All posts by randomjourneys

“Dignity is a state of mind…”

“Dignity is a state of mind, just like freedom.”

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

In high school, they require you to read many different books. If you’re really unlucky, then you get assigned summer reading homework before you even meet your new teacher. Like all high school students in the summer, I was not that thrilled to get a summer reading assignment. However, I took solace in the fact that my English teacher gave me a list of books to choose from. And it was from the book that I chose, Warriors Don’t Cry, that I discovered one of my favorite quotes of all time.

This quote inspires me to be my own person. It says that it shouldn’t matter what other people say or do to you. If you’re proud of what you do, hold your head up high. In the end, everything is all in your head. Take the Civil Rights Movement as an example. The quote basically states that freedom is a state of mind, and this is completely exemplified in the Civil Rights Movements. African Americans weren’t slaves. They weren’t forced to do work for no money, but they were segregated and cut off. To a person’s perception, this is not freedom. Normally when someone thinks of freedom, they always go to the freedom of speech, freedom of press, etc… that is listed in the constitution. However, due to the prejudice and segregation, this wasn’t available, giving the perception of no freedom that was justly rectified.

So in the end, remember that everything depends on how you perceive a situation. The mind is a powerful thing. Take pride in what you do and don’t let other people drag you down.




Hải Yến

I adore Vietnamese food. It’s something that I grew up with and keep coming back to. The food is fresh, lean, healthy, and tasty. It doesn’t make you feel sick when you eat it or sit heavy in your stomach.

Of all the Vietnamese restaurants that I’ve tried, Hi Yến is one of my favorite. There are plus and minuses to the restaurant, like there is in every place, but this little shop in Vietnamese town, Chicago serves some of the best food around. Here are some things that I love about their food:

  1. Their meat is super tasty. It’s the of charcoal-grilled, flavor packed meat that’s hard to find anywhere else. The owner actually marinates the meat herself and brings it to the restaurant everyday, so nobody actually knows her recipe. That’s how you know that this is delicious. It’s homemade.
  2. Their fish sauce, or Nước mắm, is not super sweet. I absolutely hate sweet fish sauce, and almost every other Vietnamese restaurant makes their fish sauce too sweet. Hi Yến  is one of those rare places that doesn’t do that. It’s just the right balance of sourness, sweetness, and saltiness that’s hard to find anywhere else.
  3. Their food is consistent. One of the major problems of Vietnamese restaurants is the fact that the food is not always made well. Some days you go in and the food is absolutely delicious. Other days you go in and the food absolutely sucks. Hi Yến has always provided delicious and tasty food. My family have taken other people to this store and it’s never failed us even once.
However, there are somethings that I would not get. For instance, broth based items, like phở, aren’t that great, and their dessert items are okay. But regardless of this, I still absolutely adore this restaurant for their tasty and consistent food that has never failed me or anyone else I bring.

Restaurant and Address:

Hi Yến
1055 W Argyle St
Chicago, IL 60640


Grand Prismatic Spring


Yellowstone National Park is a truly beautiful place. I highly recommend it to anyone that hasn’t gone, especially those who adore the outdoors. But of all the different attractions I went to, the Grand Prismatic Hot Springs is probably the most beautiful. Words and pictures cannot describe the immense size or beauty of the multicolored pool of hot water.

Getting to Lome, Togo in West Africa

Getting to Lome, the capital of Togo, is a chore in itself. The hospital that my dad and I were going to work at was located in Mango, Togo, a 12 hour drive from Lome. However, in order to get to Lome, we had to stop at a Atlanta, Georgia, and Paris, France. While the flight from Indianapolis to Atlanta was not that long, the flight from Atlanta to Paris was 8 hours. I’m so happy that we had premium economy. I got a good look at regular economy, and I would not have survived 8 hours in such cramped quarters. And while premium economy isn’t close to business class, it is a lot better than economy.

After we got to Paris, we had a 6 hour layover before our flight to Togo. When I asked my dad why we did this, he said it was to make sure that our luggage actually made it on to the plane to Togo. This makes sense, since it is not as if we could easily buy the stuff we need when we get to Togo.

From Paris to Lome is a 5 hour flight. You have to love international flights, because even though it was short, Air France still served approximately two meals on the plane. When flying on an US airlines, you don’t get any food, even if you’re flying to Hawaii from Chicago.

Here is the meal I ate during the flight from Atlanta to Paris
Here is the meal I ate during the flight from Atlanta to Paris

It was night by the time we arrived in Lome, and going through customs wasn’t too bad. There was a temperature check and we handed over another form detailing illnesses we’ve had to an official that was stationed before the customs. There was a period of time where I thought I wasn’t going to get into the country though. On the customs form you’re supposed to fill out, they ask for a phone number in addition to the address of where you are going. Unfortunately, my dad and I weren’t given a phone number that the hospital uses. Since you can only go through customs separately, I was stuck talking to the official who was demanding a phone number. I almost had a heart attack since everyone there could only speak French or the local language. How was I supposed to explain that we weren’t given a phone number? I didn’t speak any French! Luckily, they let me through eventually, and after I met up with my dad and the other doctor I was traveling with, (let’s call the other doctor Dr. JF since I don’t want to use names) I learned that they had the same problem I did.

We also had a bit of a problem getting the medical equipment through security as well. Dr. JF thinks that the guards wanted a bribe, but fortunately the English speaking reverend found us at that point and was able to convince the guard to let us through, no bribe needed.

After clearing customs, we were taken to a hotel/bed and breakfast to stay for a night. Apparently it is too dangerous to drive at night, so we wouldn’t drive to the hospital in Mango until early the next morning.Above is a picture of the room we stayed at. Currently, my dad is untangling wires so we can charge our phones and camera.

Here is a picture of the room we stayed at when we got to Lome. Currently, my dad is untangling our phone chargers.
Here is a picture of the room we stayed at when we got to Lome. Currently, my dad is untangling our phone chargers.