Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The other day I had the weirdest experience. I went to my local Subway to get dinner. So I walked in, and stood behind the father and son that were in the process of having their sandwiches made.

There was only one person at the counter, so I just stood there.

Then a different guy came out from the back and rang up the father and son. Then he went back into the back room. I figured at that point he was in charge, and had some big, important job to do in the "back".

So I stood there.

And I do want to take this opportunity to pat myself on the back - I was pretty patient. I didn't try to look like I was in a hurry. I didn't sigh, fold my arms, or tap my foot. I just stood there.

At this point, a couple walked in the store, and got in line behind me. And we all stood there.

Then, in a truly surreal moment, the guy from the "back" came out to the counter. He walked up to the couple behind me, that just walked in, and asked what he could start for them.

As I continued to stand there, I was a little bit incredulous that he didn't even acknowledge me, and started their sandwiches.

I looked at him, then looked at them. I looked back at him, then at them.

At this point, there was an entire inner-dialogue that I won't bore you with, but it did involve a selection of words, and whether I should say them...And I didn't say any of them. I'm SO proud of myself. :)

Suddenly, the guy at the counter looked right at me, and asked "are you with them?" Meaning, the father and son that were leaving, and at this point standing about 20 feet away from me. I answered "nope". And he proceeded to apologize profusely for not helping me. Everything ended up fine, and all's well that ends well.

This whole episode got me to thinking. At certain points in our country's history, there were entire groups of people that were treated the exact same way that I was. They were invisible.

Even today, people that don't fit into our same social groups or in our same social-economic group, sometimes they are invisible. It made me think about if I've ever walked downtown and treated a homeless person as if they are invisible. Then it made me think about if I've ever treated ANYONE else as if they are invisible, for any reason.

I'm sad to say that I'm sure I have at some point or another.

I have vowed to take this encounter with invisibility, and make it ensure that I never treat anyone else as invisible. No matter what.

Here's to being blind to status and anything else that we use to judge others.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

moon cake

This is a moon cake.

I teach piano to a 76 year-old Vietnamese man.

Today he gave me a moon cake. And he told me to eat it with my mom.


I've got to be honest, I really do not know the significance of the moon cake. And, since the wrapper is totally written in Vietnamese, except for "moon cake", I can't even find out.

I do know that on August 15th, Vietnam has a Fall Festival, and it is an almost universal holiday to celebrate the past successful harvesting season. People chip-in offerings, and families gather together to celebrate. I just learned this from Vietnam Online. :)

So I'm guessing that his gift of moon cake is a celebration of Fall festival. But really the amazing thing in this story is that he is still excited to learn. We have a lesson every week, and he almost never misses. Except last week, because he was in the hospital. HOSPITAL!

But, this week we were back at it, counting out rhythms, and learning new musical terms like triplet.

I can only hope that I am as dedicated to something, and determined to excel at it when I am 76.

UPDATE: My roommate from college just posted on my Facebook page about the moon cake. She is an English teacher living in China now, but she did live and work in Vietnam for 8 years. She says:

"I just peeked at your blog and saw the part about the mooncake. Yummy lard. :) I'm not so fond of the preserved egg in the middle, but I like the lotus paste. The legend is that a mortal woman offended the gods by desecrating a banyan tree. It grew up around her, pushing her up to the moon and leaving her there as punishment. Children light lanterns every mid-autumn festival to light her way home."

Thanks Kim for the firsthand knowledge and cultural information. It makes that lard taste so much better! :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

another reason why I love my dad

After graduating from the University of Georgia and living in Athens, GA for 10 years, I am still a huge GA football fan. Today I had some things I had to do and since I don't get ESPN at my house, I wasn't able to watch the game. UGA is playing South Carolina, and Dad is texting me updates on the game.For example:

SC drives for a TD. 38-35. 3:30 to go.

Hold on. Murray throws a 40 yd TD! 45-42. 2:15 to go.

These are the texts I'm getting as Dad is watching the game, and keeping me up to the second on all the big plays. As much as I'm saying "Go Dawgs!", I'm saying "Thanks Dad for taking the time to text me all the big drives and scores".

He's a great dad, but this just puts him over the top.
Thanks Dad!