While riding back from San Jose to Rosemead with the usual Vietnamese bus company Xe Do Hoang, I didn’t think choosing to sit next to an elderly woman would gain me a new friend. In the million times I’ve ridden this bus, I have yet to ever make a friend. Well, I had a good conversation with a woman who called me “hefty” once.
**Side story: During my freshman year in high school, I was able to make conversation in Cantonese with a kind middle-aged woman. We got to talking about our families and what not, and it was nice to be able to share life on a 6 hour bus ride home. She then proceeded to ask me if my family was from Beijing, and I told her no. I asked her why she guessed that, and she told me that people from Beijing tend to be hefty. Thanks, friend.
Helen is her English name, and Hai is her Vietnamese name. Hai Pham. My roommate Miss Jessica Pham would appreciate that. She’s 68-years-old, with five children ranging from the ages of 22 to 49. Yes, a big gap but she’s satisfied nonetheless. I later found out her son, also 22-years-old, goes to UCLA for Dentistry, and that he also lives right in Westwood. In order to protect his identity, all I will say is that he also has only five letters in his first and last name together. Soul mate?
Hai kept pouring flattery over me as she told me repeatedly that I was a “sweet girl,” that she felt like she knew me for a long time, and that she “loved me.” She even gave me her fan and said for me to keep as a gift from her and also in remembrance every time I used it. I was a little surprised, but I accepted her gift gratefully. I guess I’m part of her, would you say, “fan” club. Hahahahahaha…no? Sorry. I definitely enjoyed her company and conversation more than anything. She reminds me of my Great Aunt May, with the same spunk and pretty good handle on the English language.
I was invited to go to her house some time whenever I was in the Santa Ana area, and she even gave me her contact info. Both home and cell number, and her home address. She told me delicious food was only a phone call away, as she promised me she made a mean North Vietnamese style fish. I was excited to take that offer up, and am seriously considering doing so.
I gave her my cell phone number, and that if she was ever in Westwood visiting her son, she should give me a call.
Hey, I’m not an ageist. 68 or 16, as Camera Obscura put it, “I need all the friends I can get.” So if you want to give it a try, get on the Xe Do Hoang yourself.
Did I just advertise a Vietnamese Bus Company as a new way of networking? Oh dear.
This is Amy Hu signing off for October 3rd, 2009.