Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Saigon Send off

Birthday Bash Saigon Family Style
My final day in Saigon also happened to be my birthday. At midnight, March 10th, Saigon time, I was also on the phone with Rob, so I received my first birthday well wish. That was nice. Saigon time is 13 hours ahead of Texas time.

Now, I have never been one big on birthdays. Something to do with the celebrating yourself thing has always felt a bit strange. And as ironic as this seems, the center of attention part and adoration from others also feels wierd. I know, I worked in TV news for years. It's part of the reason I got out.

Having said that, my Saigon Vo family insisted on throwing a party. So that morning, Uncle Thanh got all the goods, including food, drinks and chairs, and by 7pm, all of my aunts, cousins, etc gathered at the house to feast and celebrate. He’s so awesome.
I had originally offered to take everyone out, but since my grandmother is too weak to leave the house, I’m glad we decided to have this family gathering at home. I didn’t want to put any of my relatives out, so I paid for the feast. I gave him about 95 dollars. That fed 20 people! The following
I can’t even remember the last time I had a birthday party like this. Maybe childhood??
Now, I have learned a lot about my Vo family on this trip, but I also learned something HUGE about me. I’m a younger woman than I thought.
34 not 35???
Yep, according to my uncles I was born on March 10th 1974, NOT 1973! So that would make me 34 and NOT 35. (Although in Vietnamese custom one’s birthday occurs at conception, meaning I’m a few months shy from being "35").
How could that be?? Well, when my parents immigrated to the US I did not have my birth papers and I guess 1973 was inadvertently written. I plan to have a talk to them about this one.
So comes the dilemma…. should I tell people I’m 34 or 35? Legally, I am 35. Realistically I am 34.
But like Ironbabe Jane, I am officially in another triathlon age group… that 35-39 bracket. Is that a good or bad thing? I’m not sure yet, since I have not signed up for a race lately. Does this mean I’ll be cheating?
I guess I should relish that I am a year younger. That means I graduated from high school at 17, not 18, and college at 20, not 21 (I was one of those nerdy 3 year plan students). Oh I was drinking, as Rob so aptly pointed out, at 20 not 21.
And no wonder I’m not wrinkling yet. :)
Airport Adieu
Saying goodbye to my Saigon family was kind of rushed. At the airport, I had a small ticketing issue, so it was quick
Maybe it was good. I probably would have cried had I more time to say goodbye. I was joined by three uncles, my Aunt Thuy and a few cousins.
I like to say there are no goodbyes. I’ll see them again soon enough.
I’m heading back to Saipan, via Manila. I’m looking forward to getting in some good,hard workouts. Then Rob comes in Friday night.
Oh yeah, I have a triathlon race this coming Saturday in Saipan.
Rob swims the mile swim, I bike 36 miles, and we’re not sure who will do the 9 mile run. (He’s injured and my knees STILL hurt).
Im sooooo not ready.
Cheers and happy training!

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