Aloha, Bliss.

Aloha, Bliss.

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Aloha~ This is Anh in Hawaii :)
Recent Tweets @anhchitect
Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hey Anh! I'm not sure how long ago this was, but I saw that you go to DAAP at UC! My name is Megan Hill and I'm from Indianapolis, and I really really love UC. I'm a senior in high school and I'm still filling out applications and everything for college but UC is my #1 choice. I want to be in the DAAP program too and do co-ops like you did. I'm thinking of majoring in fashion design and Spanish. Please tell me anything you can about your Cincinnati experiences so far! You seem very talented!
hawaianh hawaianh Said:

Hey Megan! 

Wow how did you find my blog haha I had this 2 years ago when I did my co-op in Hawaii. Anyway, I am so glad that you are thinking of applying for UC! It may be better to email me at, then I can tell you a bit more on everything. But basically, as an architecture student, right now I’m a senior doing an exchange program in Paris. My co-ops have been in Hawaii, Chicago and Boston and I have had opportunities to travel abroad to France, Germany and Spain. As far as fashion major goes, I know my friends have co-oped in NYC, Seattle, for Vera Wang, Chico’s, White house Black market.

Shoot me an email and then I can tell you more about DAAP and UC in general :) and thanks for the compliment! seriously couldn’t be the person I am today without all that has happened in college. 

I can’t believe I am already back in Cincinnati. Did 4 months really just pass that fast?

I still haven’t got back to my usual routine in Cincinnati, yet. Somewhere at the back of my mind is still that lifestyle in Maui, Hawaii. I must say, the time in Maui left a great impact on me, which will be hard to get over for a while. I feel a bit bitter, actually, realizing it is true all good things come to an end. 

Tom just sent me a bunch of emails full of pictures he took of me, all of which made me nearly tear up in studio.

This one is titled “I love you”



"The asian girl is not for sale"

"The woman that gets things done with style"

"Missing you"

I miss Hawaii, Tom, Michelle, Jeanne, uncle Bill, Max, Barry, Gary, Andri,.. and everyone.

See you again, Hawaii.

Mahalo for being the ohana I need for the past 4 months. 

With love,


Today I woke up at 4am to attend a webminar held by VietAbroader, an organization in Vietnam run by students studying abroad in America like me, as a guest speaker to talk about my major, Architecture.

Then it struck me: damn i’ve come such a long way.

I don’t think I’ve told many people about my journey, but now that I look back, it sure has not been the easiest path. Here is my story if you’re interested.

I was born and raised in beautiful Vietnam, oldest child of the 3 siblings. Since young, I showed some interest in drawing, thanks to the comics/manga I read :) I even started drawing comics, and little did I know that was the start of my artistic journey. I, however, hated art classes. I purposely skipped drawing classes mom sent me to to go to the bookstore and read manga :D (i don’t think my mom even knows it yet. oops). Anyway, when I was young, I thought I was going to be a diplomat, multilingual and always on trips abroad. That kind of thing, ya know. I always wanted to study abroad in the US too :) 

After grade 9, I was fortunate to get a scholarship to study in SJII, which was one of the turning points of my life. I started thinking about my future career, and, much to my dad’s initial disapproval, I decided to take Art as one of the six subjects for my IB, alongside with physics, econs, 2 languages and math. I started thinking, maybe, just maybe, architecture? My parents said no. They thought I should pursue finance or business (and, heck no! imagine me doing business? o____o). Mom said I should think about interior design too, because it’s easier for girls, and i was like, that’s not right.

Then there came a talk by architect Fumihiko Maki, which completely changed my direction into architecture. He was so inspiring, and it was so bizarre how such a little man can design great buildings with grace. I’m little too, and I believe that I can do the very same thing.

So I decided to apply for architecture schools. And boy, it was a rough time. Architecture is not a very common major for vietnamese students when they study abroad, and thus, I had very little help and advice. Almost none. None could tell me how to prepare my portfolio. None could give me tips on applying to design school. That was one of the most frustrating moments of my life, to be honest.

But well, I made it somehow :) I didn’t get to my top choice, Cornell, but I ended up at UC, and that made it all the better, because I realize now UC is where I am supposed to be. I am doing so well in school, making so many amazing friends and going further than what I expected. It is just.. strange how things turn out. The little 5 year old me, the very one that started drawing Doraemon characters on paper, couldn’t have imagined how she would end up here, in Hawaii, today. 

I don’t know where I’m going next, or whether I will continue architecture, but architecture has been the reason why I am who I am today, and I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve achieved. Life is like a building and I’m the architect. I build my own life, despite how hard it it and impossible it may appear sometimes. To all of you who have a dream, pursue it, and it’s ok to be afraid, because seriously, if you’re not afraid there’s some problem with you lol. 

For real though, no finance major for me and I’m glad I picked architecture :)


Tom et moi

We were working on some pictures today, and took a little break. He told me: “in 50 years, make sure you show your grandchildren this video about the time when their grandmother was young and lively. you will cry.”

That made me almost tear up.

Ahhhh 2 more weeks ;(

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hey Anh, im an interior design student at UC. I have been trying to find some sort of internship opportunity in Hawaii and I was steered in this direction. I guess im just wondering, how was the whole experience? I know his work is basically fine arts so i wasnt sure if he only took art students, or if he was interested in design or architecture students as well? I was curious as well, but I know the level 2 internship you have to pay for, but is yours paid? Or are you paying to be there as well
hawaianh hawaianh Said:

hey there! glad you found my blog. You can tell, this is not a normal interior design/architecture job you may find in firms. I, however, am learning a lot from this. I take this as a learning experience for young designers like me, since my aesthetics have been changing since I came here. Tom has taken many people who are interested in design or simply a change of life style. I myself am an architecture student, and he’s been doing co-op with architecture department at UC for about 5 years already I believe. I don’t pay anything and he doesn’t pay anything as well. Accommodation and food are covered and we have a very good life here :) I honestly wouldn’t trade any other firm for this rare opportunity to work with Tom, because a few people I know turned it down due to the unpaid aspect. I’m really glad I’m doing this, plus I got to write a letter to Frank Gehry lol! Tom is friend with Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne. How awesome is that? But anyway, I hope this answers your concerns! Aloha~

I can’t believe how fast time flies. Cliche much, but seriously, it goes by so fast especially when life is too good. Damn it. To think about it, I’ve already started making arrangements for my life back in Cincinnati: signing up for classes, scheduling work hours, working on my portfolio for the next co-op… 

Recently I haven’t been able to sleep well. I can just lay down on my bed as early as 11:30 and still can’t sleep until, say, 2 AM. It’s a sign I might be thinking too much about something. But what? Oh, plenty. Stressful things. But see, that’s the problem. I’ve had the pleasure to temporarily forget about all the things that have troubled me the past 3 months, and as soon as my subconscious mind can tell the departure day is arriving, it has to act up and bring back that old habit and voila, the worry-free Anh is slowly disappearing. I really don’t want to go back to that person anymore, seriously, but I guess I don’t have a choice. After all, this life is temporary; my life back in Cincinnati is a bit more permanent, at least for the next 2 years.

But whatever, I am so glad this experience happened, though. This could be one of the best things that I have been blessed with :) Like I said before, it was a chance for me to escape from that busy life I had in Cincinnati, that complicated social circle that I thought I might need a break from, so that I could, hopefully, reach that state of “zen,” where I got to learn more about myself. And guess what, I did :D I haven’t exactly “left behind” my life in the mainland, but I’ve learned to let go a few things and, sadly, people, which brings me to the next point.

Recently I’ve read an article about, if I remember correctly, 20 things you learn in your 20s? Anyway, something along that line, and one of the points was about knowing who your real friends were. Yeah yeah, another cliche, that was what I thought. But really though, it’s so important that you know who your true friends are, and you don’t realize it until something happens to your friendships and you have to learn the lesson the hard way,

I’ve been here and there, with no certain destination and haven’t even been home for more than a year recently. In the position where I call friends my family, I know how to appreciate friends, and, I’m just gonna say this once, will do anything to help my friends. BUT, if you do anything to destroy my trust for you, don’t even think about a second chance. I treasure friendship a lot, and am blessed with the friends I have in my life. But as much as I want to keep my friends, I don’t want some fake friends around, who come to me and be the nicest little things in the world and the next minute talk shit behind my back. My life doesn’t need that kind of friends. :)

But on a more positive note, one of my best friends from Singapore is coming to intern for Tom the end of this month and we’re going to Honolulu for a short vacation before I leave! 

Have a great weekend everyone!!


Guess who’s on Craigslist again?

LOL :)))

If anyone knows anyone that might want a moped, go HERE and help Tony out. 

I’m getting better at modeling for craigslist stuff :)


HEHEHEHE I love this app

A short update 

Sorry i haven’t been posting much these days. I’m a busy lady. Will post something soon. Miss y’all and love y’all who’s reading this :)

Cincinnati people: HANG OUT WHEN I GET BACK? YES?