Wow. I bet you’ve wondered where the heck I’ve been, right? I’m happy to tell you that I am still here, breathing and kicking. Things have changed quite a bit since I was here last, and although I always tell myself to set aside some time for blogging, it always comes down to the multitude of other things that takes precedence over writing. Alas, this morning, at 6:40 a.m. I am allowing myself some time to write while my daughter and husband sleeps. I’ve been doing that a lot lately – waking up early, that is. It’s a new habit that I’ve formed. In order to present myself with time to do such things as writing, reading, catching up on TV shows, I told myself that I have to wake up earlier, albeit it’s not something that is in my nature. I’ve been doing it for over a year now, and it’s still hard sometimes. But nonetheless- I usually don’t regret waking up early. I’ve learned that is simply what a lot of other parents do in order to get time for themselves. Along the several changes happening in my life lately, one big change is my family coming to America, and my mother moving in with them. It’s been a long time coming. For over a decade, my mother has been working on an application to sponsor my brother and his family to come to America; the process through which the US government has put her through is no doubt harrowing and stressful. From 2013 through end of 2014, she lived with us while she worked on this process. Finally – finally –the time came, and on January 22, 2015 the family arrived in America. And that’s now a new tradition started. You see, where I come from (Vietnam) food is not only a major source of nourishment for the body but also nourishment for relationships. Familial ties are important. and food connects people. So it was no surprise when, after my family came over here, that they’d invite us over for dinner every Sunday (sometimes on Saturday). Being prompted with the idea of not cooking plus free meal, we eagerly said, “Sure!” and came over. In the past few months, I’ve been fed with anything from the recent Bun Cha Gio to Pho to Bun Rieu, traditional dishes of Vietnam. Through these dinners, I’ve re-connected with my family, my daughter has learned some Vietnamese, and my husband has received more exposure to the language and food, my nephews have received more English practice, and my mother being genuinely happy to have all her kids and grandkids in one place. That can’t be beat. Here’s the thing I’m ashamed to admit : I am not good at cooking Vietnamese food. I’ve always been spoiled by the women in my family when it comes to cooking. It wasn’t until a few years ago I decided to embark on learning how to bake, and even baking is hard – I can only imagine the complexity of making Vietnamese food. However, this dish is about as simple as it sounds – throw some cooked vermicelli noodles with grilled meat, sliced cucumbers, peanuts, julienned carrots, some mint leaves and lettuce with some fish sauce, and you’ve got a meal. The fried egg roles are simply icing on the cake. To make that involves another recipe of its own, but you can find one here. Each part of the dish requires separate preparation, but laid out in a buffet style for everyone to pick and choose the quantity to their liking. I have a feeling this tradition will last for awhile.