Mental Health Holiday

Sometimes I get so caught up with job performance and responsibilities that I am slow to realize the negative impact on my mental well-being.  My birthday was the perfect excuse to escape on a four-day weekend to the Shire. Some people have a different idea of vacation, but for me a trip to the countryside was just what I needed to clear my head. Nothing beats fresh air, good food (lots of it), and family.

Highlights from the weekend:
Friday – I was welcomed with a large plate of extremely spicy tham muanh to kick off the weekend. I think it was more excellent than usual, but I always say that.  Noonie and Booger arrived a little later, and we went for a walk (during which he peed on me through his diaper).  That night, I fell asleep to Mom’s ghost stories (future blog entry) and a special on Animal Planet about mermaids.  That combination made for very weird dreams.

Saturday – In the morning, as soon as I was conscious, Mom asked if I wanted coffee and rotis for breakfast.  Ahh, this is the life.  This time she layered the flaky pastry with egg white omelettes, drizzling the stack with sweetened condensed milk.  Roti always makes me think of Chiang Mai and also my childhood.

I went tailgating for the first time ever. I can’t say I suffered much in the past from missing this experience, but it was surprisingly fun, mainly because of the company.  I ate excessively, and the eating continued back at my aunt’s house during supper.  This time, I fell asleep watching the Twilight saga, of all things, which led to a not-so-unusual discussion about how the movie characters reflect the direction society is headed.  This is where Mom imparts her infinite wisdom, thinking I haven’t caught on by now.

Sunday – My cousins, DP, and I drove to the International Village for crawfish and treats.  If you are ever in Doraville, you must stop to get a couple (or 4) pounds at this place called (appropriately) the Crawfish Shack.  The restaurant is quirky in a Louisiana-meets-Atlanta-meets-Southeast Asia kind of way.  The environment is pleasant, and the crawfish is loaded with intense, spicy Cajun flavor.

We ate so much that we had to walk around Buford Highway Farmer’s Market for a little while so we could make room for treats.  If only I could find a place closer to home that sells green papaya, sour makok (June plums), or any other essential Southeast Asian food at these great prices.  I could spend my entire paycheck there.

Last stop was a new spot for us: Sweet Hut, in the shopping center where the old 99 Ranch Market used to be.  These cute little new-age, Asian-inspired bakeries are my weakness, and they are popping up all over the place.  Mozart’s Bakery is still my favorite, but Sweet Hut might be taking over once I try more menu items.

Second day back at work for The Man, and I am easily distracted by memories of all the awesome food I ate and the long car trips full of side-splitting laughter. Most people say they wish they didn’t have to work, but life needs contrast: how else will you fully appreciate all the carefree moments?  Just another reminder to make every day count, and to take time for yourself with the people you love.

The bounty Mom sent with me, back to reality.
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