Thursday, February 26, 2009

My private class at home

I have 3 private English classes: one in a company and two at home. My company class is learning the book Market leader, level Elementary. My home classes are doing a course on TOEIC, Test of English for International Communication. I would like to talk about my teaching at home.
I teach at home in a room on the fourth floor. The room has got some tables and desks, enough for 10 students. My mother-in-law bought those tables and chairs for my father-in-law's classes. He used to teach at Hanoi National Economic University and he had classes at home, too. He is retired, now. So I can use them for my classes.
This is a photo of my dear students. They learn on Monday and Thursday. They study very hard and they are ambitious. Their major is finance. I taught them at university when they were second year students (now third year). I think I made a good impression on them when teaching them. As a result, one day in September 2008, the group met me and asked me to help them study English. OK. I have one more opportunity to earn money. They are so nice: go to class on time, interested in studying and 'treat' the teacher well. They bought me flowers, a small handbag and a big cake on Teacher's Day. In return, I try my best to help them study and get high results. And then, one of these students recommended me to her friends. I have one more class. And then another student recommended me to her room mate, who is also a student at my university. The new class will start in March. Not too bad. But the biggest problem here is the quality of the lessons. I have to be more responsible. I am not allowed to waste the students' money. Above all, I can not make them disappointed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lonely is the night

'Lonely is the night' is the title of a song I often listen to when I am working at my desk. If you love music, enjoy this song with me. Here are the lyrics.

Really thought that I could live without you
Really thought that I could make it on my own
Sent you away yeah I said I didn't need you
I let you go I let you go I let you go
Now I'm so lost without you
Now you're not here and now I know
Lonely is the night when I'm not with you
Lonely is the night aint no light shining through
Till you're in my arms till you're here by my side
Lonely am I
Never thought that I that I would need you
Never thought that I that I'd be missing you
Gotta get you back I just got to find a way now
To let you know to let you know to let you know
That I'm so lost without you
And now this world it ain't just right
(repeat chorus)
I can make it through the day
I can fake it okay
I just smile and pretend
And I tell myself I'll be alright
But lonely is the night
Lonely is the night
(repeat chorus)

The words are so wonderful. Sometimes, my students want me to translate English songs into Vietnamese. I often refuse. It is not because I can't but I think if we translate, we cannot express all the feelings in the songs. Click here if you want to hear the song by Air Supply.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Home alone

My parents-in-law go to Quy Nhon for about one month. They set off on 19 Feb. My husband also goes on business to Ca Mau for a week. He flew on Sunday 22nd. So I am staying at home with my son now.
My parents in law reminded me not to forget to water the plants and to feed the two birds and the gold fish. I always do that when they are away.
On Saturday, I decided to do the housework. The first thing I did was to clean the kitchen. It is often messy when my mother-in-law is at home. I may be a bit stricter to say that she is not well-organized. It took me about one hour to throw away the remaining food and clean the dinning table. I don't mind doing that but I know when she comes back she continues to put everything on it, which makes me so disappointed and not want to clean up. The second thing was to clean the bird cages and feed the birds. So dirty. If I did not do that, nobody would. I finished doing the chores by 8.30 p.m. Tired.
On Sunday, I took my son to the art class as usual. It was a bit wet and cloudy. On the way home, we ate lunch at KFC. my son's favourite fast food restaurant. In the afternoon, I had a headache. I took some panadols and slept until 2 pm. I was in bed and did not get out until 5 pm. In the evening, I had to do some work until after midnight.
While I am home alone, it is a bit busy. I still work full time. However, I can manage my own life. That is what I always always always long for.
Today, while I was checking my summer clothes ( I am a bit fatter, so I am afraid my old summer clothes do not fit me any more), my son took this photo of me. He sometimes likes taking photos of his picture stories, his toys and his mother. He said that: 'Mummy. You are a teacher. So why are you so fashionable and graceful?' So funny. In fact, I want to be smart in my son's eyes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine of 2009

Today is a special day for lovers. In Vietnam, not all people celebrate this day. (It should be highly appreciated because we can not live without love). Young people like Valentine. Why? It is an occassion when they can declare their love to somebody or confirm their love for somebody or show how much they care for somebody and to tell/show other people that they are in love. A day full of love. So wonderful. Just people in love can feel that most clearly.
Valentine is associated with chocolate hearts and roses and love greetings. They are easily noticeable presents. However, I think the most important present on this special day is love and care from our lovers, the happiness we feel deep in our heart when we are with them and when we think about them.
Valentine's Day is only one day in a year. For me, when we know that somebody somewhere loves us, everyday is Valentine's Day. Wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I am a 34 year old woman. On my birthday, I received some greetings from my close friends. All of them wished me happiness, good health and success in life. Mrs Lua said that ' I wish all your wishes and dreams come true.' I told her I liked this wish most (just joking). She replied 'I am afraid you have too distant dreams.' I told her not to worry, because I only have small dreams. Smile.
In fact, people do not celebrate their birthday in Vietnam, except young children. We just hold a small party and invite close friends and family members. One day before my birthday, my family-in-law had a small party for me and my sister-in-law gave me a small gift. I was going to invite my close colleagues out for lunch but they were busy. So next week when they are free we will have a late birthday party.
The picture of flowers above was given to me by a friend who lives in a foreign country. He knows I like this kind of flowers (one of my favorite kinds). That is why he sent me a garden of flowers.
I was so happy because I still received greetings from friends after my birthday. One friend said that I had a birthweek (not only birthday) to celebrate.
What do women feel when they are 34? I felt a bit older, a bit more experienced in life, a bit more grown up, but still romantic. On the Internet somebody said that women at the age of 34 are the sexiest. So funny. I would like sexy in the meaning of charming.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Trip to Bat Trang

Bat Trang is an ancient ceramic village in Gia Lam. It is very very famous for its ceramic products and it has become a tourist attraction in Hanoi. However, today is the first time I have been there (although it is not very far from my own village).

I set off at 8.10 am and it took me about half an hour to ride there. The weather was not as good as I expected: a bit cold and cloudy. But it was still good enough. The road to the village is on the surface of the dike on the bank of the Red River. It is narrow, winding and in a bad condition. I went past a village where a lot of guava trees are grown. On the way back, I bought a kilo of guavas.

I got to Bat Trang quite early when the people here started their new business day. After leaving the motorbike in the park at the entrance, I went to a cafe, had one cup of white coffee and didn't forget to buy a bottle of mineral water in case I was thirsty while walking along the main road of the village.

It was obvious that all the people here lived with ceramic products. Every house and flat on the two sides of the road has become shops and workshops, selling and producing ceramics. The market was about 1 km far from the entrance, so I had to walk quite a lot. But it was wonderful to walk in the art atmosphere. On the way, I visited some workshops where the owners invited me to try to make a ceramic product. I had no time and in fact I am not good at arts.

The market was divided into some sections. I started with section A, of course. It was a small market. All the kiosks sold similar things and the prices were reasonable. The products were various. I did not buy many things, just went 'windowshopping'. Actually, I got two things: a mug and a bracelet. The mug was nice with the football team name on it: Manchester United, the club I like. The bracelet was made of some ceramic pieces, each piece had a letter on it. I chose 9 pieces which formed my name: Minh Quyen. The shop assistant said that the bracelet was durable and the color wouldn't fade. I hope so.

I left the market and the village around noon. In general, I had a good time there.

On the way home, I bought some guavas. The seller was an old woman. She was with her husband, an old man. They were about 70 years old. But they acted as they were young couple. I heard the woman call her husband 'anh'. At this age, the couple often call each other 'ong' and 'ba'. So lovely. They must be living very very happily.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A new friend

I have got a Skype account and built up a short list of contacts. I think the 2 main reasons why I have not many contacts are: I do not want to search for contacts to add to the list and my friends often use Yahoo Messenger or chatroom (I myself have never used them and find chatting with strangers a waste of time). I remember my husband opened the first account for me a long time ago when I used the desktop. Then he uninstalled Skype, maybe because he wanted to prevent the computer from viruses. I managed to install it again and opened my account. Sometimes when I have nothing to do, I sign in and chat with the people contacted me. One of these people is whom I decided to write about. Before talking about this friend, I want to emphasize that I just chat with most of the contacts once or twice, then stop (no time to chat, really, and no interest in chatting). But this friend is an exception (more than once or twice).
As usual, when a person sends me a greeting message when I am offline, I often reply when online again. He sent me a message saying that he wanted to make friends. He found the sentences I wrote about myself in the profile touching, so he decided to send a message to me. And I sent him a message when I was online but he was offline at that time. I did not pay any attention to the exchange of the messages. In fact, it was just for fun. But one day we both were online. We talked to each other. I knew that he was from Holland. When he mentioned his country I told him I thought of windmills, tulips, dams and dikes, football and famous footballers I like (but I don't like the Holland football team). I also showed him how to pronounce my first name Quyen. It sounds like the English word queen, but it is also easy to be pronounced like 'quen'. And in Vietnamese, quen means forget. In fact, I just wanted to make fun when showing him that. He said he never forgot me. Since then he has called me queen. Oh, a typical sentence made by men.
Of course, we continue to contact each other whenever we are online and when I am in the mood for chatting. And we find that we have several things in common.The most noticeable one is we both speak English as a second language (smile). That is why we can talk open and straightforward what we may find difficult to talk in our mother tongues. Knowing English is an advantage.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A trip to a friend's village

His name is Nam. He is my husband's business partner. He is the director, and my husband is the deputy. They used to work for Ebara company. Mr. Nam lives in Ha Dong Town. On Sunday, 1 Feb he invited the whole company to his house in a village, about 4 km from Ha Dong, to have a Tet party. His family's house is newly-built. It looks nice and very clean. It is situated in a very quiet village, on the bank of Day River. The house has got a traditional design. It is made of bricks, tiles and a lot of wood. The furniture matches the house. That means the owner, Mr. Nam's father, has a good taste. Moreover, I know that he is very rich and successful, maybe one of the richest and most successful man in this village. He only goes to the house twice a week.
We had hotpot there and visited some staff's houses in the same village. We went back home at 3 pm.