. It seems like I have completed a circle and now getting to the beginning point. In other words, I have been standing still.

What have I done in 3 years?

A friend of mine once told me that she is glad to read my experiences abroad, even though most of them are doom, sad, dark and depressing. Because it is the other side of the story, while most of her friends or those portrayed on papers are so happy with whatever happens to them abroad. There may be challenges and hardship, but all in all, they will conquer. If you read popular articles and novels, stories about students going abroad often have a happy end. Apart from some rich yet stupid individuals, who deserve ridicules and mocking, all the young and hopeful minds are admirable because they always learn something, grow more mature, think deeper, reach a new height. They are all winner to some extents. But I am a loser.

I did give up on my efforts to blend with my new life. It is not a matter of Vietnam or Canada, because I would have ended up the same even if I had chose some other destinations. I wasn’t able to find meaningful and long-last friendship (besides other Vietnamese), I didn’t try beyond the boundary of convenience to understand the culture, the language, the people. And I wasn’t accepted. After 3 years, I still didn’t think of myself as someone comfortable and relaxed in the new environment – which shouldn’t be new after all.

What have I done in 3 years?

I have been in a battle with myself.

I was torn between my well-established habits, my deep-rooted ways of thinking, my carefully embraced heart and soul and a brand new circumstance. I didn’t have a problem with the language, nor people, no one prevented me from feeling happy, but myself. I didn’t have the courage to let go of my old self. Neither did I have the willingness to accept that the past would never come back. I clung to the untrue. I didn’t enjoy what I was having on hands. Instead of living with the available, I tormented myself with possibilities of unrealistic alternatives.

Who were friends? Who were not? Who were no longer? Where was I? Who was I? What was I doing? Where was I going? Where did my happiness lie? What could I do to make myself at ease? How could I feel peaceful again? What can I do to make myself feel safe? What should I do next?

All those questions were blurry. I didn’t cry much. I just sometimes burst out crying in the middle of the night for no reason. Far too often, I wasn’t able to tell whether what I experienced was from a dream or from my awaken consciousness. I lived in one place, but thought of another place. But what ironic is, the place in my dream wasn’t Vietnam, wasn’t Hanoi, wasn’t my beloved world anyway (something I've just recognized recently). It was a mixture of imaginary scenes and sentiments of an unchanged past. Because Hanoi changes, my friends change, my family change, but they were, in a sense, crystallized in my mind and formed a solid trench to keep me away from the new environment.

So what I have done, is to be in the flow of time, where the past, present and future are not distinct. I lived in the past, I live at the present and I am about to live in the future at the same time. Due to my physical distance from others, both family and friends at home and friends in university, the fantasy was pushed further without any external restrain. Sometimes I swam, sometimes I floated, but lots of time I was drown in the current.

I was confused, desperate, hopeful, lost, afraid, lonely and from times to times, contented.
I wasn’t able to set up a goal or define a new way so that I can move forward. What I am capable of, what I love to do, what I should do for others and what I need to do – all interfered with a sense of security about future. Therefore, I was in a situation when I didn’t know much about what was currently happening around me, I wasn’t sure about my future and I gradually lost my hold of the past.
I struggled with every image of the self I could think of. Once or twice, I felt like I had escaped time all together. But I was there, of course, all the time.

When will the currents stop mixing?

When will I have a stable and clear sense of self again? When can I be sure of my life again?

Right now, I just dearly wish for some guidance. Someone who would know everything, who understand me more than I understand myself, who can talk with me and show me the way to go.
I have asked, but all answers go back to myself. Ask yourself. We don’t know.
How much I wish I can be little again and have my days set up, even the challenges and rewards are in order.

What have I done in three years?

I have wasted them all. So I was told

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