Back to Our Regularly Scheduled…. Er? Happy Birthday and Anniversary, Mrs. Jiwaku!

There’s been a lull around here. That’s been for a combination of reasons, some of which are personal and which I won’t go into, but also because Mrs. Jiwaku and I have been rather busy lately. This week, we:

  1. found the apartment we’ll be living in for the next six months, 
  2. celebrated our anniversary, and
  3. celebrated Mrs. Jiwaku’s birthday

For her birthday, I got her a portable black metal easel for painting, because she’s really gotten into that hobby. I figured a metal easel would be easier to move around than a wooden one–to stick into a trunk and bring along when we move to some other country, I mean.

As for our anniversary, we exchanged presents we made for one another. I wrote her a Book of Hours, though along a different theme than the traditional sort: old-fashioned Books of Hours were filled with prayers for specific times of day, to which monks could refer at each of the liturgical hours. The theme of the poems in this book, however, is our relationship. There are eight poems per day, each one associated with specific time of day: midnight, 3am, 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, sunset (i.e. around 6pm), and bedtime (i.e. around 9pm). I also stitched the pages together, and bound them into a book for her. I see this as the first attempt, and plan on revising and expanding the book over time, remaking it (hopefully with better book-binding skills) in the future.  



Mrs. Jiwaku’s anniversary present to me was a phenomenal painting she made based on an idea I suggested to her as amusing for a canvas: Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, from an iconic photograph:



… jamming with Rowlf, the piano-playing dog from The Muppet Show:

While she was working on the painting, I finished drafting a short story titled “Stars Fell on Alabama” so she worked that theme into the backdrop, while she was at it.

The result? Phenomenal, like I said:


(Edit: She has posted a detailed, step-by-step photo log [in English] of how this painting ended up taking the form it did, in two parts: Part 1 | Part 2.)

So anyway, we’ve been busy.

We had a long day out on our anniversary (though we were stuck in Saigon; Mrs. Jiwaku’s passport hadn’t yet gotten back to us from its latest renewal), but we got a nice place for the night, out in an outlying district of the city, for her birthday. The next day, we came back to town and signed the rental agreement with our new landlord. We move in on Tuesday! There’s a swimming pool! (You pay to register to swim, but it’s not expensive. We’re looking forward to evening swims.)

2013-08-16 13.39.32
That post-apocalyptic structure in the distance is an apartment building that was being constructed, till the money ran out. It’s been stalled since sometime in 2012, and we’re hoping it stays stalled for the next six months, that is, for the duration of our contract. Oh, and we’re in the building on the left…

Once we move in, we’ll still be a bit busy: we have to pick up some kitchen stuff and a new desk for me to work at, and I’ll be behind on my work for the last week of the Jazz Improvisation course I’m taking at Coursera, plus I plan to dive straight into work on the novel I’m (finally) ready to start drafting. But I have some blog posts planned, including:

  • getting back to work on my series covering Ezra Pound’s The Cantos, poem by poem
  • discussing film script and fiction writing advice, especially formulas and manuals, and the dangers of following formulaic prescriptions too closely, and
  • posting on some films I’ve seen with Mrs. Jiwaku lately, which I’ll probably organize under the series title “Films for Grownups” (because, overwhelmingly, what I’ve realized watching a few “good” films with her is that “kids of all ages” is a far more ominous string of words than most of us really realize) 

8 thoughts on “Back to Our Regularly Scheduled…. Er? Happy Birthday and Anniversary, Mrs. Jiwaku!

    1. Yep… anything we should know?

      We’re hoping it’s not the exact same apartment where the insane expat dude threw the naked Vietnamese woman off a balcony to her horrifying death, though didn’t that happen in that complex (was it last year)?

      The rent was unusually, er, reasonable, though, so you never know… but the place is pretty nice, and a lot of the Korean expat forum people (of the kind who didn’t want to live cheek-and-jowl with their countrymen in Sky Garden Apts.) had pretty good things to say about Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3.

      1. Ah, remember hearing about that. Was worried for a while that it was someone I used to know (who had a tendency to fly off the handle) but fortunately it wasn’t. Well, fortunately for him, not for the poor girl.

        HAGL3’s a nice place. Had a few friends living there before. Good apartments. The pool’s a bit shallow from what I remember, but it’s nice having it right there. We live over in Sky Garden ourselves, mainly because I like to be able to walk around the area (and also because we found a good-sized apartment at the same price as our old place).Of course, it does mean things like drunken Korean men passed out in the lift from time to time ;)

        1. Chris,

          Yeah, sounds like it was a horrible incident. Poor woman. I had a similar experience in Korea once, hearing of a Canadian of the right age and mentality to have committed a murder I heard about, though it turned out not to be the guy I knew.

          Glad to know we’re at a nice place. As long as I can swim without scraping my knees, I’ll be happy. Didn’t know you were in Sky Garden, though, ha, we almost looked there, except, well, after living with drunken Korean businessmen draped all over our neighborhood for years, we felt like a change of pace.

          We should try meet up sometime, after we’ve made our move… :)

          1. Definitely! A few decent bars & restaurants around Phu My Hung, and some good Vietnamese places in the more local parts of the area. Shoot me a msg when you feel settled in enough.

    1. Thanks Charles, and the Missus says thanks too.

      It hasn’t been a year since our wedding, but we celebrate our anniversary on a different date. Long story, involving a mountain, an airplane, and a schedule. You’ll note, if you look at lunar calendar, that it is on 7월7석, yes really. But, like I say, if you heard the story, it’d make more sense. (Like a song that would normally be overly-sentimental, except when Sonny Rollins plays it it just ends up kind of being pretty without the goopiness.)

      (Because of my music homework for my online course this week, I’ve been working on figuring out how to play a song that usually ends up being goopy and sentimental, without letting it happen to my version.)

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