Saturday, August 29, 2009

Autumn arrives

Even summer is over but the weather in autumn these days have been really humid, even more terrible than in summer. As a result, I was sick for nearly 5 days, eating little (mostly fruits) and drinking a lot of water.
Autumn arrives and children start their new school year. One more week to go, my son will go to school ‘full time’ from 7 to 5.15. This year is his last year in the primary school. Just wish him a successful year.
Autumn in Hanoi is nice and is associated with ‘romantic’. The sky is high and blue and clear. The sun shines brightly. The wind blows gently. The trees are full of green leaves. It is not very hot and at night it is even cool. A season for lovers to miss each other more. However, autumn is also seen as ‘sad’...

Friday, August 21, 2009

'You don't have to say ...'

In our coursebooks, sometimes we have some songs for students to enjoy and to consolidate certain grammar items. The song 'You don't have to say you love me' is one of these songs. Students enjoy it when learning 'have to'. A nice and sad song but I like it (although I don't want to be like the woman in the song). I just found some information about it in Wikipedia. It says "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" is a song recorded by British singer Dusty Springfield. It is an English version of an Italian song called "Io che non vivo (senza te)" (translated: "I, who can't live (without you)") written by Pino Donaggio and Vito Pallavicini. Springfield heard it at the Sanremo Festival in 1965 where it was performed by Donaggio himself and his team partner Jody Miller, and she presented it to Vicki Wickham and Simon Napier-Bell, who wrote the English lyrics for the song. Released in early 1966, the single release of Springfield's recording became a huge hit and remains one of the songs most identified with her.

You said you would always stay
It wasn't me who changed but you
And now you've gone away

Don't you see
That now you've gone
And I'm left here on my own
That I have to follow you
And beg you to come home?

You don't have to say you love me
Just be close at hand
You don't have to stay forever
I will understand
Believe me, believe me
I can't help but love you
But believe me
I'll never tie you down

Left alone with just a memory
Life seems dead and so unreal
All that's left is loneliness
There's nothing left to feel

You don't have to say you love me
Just be close at hand
You don't have to stay forever
I will understand
Believe me, believe me

You don't have to say you love me
Just be close at hand
You dont have to stay forever
I will understand
Believe me, believe me, believe me

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New clothes

As a rule, when a new school year starts, I often buy something new for myself , such as a handbag, a new bottle of perfume, a pair of shoes, some clothes. This year, I bought some new clothes instead of going to the tailor's. I am fatter. My skirts are fine but shirts are too tight. I spent a whole Sunday morning strolling downtown and finally decided to buy two new shirts and a dress. I don't know why but it is quite easy for me to choose ready-to-wear things. And my friends find them nice. I hope they mean it. :-). (My friend took this photo of me in a new dress at the end of our teaching day today.)

Money

Sometimes I am offered chances to make money. Sometimes I have to turn them down. Sometimes I feel so sorry for that. My time budget is limited. I told my friend that I was so greedy, I wanted to earn money but I also wanted to take care of my family. It is obvious that I can not do both of them well at the same time. Both of them need my time. Trade off. If you turn left, you can not turn right. I am teaching an evening class in my colleagues' center. They are short-staffed. I told them I could not continue after 10 lessons. I don't know if I can stop or not because they insisted me to cooperate with them. I have just refused another evening class at VOV. But other chances come to me. Students ask me to teach them outside school time. They are waiting for my reply. And I am considering. It is much better if they come to my place.
This noon, when we were relaxing in the staff room, some colleagues said that they wished to reduce working time (35 periods /week) on condition that their husbands could bring them more money so that they could stay at home more. I just smiled and asked them how much was 'more money'. They calculated and gave an amount. A dream number for most of teachers in my department. However, I don't think they would reduce workload if they got that amount. We work for money (extremely right) but for enjoyment as well. Am I a dreamer? Anyhow, I am not rich (poorer than the rich) but not very poor (richer than the poor). Some people even tell me that I will be rich because I have got a beauty spot in the middle of the hollow part on the front neck, it is considered as a money hole - so funny........ Despite it, I still want to work to earn as much money as possible. Nothing good comes to a lazy person. And I still understand that money is not everything.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Souvenir from Bat Trang

A friend of mine just gave me a souvenir from the trip to Bat Trang: statutes of a famous couple Chi Pheo (man) and Thi No (woman). They come from a famous story which I think most Vietnamese people know. I remember telling my friend a bit about their love story that goes back to before 1945. They were very very poor. Chi Pheo often drank and got drunk and often sweared and cursed (he had been a good man) and Thi No was so ugly. In general, they had no friends. One night Chi Pheo got drunk and was ill (caught a cold). Luckily Thi No found him and cooked rice porridge with some small spring onion (very very simple rice soup) to offer him (Vietnames people think hot porridge and onion can help people with a cold be better). And they fell in love with each other. Their love story is part of the whole long story Lang Vu Dai Ngay Ay (Vu Dai Village in the old time). Obviously love is every where and comes to everybody.

Getting back to work

My first working week is nearly over. Nice to get back to school, meeting colleagues and old and new students. This semester I teach quite a lot. Not a big problem for my health but I haven't got much free time for my son, especially these days he doesn't have to go to school yet.
From now on, we have different coursebooks for students of different departments: Market leader, Tourism, Engineering, IT and Toeic. Luckily I am assigned to teach Market leader and Toeic. As a result, not much time on preparing materials.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Where Did Your Heart Go?"

A friend of mine gave me this song in a collection in a USB long time ago. Now it turns out to be the song I listen the most in iTunes, 35 times.

Where did your heart go
By Wham

I spend my nights down on the wharf
In unlit alleyways
By the church downtown
Where Sally prays
Come down sometime
We'll share a rusty can of corn...
And listen to the radio
I love you, I love you, it says...

[CHORUS:]
Where did your heart go
Did you put it on a train
Did you leave it in the rain
Or down in Mexico

You cry, but I don't know
I've heard it all before
There it goes again, the slamming of the door
Sometimes the river calls me
And at night it calls my name
Says "put your troubles down beside me"
Things have always been the same...
And rock 'n' roll won't teach me
What the river said that night
I jumped into this beauty
And drifted out of sight...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Swimming course

The goal for the summer I set for myself is that I can swim. Now, summer is over and it seems that I have achieved that. Happy. Both my son and I can swim and feel so comfortable in the water. Whenever I ask him to join me to go swimming, he agrees. I must admit that I was afraid of water, drank some pool water and that it took me time (and money) to get confident in the pool. I practiced a lot and went to the pool so regularly that the safety guards knew me. From now, I have not much free time but I can still go swimming 3 times a week (Thur morning, Sat and Sun).

New School Year

Tomorrow I come back to work again. I have prepared teaching materials for the first week quite well. It is clear that I teach more classes than the last year (9 classes at school and 3 classes in the evening). I don't know if I can handle that or not, but I give it a try. Good news is that all classes at school are in the same campus and it is in Minh Khai street, which means easier to assess, no flood, no dust and no bumpy road; and 7 classes are learning the same books and so are the other 2 classes, which means I don't have to bring many coursebooks. However, my son will suffer a bit when mum works hard.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer holiday is over

My long summer holiday is nearly over. New school year starts in a week. Today afternoon I have to attend our falcuty meeting, preparing for the new school year. It also means that autumn in Hanoi is coming. The hot weather will disappear soon (this photo was taken on one of the hottest day in Hanoi). However, some hot days are still expected in August.

I am happy with summer 2009. In general, I have done some good things. Son attended his art club (however, skipped some days because of travelling), we had wonderful (and informative) trips (especially my mum had a chance to travel by air) and we started to learn to swim (now we can swim, not very well but progress made). And I gained weight, a bit (no change in diet but maybe my life is more comfortable). One thing I did not do very well is teaching my son English regularly (this will be better in the new school year).