A family gathering, video games

2010-05-23 23:05:00-0700

On May 22, Tien's uncle rented a bus and a bunch of us drove over to where Tien's cousin has just built a house. Many members of Tien's family were gathering to remember the anniversary of the death of Tien's grandmother. We grabbed breakfast in LX on the way and everybody was chatting away while I ate. It was strange to be surrounded by such lively and continual conversation of which I didn't understand a word, and it made me remember that I was foreign.

Just before we got to her cousin's house we got pulled over by the cops and had to stay there for 20 minutes or so while the police checked papers and things I don't know. I was a tad worried that I'd need my passport, which I didn't have on me, but they didn't ask for it and we were allowed to go on with no trouble.

The new house was nearly complete, but still in a state of final construction. Many new trees of various kinds had supports to hold them up, and there were miscellaneous construction materials laying in the yard. There were a bunch of folks already there, some that I recognized and many that I did not. There were a bunch of older men sitting at a table drinking tea and talking on and on, laughing and looking into the distance. They invited me to sit and drink tea with them, and Tien said they wished that they could speak with me natively.

After a while, incense was lit and put into vases at little shrines, and everybody stood and sang a chanting song in honor of Tien's grandmother who had died several years ago. Some people approached a photo and bowed to pray and give offerings in memory. Afterwards we all had a meal and there was a lot more conversation that I didn't understand, but smiles and gestures go a long way on good spirits.

After lunch the family hung around and talked for a long time. I played with the kids a lot, since games don't really need language. They were playing with a chicken that was tethered by its leg to a tree in the yard. It somehow managed to climb up the tree and over a branch and ended up hanging by its one leg from the tree itself. I shooed the kids away and untangled the string from the tree, but the chicken just lay nearly lifeless on the ground. I wasn't sure if its leg was broken, but it certainly had no more will to flee the threat of man.

On the way home I slept, since I had a whole bench seat in the van to me and Tien. We went shopping at the mall in LX and I managed to find a helmet that just barely fit me. I also found WiFi on my iPhone, and got online for the first time in a while to respond to some friends and see what people elsewhere are up to. More and more I find that Facebook isn't really good for keeping up on what people are up to so much as it is a place to waste time with other people who want to waste time. Twitter is even worse. Direct messages are almost the only ways I can really communicate and keep up with people, unless I happen to catch a piece of useful info in the noisy stream of jokes, links and statements of boredom.

On the way home from LX we turned up some dance music and had a fun, rowdy time in the car. I saw a banner for KFC and wondered if there would actually be one in LX soon... this place doesn't seem like a good target market for that corporation.

Back at home we got back to feeding our addiction to Super Mario Wii. This can be really fun, but there is an extra level of frustration to that game when you can't talk to your team mates. "Get on the @#(&*$#@ square or it won't start moving!" "We have to fly up into that pipe up there!" "Everybody ground pound on three!" "Please don't live inside the bubble, I might actually need to use it." Then there are the things like gathering as many power-ups as they can, even when they don't need them and you do, or pressing the power button on the Wiimote when somebody walks away, ending your game just before you get that third big coin by the end of the castle.

Yeah, communication is a key component of that game. We love it though, and we played it all the next day, along with iPad games. I bought Plans vs Zombies for the iPad, which was a hit. We'd also been playing a lot of Marble Mixer, Flight Control, Air Harp, Diner Dash and Magic Piano. The iPad isn't good at a lot of things, but it's sure great for gaming and entertainment.

By Daniel , Category: blog

Tags: journal / life / travel / wii / family / gathering / video game / vietnam /

Other articles

Catching up from Vietnam to Telegraph Hill

2010-04-17 19:04:00-0700

The View from The RoofMuch has happened since last time I wrote. I'm currently living at 425 Green Street on Telegraph Hill, but will be returning to Vietnam to be with Tien in two weeks. Before I get into the present and future, I should probably dive into what's been going on ...

By Daniel, Category: 365-32

Continue reading …

Political talk at dinner

2009-11-04 23:11:00-0800

While the tragic mystery of my corrupt hard disk was unfolding I made progress with other technology. A new version of Blackra1n had come out that allowed me to upgrade my iPhone from 3.0.1 to 3.1.2 and jailbreak it. This was the simplest iPhone jailbreak ever ...

By Daniel, Category: blog

Continue reading …

A Tragedy in Binh Hoa

2009-07-14 07:07:00-0700

Saturday morning I woke up to Tien climbing back into bed. “I have some bad news from the people in my village..." She went on to tell me that the father of her best friend Trinh, whose family lives across the street, was on his way back from taking his ...

By Daniel, Category: blog

Continue reading …

Living the Dream

2009-06-14 01:06:00-0700

After a morning out with Tien walking around Saigon in the hot sun, after I asked her to marry me, we did what most people do during the mid day heat and napped it away in a cool place. We talked and were happy with all that had happened and ...

By Daniel, Category: blog

Continue reading …

Anime Lunch

2009-06-03 01:06:00-0700

Today Tien and I sat at the market where her family store is and talked a long time about language, world culture and classical music. I tried to also explain some things about computers and networking, which was preceded by my saying that I was intrigued by the problem of ...

By Daniel, Category: blog

Continue reading …