Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So I love TripAdvisor. Finally, today, I signed up, and I was making a map of everywhere I've traveled to. It was kind of fun! Check it out:

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Super-confusing, but superfast!

Last week Tuesday (January 17th), I sent my passport to the Vietnam Embassy in Washington, DC, via USPS Express Mail, to get a visa for my upcoming trip to Vietnam. Now, I could have sent it to the Vietnam Consulate in San Francisco, but I had a confusing conversation with the Consulate over the phone and the people at the Embassy in DC seemed to understand my questions better.

The confusion I had stemmed from the dual fee structure that Vietnam now has. First you have to call or email them to ask how much the fees are, and then, depending on what language you speak or, in my case, what your last name is, they'll give you a price. There is one fee for Vietnamese people ($30 single entry) and another fee for everybody else ($65 single entry). Not so confusing so far, right? Except do they mean "Vietnamese" as in "born in Vietnam" or Vietnamese as in ethnically Vietnamese? In my case, what if you were born in America to Vietnamese-born parents?

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that in order to get the $30 Vietnamese people rate, you need to fill out the form written in Vietnamese for people "born in Vietnam." Which seemed to indicate that I didn't qualify. But the answer from the Embassy is that I am Vietnamese and therefore qualify for the lower amount and that I needed to fill the Vietnamese application. When I said that I couldn't read Vietnamese, the lady on the phone just said, "Have your mom or dad help you."

Well, I had my mom help me, and I sent it off with my passport, fighting a paranoid fear that I wouldn't see my passport again for awhile. But today (January 24th), around noon, a USPS mail lady came with my Express Mail package with my passport in tact, with a brand new Vietnam visa attached inside. I'm very impressed with the speed and efficiency that everything took. And I'm very very glad to have my passport back in my hands.

Here's hoping my passport renewal in a couple of months will be anywhere near that efficient.



I have an exciting February and March in front of me!

In February, I'm going to visit the great state of Colorado for the first time with a trip to Vail. I'm uber excited, and I can't wait to test out my near non-existent snowboarding skills in Colorado snow.

In March, my sister and I are going to Hong Kong and Hanoi. This is both my first time traveling with just my sister and my first time seeing Hong Kong AND Hanoi. I'm especially excited to see northern Vietnam, where my family hails from.

Right after I get back, I get to renew my passport. I actually thought I had another year to renew my passport, but apparently not. I'm out to lunch on whether the new passport design is cool or a little "Mickey Mouse." I think it's pretty cool, though a little "Big Brother"-esque for your passport to be able to hold biometric information about you. Check out the news article on it in the NY Times.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Year, New Look!

I've decided on something cleaner for my website/blog.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Living the Dream...

So for like 10 years now, I've had an awful recurring dream where my teeth are loose and falling out, and I kind of have to shove them back in place. Since I got my first front tooth extracted and implant installed, the dreams have pretty much ceased.

Today, however, I went to get my other front tooth pulled (because "short roots," blah blah blah, "need to take proactive steps," blah blah) to start the implant process on it. The nice oral surgeon removed my tooth, did a bone graft, stitched me up, and installed, and I say installed because he used a torque wrench and a screwdriver, onto my single implant at spot #9 (front left tooth) two shiny new front teeth to cover the gap while the extraction site heals. It was pretty neato until this afternoon when the swelling subsided and my two brand new front teeth got loose and started to move wildly.

And in an odd sense of deja vu, I shoved my teeth back into place, called one of the many dental professionals that I see, and said, "My teeth are falling out." And my teeth wiggled and jiggled with me trying to put it back into place every now and then all the way to the prosthedontist where they had to reinstall my teeth.

This was not really the dream I wanted to live out. But at least now my teeth are firmly attached to my jaw.