My present-self is very thankful for past-self for scheduling a random vacation today this morning. Jim and I spent the early morning hours putting a trauma victim’s mouth back together and I didn’t return home until 4:30a – a very long day when you consider I got up at 4:30a yesterday to get to my anesthesia rotation on time. I fortunately was able to sleep in; I hope he’s doing okay in clinic. Jeff and I walked down to 45th to try the French bakery we’re always passing and saying we should go in and we were beyond rewarded.
The coffee was dark to perfection; the croissants were flakey and delicate and had real ham and cheese, not the lunch meat variety. The real treat came after a small question, “Is that you in the picture?” to the elderly Vietnamese baker who handed us long baguette.
His name is Xon Loung and he grew up in a French bakery in Vietnam. He told us a 15 minute long story of how he commandeered a boat and steered it for seven days in open ocean with 700 people on board to escape Vietnam to Indonesia. While he was relating his history in broken English, it came to me that stories told likes this won’t be here for very much longer – the first hand accounts of old war terrors and life before the internets. I’m thankful we had a few moments to chat and for the flakey pastries to accompany it.