23 June 2006


It’s been four days since I arrived back in California. As always, the first day or two feels extremely odd. There is no way I can ever explain the strange sensation between living abroad and then coming back to the US. They are such entirely different places, and entirely different lives. When I am in California, it is as if Vietnam doesn’t exist, and when I am in California, it is as if Vietnam doesn’t exist. Trying to understand and evaluate my feelings and reactions to this situation confuses me for about two days, and then I give up and forget that I really was living in another country just a week ago.

I must say that the flight over was the most comfortable, long trip flight I have ever taken. I flew Economy Deluxe, on Eva Air. The seat cost a mere $100 more than the cheap seats, and you get a business class chair, with tons of leg room and seats that really recline. I barely felt the need to get up and walk around the cabin, which is how I usually spend the entire time I am on a transatlantic flight.

In addition to a fantastic flight, I arrived in San Francisco to hot weather. For those of you who do not know, it is rarely hot in San Francisco, no matter the season. Only tonight has the dreaded fog rolled in and I am starting to freeze. I must brace myself for the fact that I may never see the sun again before I head back to HCMC.

Today I spent part of the morning taking my mother’s car in to the mechanics. It is rarely driven, less than six years old, yet the air conditioning was not functioning. As the mechanic looked under the hood, he pointed to the part of the a/c unit that was not engaging. As he was saying this, I noticed a bunch of plastic bags stuffed in a corner of the engine block. I started to reach for the bags asking myself, out loud, why anyone would do something so dumb. Millimeters from actually grabbing the garbage, the mechanic said, “you know, that looks like a rats nest”. My hand was out of there in a micro-second. It turned out that a mommy rat had built a nest inside the engine, using plastic bags and anything she could chew off from inside the engine, including the wire that goes to the a/c unit. Since the nest had long since been vacated, I am assuming that mother and babies are all well and thriving.

It is time to put on another sweat shirt.
Remember to check under your car hood for nesting critters.