Sense and Sensibility

Hello. I am April. I am the other author of this blog. :-)

At the time of this first entry, Hien and I have never met. In fact, we have never even spoken. Yes, I do wonder what her voice sounds like. But after years of extensive communication in writing, mainly emails, I consider her one of my very best friends. 

"The age of the Internet," as my grandmother would say. In truth, Hien and I have a personal connection too. I went to school with her boyfriend, T., who has always been the brother figure in my life. Growing up, I knew he couldn't have been so pretty and sweet for nothing - Hien's quite a catch! :-)

Yet the connections between Hien and me, and the reasons we began this blog, go far beyond our mutual acquaintances and regular emails. We lead parallel lives. Hien and I were both born in Vietnam, though at opposite ends of the country. She grew up in Ha Noi, the capital, the city of monuments and memorials, the place where every cobble stone tells a story of the 4000-year-history of Vietnam. I grew up in Saigon, a city that bustles with young energy for reform,  a town in so much of a hurry to modernize that it hardly knows its own identity. Hien and I both appreciated the heat of the tropics, the smell of Pho on the streets each morning, and our pentatonic traditional music. Hien studied art and architecture in the UK whilst across the pond, I moved to New York for medical school and graduate school. Hien met T, I met my now husband N. We went on with our very different lives. She lives in the world of creativity, expressing her ideas through drawings. I live in the world of science, analyzing every facet of life with experiments. She draws. I write. 

But at the risk of sounding cliche, that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us. Hien and I are two women who have both had opportunities to travel half way around the world and rebuild a new life for ourselves. Driven by our careers, which in some instances defy previous generations' assumptions of traditional Asian female roles, we both work hard to make our own marks. We have both been lucky enough to find wonderful men who respect our ambitions and share our aspirations. On any given day, we attempt that nonexistent balance between our jobs, our families, and our personal lives. The challenges we face as well as the joy we have found in our separate worlds are remarkably similar. The only difference in our approaches to life, and subsequently our appreciation of life, is that of sense and sensibility. 

And at any moment, somewhere in the world, another woman is beginning her day. She, too, will ponder what Hien and I ponder here - herself, her family, and her place in a changing world. Human history, especially women's history, has undergone significant transformations in recent decades. Some of us still find ourselves at a crossroad with many choices. Others are not lucky enough to have those choices at all. But once again, we share this blog precisely because we know that...
...that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.




mihaela said...

...and if u draw a line between new york and cambridge ...and then extend it , u could come across iasi/romania...

Hien said...

ah ha - maybe we need to get you involved in this darling ;)

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