WELCOME TO DESTINation, Florida!!! πŸŒˆπŸŒ€πŸŒŽ

surprise, surprise!!!

guess who’s family decided to go on a trip AGAin, yep, that’s right- the Hoangs. My family and I decided on Thursday night that we should use Labor Day weekend to go on a little vacation to Florida. So, the next day we packed our bags and filled our 12 seat car rental with more floats than actual people and snack food to last a zombie apocalypse. Trip = crazy fun & amazing memories!!!

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me trying to bury my problems

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A DAY IN THE LIFE: austin adventures!!!πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ’–πŸ…πŸŒ΅

β€œThere’s a freedom you begin to feel the closeryou get to Austin, Texas.” – Willie Nelson


August 25, 2017 Friday!!!

On Friday, this week, my family went to Austin, Texas for the state trooper graduation and to see the sights there! In this little day journal, it’ll include some of the highlights of this eventful day including a trip to the Austin Grafitti Park in Castle Hill and some of my favorite foods there.

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A DAY IN MY LIFE: VIETNAM WEDDING

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On July 7th, 2017 – I attended a family friend’s wedding in Saigon, Vietnam. It was an amazing cultural experience and you can read more about it down below!! Enjoy!!

 

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as you can see, I was SUPER pumped for the wedding!!!

 

It was really exciting to get to dress up in the traditional Vietnamese long dresses and experience an amazing part of the Vietnamese culture.

We were only able to attend the reception party because the ceremony was exclusively for close family. It was still a GREAT experience though! πŸ‘

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LIVING ABROAD IN VIETNAM

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“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read page one.” -St. Augustine

Ever since May 27th, I have been living inVietnam. I wouldn’t say it is like a vacation but more of a “living abroad”. Here, I have done so many amazing things discovering more about my Vietnamese heritage, but there are downsides to living abroad. These are ups and downs to living in a different country.


The Upsides:

Exciting Travel Opportunities

In any country, there are different cities, restaurants, and things to do. Every new country offers new travel opportunities and it’s a chance to see the world! In Vietnam, I’ve done and seen things I have never seen before in the United States. I ride motorbikes daily to get around and have mangos, durian, and jackfruit growing in my backyard. Not to mention, the literal petting zoo going on in my house with pet bunnies and chicks. Living here has really given me the chance to experience things I couldn’t do and see in the United States.

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Christ the King Statue in Vung Tao

Expansion of Knowledge

Experiences you have living in a different country can teach you so many things that just can’t be shown on a documentary, book, or even the internet. Even during a walk to the grocery market, I learn many things about Vietnam, its culture, and people. I get to engage in conversation with the locals and truly expand my knowledge about the world outside of Texas. One of my favorite things to learn about here is the deep history of the Vietnam War and it’s one of the easiest things to learn about because of its numerous monuments, museums, and historic places that are just a minute’s ride away.

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Personal Growth

When you move to a new country, you’ll be thrown into brand new situations and settings that may seem intimidating and scary at first, but are always the best ways to grow as an individual. Not only will you grow physically- but emotionally, too. You’ll encounter different environments and create relationships with new people that help strengthen and grow your thoughts and understandings about life. I can see myself as a different person than when I first came here. Things I see in Vietnam humble, inspire, and teach me so many things I didn’t know living in the United States.

The Downsides

Culture Shock

This downside hasn’t affected me as much as some other people because of my familiarity with Vietnamese culture already, but there are little things like taking your shoes off before you step into a store or house, the language barrier, motorbikes instead of cars, the different foods, and monsoon season. These examples make adapting into the culture harder. Over time, little things like that stopped being weird to me and just part of everyday life.

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Homesickness

I encounter myself missing my friends and family every day and sometimes feel lonely. I miss the little things like my bed at home, eating a hamburger, and going to the movies. Homesickness never goes away but you can counter it a little, by keeping in touch with your family and friends through Facetiming and social media. For the things I miss at home like McDonalds or something, I focus on what I have where I am. There are so many things to do when living in a different country, so I try my best to take advantage of that.

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Even though being here means a month and a half away from people I love and things I miss, I am truly glad for this experience and can’t wait to see what else I can learn.

Thank you for reading and I hope this was interesting! β™₯β™₯β™₯ -KATIE

 

TRAVEL JOURNAL: AUSTRIA

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here’s a snippet of my travel journal that i wrote while in Europe!!!


One of the best three days of my life was during Spring Break of 2017. I had the great opportunity to go to Germany with my family to experience the beautiful European lifestyle and to reunite with the German side of my family. After my brief time in Germany, my cousins took us on a spontaneous road trip to Oberau, Austria where we skied in the Alps.

On the first day, my family got settled into a quaint cottage that we shared with a native family. Everything so far was amazing, except for the fact that I had to wake up at 6 am every day. I later realized it was all worth it because it gave me a chance to watch the sunrise and prepare for a long day ahead. It reminded me of what my grandma always says, “Morgenstern hat Gold im Mund” or “The morning hour has gold in its mouth.” It’s a German proverb that interprets to the saying, “The early bird catches the worm” and that an early start to a day will end in a good day.

 

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thumbs up to a good day!

 

After a quick set up with ski rentals, it was off up to the mountain my family went. I was overwhelmed with amazement with the enormous volume of snow! It was so cool (no pun intended), especially since I live in sweltering hot Texas. I never thought I’d be the person to be rushing down a snow hill on a pair of metal boards, or frankly- be adventurous but I learned you’ll regret it if you don’t take opportunities life gives you.

We arrived at the top of the mountain and met our ski instructor and began to learn. It was no easy feat and by the end of the day, I had managed to fall at least fifty times. I now see that even though I wasn’t a professional yet, it was just important that I got up on my feet again every time I fell.Β 

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The next two days, I got more skilled and began to have lots of fun. I started falling less and could even ski down steeper slopes. At times, I got lazy and opted for playing on my phone instead of skiing. That’s when I learned another German saying, told to me by my instructor, “Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst” (Starting is easy, persistence is an art). I understood and soon hit the slopes again, eager to get better and enjoy my time in Austria.

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The day I left to go back home was one of the saddest days I’ve had. I said goodbye to the majestic Alps, hugged my cousins farewell, and left with a new mindset to life.

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In a way, I learned to be adventurous and realized there’s a whole wide world to see, so embrace and experience all opportunities given to you. You only live once, live life to the fullest!Β 

Thanks for reading!!!- KATIE