Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ho Chi Minh Museum

This Saturday morning I paid a visit to Ho Chi Minh Museum, which is in my list of places in Hanoi I should explore. It was downtown. So it took me about 30 minutes to ride my motorbike slowly there.
The museum was a big and modern building in a large garden. It exhibited so many objects relating to Uncle Ho, from his childhood things to his testiment. For foreigners, the museum gave them an overview of Uncle Ho, and for me, it remined me of my history knowlegde. My friend said the museum was well-organised. I agreed. But many objects there were models. There were many tourists there but it was not too crowded. The visit was less than one hour. I enjoyed the open air area: large and green and fresh air. The garden was well-cared.
I finished my morning with an early lunch in Goethe Institut's Restaurant. This is the third time I have eaten there. It was a nice restaurant: lovely and romantic decoration and delicous food. Especially, they had vases of so beautiful and fresh roses. I would like to recommend you that restaurant for next time you invite your beloved to eat out.

Low tech woman

I don't know much how to make use of the computer. Computering is so complicated for me. I click where I can click and test results while other people know exactly the position to click the mouse.
Long time ago when I chatted via Skype, my partner asked me to send a photo. I told him to give me his email address. He said no need because I could do it via Skype. But I had not ever done it before. He guided me to use Send File step by step. Poor me. Now I am good at sending and receiving photos and documents via Skype. :-).
Today I encountered a problem with connecting my Nokia to my laptop. It took me 3 hours to solve it. Tiring. After noon, I wanted to transfer some photos from the phone. But nothing happened. I opened Nokia PC Suite and it said no phone connected. I thought there was something wrong with the phone and the computer, so I turned them off and turned them on again and again. Same problem, no phone connected. On the screen, a sentence appeared. It said something like problem with connection and gave me the instruction like open Control Panel – Add and remove programmes – PC Connectivity Solution – Change – Repair. I did as it said but could not open Add and remove. I send my friend a message and told him that I had a problem with the two hi tech things. He advised me to uninstall the Nokia software and install again. I took out my Nokia CD. But first you should uninstall the programme. I could not open Add and remove. I sent him a message and told him the problem and said that I would ask an IT man to help. At that time he texted me and asked me to be patient, sometimes it took 5 minutes to open Add and remove. OK, I gave it another try. I stood up and went to the living room to relax. After a while I came back to the desk. There, it opened. I opened Control Panel – Add and remove programmes – PC Connectivity Solution – Change – Repair. The first time I must have clicked the wrong place, nothing happened. I tried again. It worked. So happy.
I call myself a low-tech woman. Please don’t laugh at me or tell me ‘No, you are wrong. You are a no-tech lady.’

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing a CV

The term 'curriculum vitae' is not strange for me. At school, we teach third year students how to write it, preparing them for applying for jobs after graduating. As a teacher, I am well-equipped with the theory: how many basic parts a simple CV should have, what you should you put under each heading of the CV. But as a job hunter, I am so bad at making my CV attractive. (Honestly, I have written it several times before, but just a very simple one). So embarrasing for me. :-)
Recently, a friend has helped me apply for a part-time job as a translator/interpreter for an office in Hanoi. And I was requested to submit a CV. I gave him a CV draft for proofreading (he is a consultant and accustomed to recruitments and job interviews). The feedback was: my CV should be improved more. I modified my CV as he suggested and now it looks much more 'professional' (I hope so). I would like to express my many thanks for him.
I learned a lesson that a CV should act as an advertisement for yourself, it should be written in a way to help sell yourself. You should mention your unique selling points. :-). ( I think if 'target customers' read my old CV, they would refuse me immediately. So simple, nothing impressive, nothing persuasive. I could not sell myself :-)
It is clear that sometimes what I teach is not like what I do in reality. 8-(. But I will try to bridge the gap.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Old students

Yesterday evening my students learning TOEIC in my place came to congratulate me on the occassion of Vietnamese Teachers' Day (20 Nov). It was a surprise for me. I had dinner late. So when they came I was still washing the dishes.

They presented me a bunch of light yellow roses (20), a pair of funny slippers, a card and some fruit. We sat in the tiny but cozy living room. My students put the flowers in the vase for me and they prepared the fruit. I contributed some cups of yoghurt from Bavi picnic. We talked and laughed and had a small party with fruit and yoghurt. We forgot the time. When I got a message from my friend, I learned that it was late for my students. They had to travel around 10 km back home. Poor them in a cold night. I thanked them for coming to me and saw them off. Then I read their card. They wrote ' Happy Teachers' Day! We wish you happiness and success. We love you.' So touching.

I took some photos. It is quite easy for you to recognise them because they appeared in my previous blog entry (one completely new student).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Picnic to Ba Vi

Last Sunday, I went for a picnic with my colleagues. There were about 45 people including children. The bus picked us up at out university at 7.30 am, which meant that I and Bob had to wake up early and travelled there by motorbike. Bob was very excited about the trip. Nothing surprising because he likes travelling. After a light breakfast, putting on warm clothes, we set off.

Ba Vi was about 60 km far from Hanoi. Not very far, so I decided not to take nautamine (carsick medicine). Luckily, both of us did not suffer from carsickness.

We arrived at about 9.30. From the 'bus park' to the exact destination was about 2 km. We had to walk. It was really a natural place: path, no road, green grass and bushes around us, 'dirty things' from cows or goats or lambs under our feet; however, fresh air and peace. So different from our city life. We stopped in the middle of a little pine wood. The people who were responsible for preparing main course for us had put up a tent-like thing. The view was fine but it was much better if it was sunny. Poor us, it was so cold and windy here. All of us sat in groups chatting, grilling lamb meat, baking corn and sweet potatoes, enjoying our lunch outdoors and teasing and joking with each other and singing. A lot of fun. But unfortunately, my Nokia had low battery and it shut off automatically, not many photos were taken.

Bob got on well with other kids. He had a good time too. He liked playing around the fire.

At 2.30 we decided to start the journey back. Walking through the field again to the bus. The bus ran at 3.00. On the way back we stopped to buy fresh milk, caramel and youghurt. (Bavi has got farms raising cows.) When we were about 10 km from Big C, we got stuck in a terrible traffic jam, which took us two hours to escape from it.

We got back to our motorbike after 6.30 and home at 7.15 I thought. Cold and hungry. We just had a light dinner and went to bed early.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy when being with son

My son loves watching Disney Channel, like other kids. After coming home from school and after doing homework he often watch it. Today, no homework, so he has more time for himself. This afternoon, while I was busy with cooking dinner, he enjoyed his programme “My Dad, Your Dad’ so much. He talked and laughed. I urged him at least twice to have dinner. He said yes and then laughed and talked again. When I stepped into the living room to see what was on there, here was what I saw. I slided my Nokia and took a snapshot.
Oh, by the way, this morning, we went swimming together. He was able to swim from the deepest end (1.9m) to the other end of the pool once after mummy encouraging and challenging. He made it. And what I found funny when I happened to see him swimming with his head above the water. I could not help laughing. No one taught him to swim like that yet. And whenever he saw me swimming towards him, he started to dive under me. Or when I stood up to have a break he also grabbed my body and dived. So happy. I can not imagine one day I and my son can swim like these days. It is just a basic type of swimming but it is my breakthrough.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big eater

Compared to my family members and my colleagues, I do not each much. True. All of them say that I eat so little. I start eating at the same time with them but I often stop before them. I get full so quickly. However, my best friend often teases me by calling me 'Big Eater'. The reason is so simple: I often order more dishes (but hardly ever finish all of them) when we eat out and and can eat fruits many times. :-). Here are two evidences that I am truly a BIG EATER.

Thursday

After changing my teaching timetable so many times, I have Thursday off work. No teaching at all. Even I suggested my students that they should learn in my place on Thursday, they refused. A full day for myself in the middle of the week. But in fact, no teaching does not mean no working. I spend the day finishing making and editting my group's end-of term tests and unit reviews or marking my students' papers. Last night, I tried my best to send the last review in order to have my Thursday today completely free.

I got up as usual because I had to take my son to school. On the way home, I went shopping and prepared food for lunch and dinner. After that, I checked my email and intended to go swimming in a pool called "4 seasons" (which means you can go swimming there for the whole year because it is indoors). But I could not swim today. I felt a headache and had to stop working on the computer. I took medicine and slept on the sofa until noon. I got up and prepared lunch and took medicine again. Then I slept on the sofa until 4 pm. I felt much better.
Time to pick up Bob at school. We went to the hairdresser's after school. My son's hair was 'long' so I wanted him to have a haircut.

When we got home, I cooked dinner. Simple but delicious. And now, sitting on the sofa and surfing the net and enjoying being lazy.

I love my Thursday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'When you tell me that you love me'

When you tell me that you love me (13 November)

I Wanna Feel This Way
Longer Than Time
I Wanna Know Your Dreams
And Make Them Mine
I Wanna Change the World
Only For You
All the Impossible
I Wanna Do
I Wanna Hold You Close Under the Rain
I Wanna Kiss Your Smile
And Feel Your PainI Know What's Beautiful
Looking At You
Here in a World of Lies
You Are the True

And Baby
Everytime You Touch Me
I Become a Hero
I'll Make You Safe no Matter Where You Are
And Bring You
Anything You Ask For
Nothing Is Above Me
I'm Shining Like a Candle in the Dark
When You Tell Me That You Love Me
I Wanna Make You See
Just What I Was
Show You the Loneliness
And What It Does
You Walked Into My Life
To Stop My Tears
Everything's Easy Now
I Have You Here

In a World Without You
I Would Always Hunger
All I Need Is Your Love to Make Me Stronger

All of you

All of You
Julio Iglesias and Diana Ross
I've never had this feeling before I've never wanted anyone more
And something in your eyes tells me
You feel the way that I do (I feel like you do)
If you would like to stay here all night
You know that I would say
It's all right
Though I'm saying yes I confess
I've got more on my mind
'Cause I want more of you
Than your time
All of you, your body and soul
Every kind of love you can express
All the secret dreams you've never told
I want everything
And I'll take nothing less
All of you as long as you live
Everything you've never shared before
I want all of you that you can give
All your joys and all your sorrows
Your todays and your tomorrows
How I long to feel the warmth of your touch
And then if I'm not asking too much
I'd like to spend my life wand'ring through
All the wonders of you
And when we're lying close in the dark
So close I feel each beat of your heart
I want you to reveal what you feel
All you hold deep inside
There is nothing I want you to hide
All of you, your body and soul
Everything you want this love to be
I want all of you
All that you can give
And in return for all your giving
Let me give you all of me
All of you, your body and soul
Every kind of love you can express
All the secret dreams you've never told
I want everything (everything) everything
All of you as long as you live
(As long as you live)
Everything you want this love to be
I want all of you
All that you can give
In return (in return)
wanna give you... Let me give you

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My nicknames

Nick name is an informal name for someone or something, especially a name which you are called by your friends or family, usually based on your proper name or your character (Cambridge Advanced Dictionary). I have had at least 6 nicknames with their own story. My first nickname is 'Em bé' (Little Girl). My parents used to call me like that because I am their youngest child, even when I was a student. My brothers and sisters called me 'Tũn' (meaning something like small but ugly name). I knew, they called me by that name because they wanted to tease me and it implied that they loved me. That name was still used even when I had nieces. I remember my first brother-in-law called me Aunt Tũn on be half of his children. And at school, I was the monitor of my class from Grade 1 to Grade 8, my classmates called 'Lop truong' (Monitor). They hardly ever call me by my name. My fourth nickname is 'Quyên Tàu' (Chinese Quyen). It was created by a neighbor. She is about 8 years older than me. Maybe my name sounds Chinese and my hair looks Chinese. :-). At work, I am named 'Quyen 2', so that I can be distinguished with Quyen 1, Quyen 3 and Quyen 4. We have 4 teachers called Quyen in my department. So interesting that this name is rare but it is one of the most popular name in my department. Once I made a joke of the name Quyen 2 with my friend. I said number 2 made me always a number 2 person. So sad. I also know that in someone's contact, I am named '1 call'. Now I am number 1. :-). Happy.
I love my nicknames. They go along with my life and they remind me of my childhood and people who surrounded and surround me now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cocktails

Believe it or not, I have never tried cocktails and I did not know what cocktails were until yesterday when I prepared a lesson relating to how to make a cocktail for my students in a hotel. I just knew it was a drink and often appeared in menus. And my friend once mentioned some cocktails but long time ago. That was all.

Why did I have bad knowledge of cocktails? There are some reasons. First, I do not drink alcoholic drinks: wine, spirits, beer, bitters, liquors. Second, cocktails are not common for Vietnamese people, especially average people like me. Moreover, cocktails are a bit luxurious (my student told me that the cheapest cocktail in the bar is 75,000 dongs).

Now I know more about cocktails, from the Internet and from my students (4 or 5 students awork in the bar and one is the bar captain). Cocktail is drink that is made up of a mixture of different beverages such as fruit juice or soda and usually alcohol, and served iced or chilled (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.) There are so many kinds of cocktails and each kind has got a name which was called by the person who created the recipe to make it. Some names sound scary, such as Bloody Mary. To make a cocktail you need the following equipment: shaker, zigger, measure, bar spoon, strainer, stir stick and glasses.

Making a cocktail is an art and the bartender is an artist. They serve cocktails in cocktail glasses of different shapes and garnish them with cherries and slices of lemon, orange or celery. I am so amazed when I find that tobasco sauce and salt and pepper are used to add flavours to cocktails. Unbelievable. One important thing about a glass of cocktail is that it contains main tastes of life: sweet (sugar), sour (lemon, lime), salty (salt), and bitter (bitter). Honestly, I love looking at glasses of cocktails. They are sooooo beautiful and in fact they are works of art. By the way it is not too difficult to make a cocktail as long as you have got right equipment, right ingredients (at least 2 kinds of spirits and fruit juice or soda) and passion for cocktails.