I had meant to write this on September 12th, but I was too sleepy to write it. I fell asleep on my computer (I am soooo sleep deprived). But, it has been ONE MONTH since I have returned from Viet Nam.
The time has passed by so quickly. I can’t believe it’s already been a month. It feels like it’s been soooo long ago because a lot has happened since then, and I can’t even believe I ever went to Viet Nam in the first place.
Here’s a general timeline of what has happened since I’ve returned to the United States:
- (Los Angeles, CA: 12-20 Sept 2014). Down town at home. I hung out with some friends and family. We celebrated my nephew’s first birthday. He’s the cutest little human being ever. I was at home for a week before returning to Berkeley.
- (Tahoe, CA: 20-22 Sept 2014). Project SMILE retreat. If I failed to mention this in past posts, I am a part of a student organization called Project SMILE [Spreading Multiculturalism and Inspiring Leadership through Education]. We had a treat in Tahoe to plan and organize our activities and events for the semester.
The day I drove back to Berkeley was the day I drove up to for retreat as well. So, left LA at 2am in the morning, then got to Berkeley at 8am. I dropped off my stuff at my apartment, ate brunch with family and they dropped me off at the SMILE rendez-vous point at 11am. I had literally drove most of California in one day!
- (Berkeley, CA: 23-24 Sept 2014). After coming back from retreat, I spent the weekend unpacking, cleaning, and seeing some friends.
- (Berkeley, CA: 25-26 Sept 2014). GPP Peer Advisor Training. Because I love GPP so much, I decided last semester to apply to be an advisor for the 2014-15 academic year. So far, I know I made the right choice. I love the peer advising job and the people I work with.
Look at the very beautiful peer advising team!
- (Berkley, CA: 28 Sept 2014 – present). School begins. So, right now, I am juggling between a full load of classes, work, Project SMILE, GPP advising, and keeping up this blog. It sounds like a lot, but I always feel like I could be more productive. I’m currently caught up in the whirlwind that is school and trying to managing all aspects of my life in the present and think about the future as well. I feel like the beginning of the semester is stressful because it’s all about getting used to the new semester and understanding what you’re going to do this semester is going to affect the future (be it apply to summer programs like I will do, major requirements, research opportunities).
So, yeah, it’s been one month. I still feel like I haven’t properly closed my chapter in Viet Nam because I wish completely that I was still there.
But, exciting news!!
So, after a 5 hour meeting with Project SMILE, I came home at 1:30 in the morning. I was exhausted, but I made an avocado smoothie (probably not my most rational decision I’ve ever made), but around 2:30am, I started talking to chi Linh, my coworker and dearest friend from CECAD. She told me about some trainings that she had to do with VECO and CSIP (a project I was not a part of), and we caught up about our lives. Around 3am, she told me that we received exciting news.
She put my boss on the phone (Viber), and she told me that CECAD was awarded the US Embassy Grant!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
This is yet again some tangible proof that I was doing something with CECAD. This was the first time that CECAD ever received the US Embassy grant, after applying to it in the past several years. So, I’m super proud of all the hard work that was put into the drafting of the grant proposal.
First, I’m super happy that I’m still able to be in communication with CECAD. I really liked everyone I worked with. Second, I was one of the first people to know. Chi Linh and I were talking a while before she even brought it up because she just found out too. So, I’m really happy I was coincidentally there on the special occasion. And third, more than ever, I wish I was back in Viet Nam. Please take me back!! CECAD will begin work on two projects I was a part of, and I really wish I that I could contribute to that. I know I’m not done, and I wish I could see it all come to fruition.
So, I was nearly in tears at 3am in the morning, but it made me so happy. I guess it was good that I was with P.SMILE for 5 hours and I decided to make an avocado smoothie (it was delicious!). I will be sure to keep in touch with CECAD, and maybe I’ll find myself back in Viet Nam one day.
Over and out.
PS. I realized that I may have failed to mention about the US Embassy Grant in previous posts. I will write more information on it later, but basically, we proposed a project to promote grassroots democracy within the communes of Tan Lac District. It is through grassroots democracy and trusting, strong relationships among community members, local authorities, and CECAD that sustainable, equitable development can take place.