Back in Hanoi, one of my favorite pastimes in the summer was to meander around West Lake and eyeing nice houses. One that always lingers in my mind was a one-story house, coated with a vintage yellow paint and guarded by a small yet luxuriant garden. Among the endless rows of tube houses, which traded their lake-facing facades for business purpose, that place felt so solitary yet delightful. As if you could just sit there and listen to the seasons passing by like stories (in addition to gathering on pavements and exchanging gossip pleasantries).
I visited Venice, California in a summer’s day, but there was still some breeze left from the previous months. As I walked through the Venice Canal Historic District, the Hanoian in me was provoked, and the second thought that came to mind was, “They should totally make coffee shops out of these views.” The first thought, on the other hand, wasn’t sufficiently verbalized. Surrounding me was whimsical representation of colors and styles. Some looked like they came out of a fairy tale in the woods. Some had a Spanish colonial style to it. Some were modern, and some ambitious and noble. But regardless, each and everyone of them were so generous with the sky, together they became much harmonious and unassuming.
And they gave “dwell” its true meaning.