One of my readers asked me in confidence why every time I went out to eat, it was always with D. I could have fired back defensively, saying that it's because he's the easiest person to bring along when it comes to (mostly) impromptu dining missions. While that is partly true, it's also because I haven't been making an effort to see my friends lately.
You know the saying that you need to strike a perfect balance between your work and personal life? I don't think so. I think it's more of a juggling act. While one aspect of your life is in the air, you take care of what's in your hands. I haven't been doing that very well, so I'm slowly trying to get back in touch with the people that matter, if only for the sake of my sanity.
(An embarrassing photo from college, with a bunch of people I used to spend a lot of time with.)
A couple of weeks ago, just around the time the rainy season came in, I decided to meet up with a good friend for dinner. Even at this point in my life, I'm still in disbelief that someone I used to see practically everyday when I was a fresh grad, is now someone I only see every few months, if I'm lucky (hashtag: #adultlifeproblems). Nikki and I decided to meet somewhere near my office for dinner, and we both agreed on one thing: pho.
Now that it's raining, I really can't think of anything better than having a big bowl of steaming hot pho to warm up. Our default Vietnamese place is Pho Hoa, because a) it's comforting, and b) it's good.
I don't really need to tell you everything we talked about, but let me just say we talked about True Things, and Things That Matter. I will tell you that it was good to see her, and that I realized just how important it is to stay in touch with your friends. We also exchanged gifts! It's like Christmas, but in June!
If you're wondering what those paper things are, they are our zines. My friends and I are trying to be more creative, and we channel that through our self-published efforts. It's fun leafing through a freshly-xeroxed zine and picking the author's brains, trying to understand what they have to say about life, and the stuff that's important to them.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me show you what we ordered.
Nikki opted for the Pho Ga (P155). As I type this, I can't think of anything better and more nostalgic for a rainy day than chicken noodle soup. This bowl is light enough not to leave you groggy, but hearty enough to warm you up even on the most dismal day.
I chose the Pho Nam, Gan (P199 for a small bowl), or the flank and tendon combo bowl. My love affair with pho came a little later in life, and I have never once looked back. What else can I say about this dish other than it's the kind of food you eat to make you feel better when you're sad or sick, or to warm you up when you're cold. It's like the Security Blanket or Favorite Jacket of Food, so to speak.
Hanging out with Nikki over noodle soup and good conversation made me realize that it's the little things in life that you should never take for granted, especially the people that have seen you grow up from an angst-ridden college student, to an angst-ridden yet responsible adult. These are the people that make your life better simply by being your friends.
So to the people I love, let me take the opportunity to say that I miss you, and let's go out for dinner sometime. I promise not to blog about the embarrassing bits.
Pho Hoa is located at UG/F SM Megamall Bldg. A, Julia Vargas Ave.