March 9, 2007 2:41 PM CST Somewhere above northern California.
Hate is a strong ugly word, and it’s a word that I try to avoid using. Hate is also a level that I try not categorize things in, because if you truly hate something, then you must be in a very bad and ugly place. With that in mind, I don’t hate travel, but I think of travel as whatever category is two rungs above hate. It’s true, I’m not much of an adventurer. I really enjoy the familiar surroundings and comfort of my home and spending the money a trip would cost on other things. I mean, I’m the type of guy that hates to travel an hour away even on weekends. Not to mention, I really miss the company of DogGeeding. But sometimes you are called to do something. Something that is greater than you, and something that will change your life. If you don’t do that something, then you are left with a bit of unfulfilled as you leave this world. That something for me is making this trek to
Vietnam. So much anxiety was built up that I didn’t even sleep last night. That was only the second time in my life that I stayed up for more than 24 hours.
As a child I was too wrapped up in trying to fit in rather than being myself, and as a result I never really took an appreciation of my Vietnamese heritage. I suppose some of that came from kids in elementary school making fun of me by using their fingers to slant their eyes as well as other antics. And then there was the girl that wouldn’t dance with me because I was different. I tried to fool myself into thinking I was white because that was what my father was, when all the while I should have just accepted that God made me a half-Asian. And I suppose knowing that the U.S. fought a war in
Vietnam also made me apprehensive of acknowledging my heritage, but then again in all my years in school we never covered the Vietnam War in history class, and I graduated in 1994.
Â But today with as much as I dislike traveling, I feel that I’m fulfilling destiny by embracing my heritage and honoring my mother. One of you commented a while back that this trip was Mom’s last gift to me, and it’s hard for me to disagree. Carrying an urn around the airport is a unique experience. Some folks will flat out ask if you are carrying remains. And then there are others that will compliment the very nice wooden box you are carrying without a clue what’s inside. I admit, it was awkward at first, but now I feel honored carrying her. As strange as it might sound, this is the closest I have felt with my mother since her passing. WifeGeeding helps out at times, and as much as my mother loved her, I think that would really warm her heart. So far the trip hasn’t been that bad, I’m just grumpy I suppose. Checking in baggage wasn’t very smooth, and we just barely made our flight. The flight from DFW to San Fran in the AirBus was very pleasant other than the inflight movie of Happy Feet not working. AirBus knows how to make a plane. That had to be the quietest flight I have ever been on. I have noticed that the United flight attendants seem to be a lot more stern regarding the typical rules of having your seatbelts on during turbulence and such. Oh, and United doesn’t carry Coca-Cola products, and I absolutely loath the second tier Pepsi products. What further stinks is that they don’t have Dr. Pepper, my backup soft drink. But what has me really upset is that I can’t even get iced-tea, so I’ll just have to drink the hot variety. Right now we are packed in like sardines in coach and are about to eat our first of three meals. Our first meal is a choice of curry and rice or brisket and potatoes. I like the smell of curry as much as I like smelling my own farts in the shower, so I’ll be eating the brisket and potatoes. The movies for the flight are Marie Antoinette, The Prestige, A Night At The Museum, and Stranger Than Fiction. I would only be interested in watching the last two, but I also have season three of 24 to watch, books to read, and hopefully some sleep to catch up on.
One feature I found interesting is the data they show on the screens and monitors. It switches from a map of where the plane is located, to the speed of the plane, and then the altitude. Right now we are moving past 500 mph, have over 6000 miles left to travel, and about 17 hours left. Here’s another thought, here I am kinda dreading being out of my comfort zone for a week and enduring a long flight when young men were drafted about 30-35 years ago to fight in a war at the place I’m traveling to for much much longer than a week. And here’s another thought, I wonder if the Wright brothers could have ever imagined that that little lift off in Kitty Hawk would one day lead to a plane flying for over 17 hours.
I guess I’ll end this post with a thought about Lent. In church we were encouraged to carry a small stone in our pockets during this Lenten season as a reminder of trusting God in whole new ways. When Jesus was tempted by Satan during a fast, Jesus could have easily turned stones to bread. Instead, he trusted his heavenly father to carry him through. I have to admit that this little rock I’m carrying in my pocket has been a nice reminder of learning to trust God in new ways that I haven’t before, and I find it interesting this adventure is occurring during Lent. I also find it a bit amusing that I will have to return this stone. I bet my stone will travel further than the stones all my church family is carrying.