Two Trips in One Week

Last week, I took two trips, which turned into unforgettable vacations. When my niece told me that she, her dad, and her brother were taking a short trip to Wildwood, I asked if I could join them. I haven’t seen them in a long time; therefore, it was a perfect opportunity to spend some time with them. I am glad that they let me crash their party. We biked on the boardwalk, visited the casinos, dined in various restaurants, drank a few cocktails, and took many trips down memory lane.

Time had flown by so fast. It felt like yesterday, my niece and nephew were my kids’ age now, but they had grown into adults. Samantha finished college and spent her time teaching kids English in Taiwan. Eric will start Drexel in December. I am so proud of the fine young woman and man they are becoming. I also had a chance to reconnect with their dad. No matter what happened, he is still my brother-in-law and I have nothing but love and respect for him. Although the trip was only from Sunday to Tuesday, it gave me just enough time to spend with them. I am glad that I invited myself to the trip.

I spent most of last Wednesday packing for the camping trip in First Landing with other Scouts’ parents. Since it was our first time, I didn’t know what to expect. We brought two tents: one for my wife, Vương, Xuân, and me and one for Đạo and Đán. We brought some instant noodles and food. I brought two cases of beer to share with everyone. It turned out that one of the leader’s wife brought Phở, grilled beef, and pork for all the family. I had so much respect and admiration for her. We didn’t have to worry about food from Thursday to Sunday morning. We spent time on the beach, drank beers to keep us hydrated, and ate whenever the meals were ready. It was like living in paradise on budget. The campsite was affordable and the food was free. I wanted to chip in for the food, but she didn’t take it. All I could do was show my appreciation for her generosity.

Because of the extremely hot weather, we (mostly the men) drank cases after cases of beers. I have been quite reckless with my gout, but somehow I am not getting attacked yet. I got a mild case a few weeks ago and two pills of Aleve knocked it right out. The kids had their own fun and I was surprised how well they played together. There were no conflicts nor fights. They played in the water, ate, and watched movies together. They enjoyed catching crabs and fish at night. The men drank and talked until 2 am in the morning. Maybe it was the Scout spirit that drew us closer together. I felt like we were a big family. We put our differences (mostly politics) aside and just enjoyed our companies. We had a fantastic time with our own little family as well as the extended friends.

I am so glad for these two trips. They were my much-needed breaks to clear my mind as I am dealing with some personal dramas. I still need a lot of work to repair the damages. I am thankful for my wife for keeping it real with me as I sort out my issues.