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Sunday, August 19, 2012

35 Car Loads Later

Thirty-five car loads and almost as many moves later...

35 Car Loads Later 1

... I finally said good-bye to my cousin's little house that I'd been living in for the past five years.


It's the end of an era! (Bonus points if you caught the pop culture reference.)

It was bittersweet to leave the family compound, where my aunts and uncles literally all bought houses next door to each other. After living so far away for several years, I really enjoyed having my oldest uncle or youngest aunt drop by to chat, the frequent egg rolls and dumplings that my oldest uncle's wife sent over, seeing my cousins walking their dogs, and just in general basking in having family around. Even though I've only technically moved a few minutes away, it's a world away in daily interaction.

 Most of the blog took place in this kitchen -- the cooking, the eating, the gatherings with friends and family. Funny how spacious it seems now when it's not stuffed to the rafters with food and dishware.

35 Car Loads Later 2

The blog has taken a backseat for the past year, but especially so in the past six months with the house hunt, renovations, and moving. But mostly, I've struggled with what to do with it -- how much to write, how personal to get, whether to get out old posts because it's a food diary too, or talk about the newer stuff before I forget the details.

35 Car Loads Later 3

The house has never looked so empty. No books anywhere!

35 Car Loads Later 4

Too bad I won't be around to eat these pomegranates.

35 Car Loads Later 5

Nor the longans either.

35 Car Loads Later 6

And the dragon fruit haven't even started blossoming yet.

35 Car Loads Later 7

Bye cousin's little house that always seemed so small, yet made me so happy. I have several rooms of this to unload.


35 Car Loads Later 8

As I was hosing down the driveway after moving 27 clay pots of dirt, I saw my second-youngest uncle walking my cousin's dog and my oldest uncle's wife come out to ask him about fixing the foundation of the pillar on my other cousin's porch. As day faded into night, my aunt gave me an orange and I was reminded of all the other times she gave me food. Back at the new house, my dinner was the orange and a Vietnamese pudding she had given me the day before.

35 Car Loads Later 9

The end of an era!

Even without the house stuff, sometimes, it seems like too much work to bother blogging at all. And then I get an awesome email like today, from a Spanish reader living in The Netherlands who's learning to cook Vietnamese food from the blog, which spurred me to ask my Facebook fans to chime in with who they are and where they live. I love that my readers come from and live all over the world!

The house still isn't done, and yet I decide to take my first real vacation in seven years. I'm writing this from Washington Dulles International Airport and my flight is boarding. I forgot my travel-sized toiletries and couldn't find three travel books, but squeezed in my favorite cowboy boots. And if you've been reading for a while, perhaps you can figure out where I'm headed.

Gotta go! Last call for boarding.

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today, Chinese Five-Spice and Honey Ribs.
3 years ago today, Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant - Coalinga.
4 years ago today, How to Start a Food Blog... Or What I Wished I Knew When I Started a Food Blog.
5 years ago today, Fried Green Tomatoes.


  1. That mound of things to unpack looks daunting -- but I know you're up for it. And you'll get to plan your garden, too. I guess I hadn't realized the family compound that was your last residence. Lots of memories in those rooms, that countertop, the stovetop! And welcome to the new era.

  2. I have to tell you I've been a big fan of the blog, and I have starting cooking Vietnamese food too, here in the suburbs of Washington DC.

  3. Wowsers!
    Ah, the back seat blog - I know it well :-)
    Have a wonderful vacation!
    Portland? Viet Name? Sweden? All three? I hope so!
    - Oanh

  4. hi wc - good luck with the move to your new digs! i remember your hospitality when we visited you several years ago.

    have a fabulous vacation! can't wait to read all about it!

  5. I hope you have a great trip WC! Best wishes with the new home.

  6. WC: where ever you go, eat good food!

  7. Thank you for taking time to let us know of your moving. I am sure that you will make every place you live comfortable and welcoming. Have a great vacation. Rest and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Wish I could have some of those longan fruit :)

  8. Nikki,
    I keep opening and putting away a box or bag at a time, but it seems like there's always more. Same went for when I was packing up. Kept thinking I was almost done, but there was just stuff to pack away.

    That's great to hear!

    None of the above! Although, you did get close with Sweden.

    We'll have to meet up again soon.


    I aim to!

    Co Toan,
    Ha! People who have seen my home know that it's cluttered and full of books. I wish the longans were ripe before I left.


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