Before meeting chú T, I remember eating a delicious dinner cooked by mum. She made sườn xào chua ngọt, canh bí gừng, canh chua sấu, and rau muống. I had 3 bowls of rice and was super duper full by the time I stood up, getting ready to grab some drinks with chú T.
We met at Nê Boong-Kê. This was also my first time ever grabbing drinks with a mentor, just drinks no food. Chú T wasn’t just any mentor, chú is one of my top mentions in any related conversation and is my role model. I think chú was happy and impressed that I have grown so much from the Thảo Trang that he remembered. Chú sent me lots of hopes – saying that I will be more successful than he is right now. But chú also advised me not to get lost in New York, all senses considered, and that I should step up in my credit card game. Chú also questioned me about my choices of partner and the time I spend/waste on people. I think for chú, humans were, are, and will always be the primary factors that keep him grounded and inspired regardless of what he does. So maybe that was why chú is more concerned about and interested in my decision in this area.
But what really took me aback was his side of stories. Chú is a reserved person and his silence usually speaks louder than his words. But somehow, chú shared a lot with me today. I feel like I’m taking it all in and thinking about chú in a much different way. And I did tell him this. That he is less like a mentor now, after today, but more like a chú that supports me wholeheartedly in my journey. He would be happy as long as I am happy and he truly meant it. I’m not saying that a mentor doesn’t think that way, but I believe that a chú would want that more than anything to his “con.”
Also, we didn’t just grab drinks, we ate until we super full – cháo sườn chợ Đồng Xuân, Xôi Lạp Sườn, Trứng vịt lộn… We ate and talked for so long that the store owner had to tell us to move since the cops were coming. It was past midnight by the time we parted.
I knew chú is always my north star and I could always count on chú in my hard times because he will always be there for me. He said that many many times and I am 100% sure he really meant it.