After 1,353,600 seconds … still no “the best day” in Missoula!

9.9.2015

I am crying when rewriting the title which appears on my journal every day. I cannot say today is the best day in Missoula because I definitely know that tomorrow is much better. YSEALI Fellows, you know, we just have 1,153,670 seconds left (13 days, 8 hours, 27 minutes and 50 seconds) to be in this incredibly peaceful and wonderful land. Cherishing every single moment here to learn and discover is the most important mission of us these days (even Cookie personally just has 3 to 4 hours to sleep a day, LOL)

Run and Discover

Gorgeous Ricky and Cookie

I want to start my personal sharing by the question of an American friend in First-Year Reading Experience Lecture “What brought you to the US?”. – “Destiny!!!!”. Yes, destiny brought me to the land of breathtaking views of mountains and super friendly people. Yes, destiny brought me here to meet you…. and:

To run and feel…Running in the morning and the evening…It was pretty cold and I tied my shoelaces to run. Running to discover this land, running to revitalize my brain…It was interesting as today I had the photos of Running Cookie and Running Carrot in PEAS (Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society) Farm. Such an amazing coincidence! I closed my eyes, breathed and touched the land, smelt the wind and felt part of my heart definitely left in Missoula forever as it was the first land I lived beyond the border of Vietnam.

Running Cookie and

Running Carrot!:D

To learn: Never in my life did I think that America had super large farm and developed agriculture like this PEAS farm where we visited in the morning. The most wonderful thing from this organic farm was its great effects to the society: thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables were given to low-income Missoulians, many volunteers, internship students and troubled youth and adults worked here, wonderful education and training in ecologically-conscious food production…

We were guided to harvest many kinds of vegetables and fruits with admiration, laughter and happiness. That moment called me back the time at home when I sowed pine seeds with my parents in a clumsy way and my dad named the garden “Garden of my Cookie”.

We also learned and discovered more about the Boundary Water Treaty and many issues regarding Mekong Basin such as sediment, seawater intrusion or flat topography… from Dr Len’s lesson. We had more time to dig deeper into Climate Change-related issues with Dr Steve Running. You know, we moved to 3 places to learn: in the class, outside the class and finally we joined the class with UM students,… One of the best quotes in the day was mentioned as a reminder for all of us as part of global citizens, “The rise in CO2 is proceeding so slowly than most of us today will, very likely, live out our lives without perceiving that a problem may exist”.

Lesson with Dr Len and ….

…with Dr Steve Running

-To say thank-you: how much I appreciate your enthusiasm and support from you: Mel directly helped Victoria to see the doctor, Mercedes, Jami, Shanti, Peter, Pat and Nick (our beloved GTAs) always helped us a lot during our indoor and outdoor activities. Taking care of each fellow, encouraging us and helping us as much as you can in both academic and social aspects, all of which made you all wonderful in our heart. ❤ Nick and Jami, today I made mistakes when calling you but two people I called were not you. Oh my god!

And today was the time that I could meet almost GTAs from the morning until 9.30pm. Love those faces. :3

Beautiful Shanti

Wanna meet you more, Pat!

.Nick and great ideas

Lovely Mercedes

Funny Bro Peter

Wonderful Jami

– To Discover:

The second coincidence was The Farm Director was Quinn’s Dad. (Quinn was one of 5 beloved members from Glacier Institute). Unbelievable! Quinn had such a wonderful father and vice versa.

The third coincidence when the UM student Charlie who joined me the trip to Glacier National Park sat next to me during the class but I ignored as he cut his hair. Today was a day full of surprises.

I also discovered food in Vietnamese grill with Vietnam team in Downtown. The smell and the view with conical hats, Aodai (national costume), postcards were so wonderful, which reminded me of home and traditional New Year of Vietnam. The food tasted so good. We would have more chances to tell about that in upcoming discussions with high school students and potlucks. We were so excited about that.

-To be inspired

Writing was always one of the best motivations for me. Such an honor to meet John Vaillant today to listen to his sharing about his thought-provoking book “The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival” To me, it was truly a lesson to learn, to know the connection and balance in life in not only relationship among people but also people and animals. I was motivated to take my pen to write something. I wrote my journal and mentioned many great things about that book. I also met a friend of Peter, who was also interested in writing. He asked me about the differences between Western and Eastern literature styles. In fact, each culture had its own way of expression and communication and our mission was to discover, not to judge. I could not stop that conversation though it was really late and I planned to run back the Inn from the school. OMG…..

And thanks Gump for stopping me running in the dark at 9:30 pm. I knew it was dangerous but it was always Cookie’s style.

I think of a famous quote from Marcel Proust

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Being here in Missoula I have both (DEFINITELY).

After reading this, I hope at least my beloved YSEALI fellows and I can cherish moments we have together as one of the best time in our life. But believe me, today is not the best day for this time because tomorrow will be much better!!!!!! 13 days, 8 hours, 27 minutes and 50 seconds in Missoula…. left. What are you going to do tomorrow?

(From Cookie- Quy Nguyen)

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