Twenty summers

Grandfather and I

“Hai bảy tháng bảy thương binh Hai tám tháng bảy bé Linh ra đời” — ông nội –

Translation: “ July 27 is the veteran day; July 28 is Linh’s birthday” by grandfather. For the record, it rhymes in Vietnamese.

Today marks the 20th summer of my life. I never really liked summer as much as I love winter, despite being born in summertime. I hate not being able to celebrate birthday in class, or get a surprised birthday party in my boarding school like my winter-born friends. I hate the unbearable heat, the sweating, and the frustration from summer air. Perhaps people are destined to hate what they are born with? (ghét của nào trời trao của ấy mà :P) But think about it, my happier moments always fall into this hottest time of the year. Summer is scorching yet cheerful and fulfilling, unlike the beautiful but sobering, lonely winter days. Summer is the only time I have in these recent years to go home again and slow down my hurriedly-paced life. Summer is the chance to refresh my self and get ready for another journey ahead. So yes, after 20 years, I can say that I also love summer, after all :)

Looking back, during my 20 summers, I have:

  1. Got heavily drunk once, and realized that it was a total black-out (i.e, I couldn’t remember anything) the next hang-over day
  2. Studied abroad in two different countries
  3. Been able to play three different instruments
  4. Known four different languages
  5. Fallen in love , truly, deeply, madly
  6. Been broken-hearted
  7. Eaten 7 kgs of dragon-fruit in 5 days
  8. Made friends with people of ~ 80 different nationalities
  9. Lost 9 kgs after a month
  10. Been to 10 different countries, and a lot of cities
  11. Got busted while naked
  12. Got hit in the pupil of the eye
  13. At the age of 13, finally figured out that infants do not come from the mother’s underarms
  14. Got a hand-shake from a monkey (and got scared to death), when 14 months-old
  15. Danced like a fool on the street, for 15 minutes
  16. Seen both Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse
  17. Spent a week of sleeplessness to make a birthday gift
  18. Parachuted
  19. Skyped for 19 hours straight
  20. Done a proper research and written a 20-page paper
  21. Learned to rollerblade
  22. Made a book
  23. Got broadcasted nationally
  24. Fainted to the point of unconsciousness in the bathroom
  25. Been in an acrobatic jet-plane
  26. Earned money on my own
  27. Seen my bone, like the part underneath skin and blood
  28. Kissed in public, like, in the main Gateway of an airport
  29. Seen deaths, sudden ones
  30. Known a lot of U30 Doctors, or soon-to-be Doctors (tiến sĩ í @_@)
  31. Spent all of the money I had to travel cross-continentally to visit someone
  32. Memorized an anthem different than my own country’s
  33. Carried 60 kgs of luggage on my own
  34. Eaten the whole meal by bare hands, including soups
  35. Dedicated a song for someone in front of a huge audience
  36. Slept under zillion stars
  37. Gone scuba diving
  38. Forgiven without forgetting
  39. Studied in an (almost) all-girl class (39 girls and 1 boy)
  40. Single-handedly taught a 2-hour-long class of 40 kiddos
  41. Known how to drive car, bicycle, and motorcycle
  42. Screamed out-loud on top of a convertible while rolling on a highway, in front of people’s whatthehellyouthinkyouaredoing stare
  43. Managed to crash, sit on, or lose ALL of the pairs of glasses that I have ever possessed –> Reason why I don’t wear glasses any more =))
  44. Got acquainted with a celebrity
  45. Got my name drawn on snow, in a huge football field
  46. Survived a day without eating, more than once!
  47. Ignored a secret admirer for 7 years
  48. Had a opposite-sex best friend
  49. Met someone who was born on the same day, same month, same year, and almost same time; and who was also my first ever roommate that the school randomly assigned for me.
  50. (cliché alert) Lived in 3 decades, 2 millenniums, 2 centuries before turning twenty

So yes, I have the right to be proud of my twenty, don’t I? Welcome to the 20 club, Linh!

Originally published at on July 27, 2010.

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