Sunday, February 28, 2010

Summer weather in spring

Spring often have unpleasant weather in Hanoi. It often drizzles, cold and wet and floors and walls often water. As a result, not many people like spring. This year, so strange that we are enjoying summer weather these days in the middle of spring, hot and sunny. We can wear light clothes. In the early morning and in the evening, it is still a bit cold but late in the morning and in the afternoon it is hot. Such nice weather. It reminds me of the weather in highlands.
Time to check summer clothes. Probably I have to buy some clothes for Bob: he is growing out of old ones.
Tet is over but the atmostphere is still there. After dropping Bob in his art club, I went around the lake. And as you can see, the Tet flowers are still on display. I had my photos taken to prove that we are enjoying summer weather in spring.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

End of Tet holiday

Today is the last day of a long Tet holiday. Tomorrow life becomes normal: getting up early, rushing to school/work, meeting colleagues/students, struggling traffic jams at rush hours and shopping and cooking simple meals.

By chance, today is the day my mother (with some old people in the neigbourhood) is congratulated to be 75 years old. The village's committee held a meeting and presented each person with a 'certificate'. My family also gathered and congratulated her too. She was very happy.

Actually, deep in my heart I felt a bit sad because my mum is older ... Time flies so quickly, her hair becomes totally white. 'Old mummy is like a ripe banana on the tree, a wind can make the ripe banana fall down at any time'... My uncle (mum's younger brother) told us that we should visit our mum more often. :-). In fact, my sisters and I still visit her often.

And when looking at a photo of my son, my brother-in-law said that Bob looks like a man, not a boy any more. I feel happy when son grows up but I also feel sad because he is slippering out of my hand. How complicated I am! I am always reminded by my friend that I should look at the bright side of a matter, treasure every moment we are with our beloved and be happy. I also know that but a bit difficult for me to do so.

Anyhow, hope for a good year ahead of us.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Enjoying Tet

Finally, Tet comes. The weather changed from hot, sunny to cold, light drizzling. It is typical weather of Tet.
We go to visit our relatives and friends and send greetings to our friends via sms and email. On the last day of the year of Buffalo, I really missed my father, who passed away 2 years ago. And on the first day of the new year, as usual, we went to the pagoda to pray for a happy and problem-free year.
The first day of the new lunar year was also Valentine's Day of the solar year. A nice day! But for middle-aged people (smile) no chocolate, no roses, not many romantic things. Poor the middle-aged. Their love must have wandered somewhere.
In Vietnam, there is a popular sentence: enjoy happy days, but don't forget duties. I plan to finish some work during the long holiday. Hope I will finish before I go back to work.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Preparation for Tet

Tet is coming but the weather in Hanoi is so strange, sunny and hot, like in summer. I am wearing short-sleeved shirts and using air conditioning these days.
As a teacher I have a really long Tet holiday, from 4 Feb to 21 Feb. So I have plenty of time to prepare for Tet, no need to hurry. Honestly, I go for 'simple Tet'. I just buy some necessary things.
First, new clothing items. Vietnamese people have a habit of wearing new clothes on Tet holiday. I bought new shirts for my son, partly because he is growing and needs larger clothes. I bought a shirt and a pair of shoes for myself but at somebody else's expense. :-) It was a bithday present.
Second, lucky money. My colleague changed new money for me just before we started our Tet holiday. The denomination is 10,000 dong, 5,000 dong for lucky money and 500 dong for visiting pagoda on New Year's Day. I also have some brandnew money to present my mum and parents-in-law.
Third, decorating the flat. I bought a small mandarin orange-tree. I put in in the living room. And I post my son's painting of tigeress and baby on the fridge.
Next, snacks. I shopped for snacks a week ago, early, in case they are out of stock. Some biscuits, chocolate candy, nuts and fried fruit (from Dalat). I will buy some fresh fruits tomorrow. All of them are in small quantity but 'high quality'.
Now food. My first sister promised to give me a chicken she raises at home and my mum also promised to give me a couple of square cakes. Whoa, too many gifts... However, I will have to buy some fresh vegetables and meat to put in the fridge because after Tet, prices are high and foods are not available.
It seems that I have prepared almost everything for Tet. Now the most important thing is prepare MY MOOD for Tet. :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tigeress and baby

I just mentioned in the previous blog that we (my son and me) were born in the year of Tiger and I also told my friend that I would buy a poster of tiger and child to replace the poster of Mr. Santa Clause on the door to welcome New Year. This morning my son drew a tigeress and her baby in his art class. Great. I don't buy the poster, but I hang my son's "Masterpiece" on the fridge instead. A really nice painting! I imagine that it was me and my son in there.
Honestly, I like paintings by my son (that's why I decorate my place with his many paintings). My colleague, Ms Thuy, whose younger brother graduated from University of Fine Arts, said that she liked my son's paintings, colours were beautiful, something bright, harmonious, lively and happy. Her brother often coloured his paintings with sad and dull colours.
I hope so much that with my support and encouragement my son can follow his ambition, realize his talent and can become an artist or architect. But of course, he is still young and can change his ambition in 4 or 5 years. 'What will be will be.'

35th birthday

My birthday (birthweek or maybe birthmonth) this year is so different from last year. It started earlier. Smile. Sounds funny. While I was in Dalat, I was wished 'Happy Birthday'. Last Friday 5 Feb, I invited my close friends/colleagues to my home and had a birthday lunch in a restaurant nearby together. And yesterday I also received a birthday wish with a bunch of roses. My living room is full of beautiful things.
So the middle-aged period is knocking on the door of my home. Yesterday evening, while we were watching Disney, there was a commercial on and it mentioned 'the year of Tiger', my son knew both of us were born in the year of Tiger, caculating our ages. He said "Mum, there is a difference of 24 years between us. 3 years to go you will become bà.' I touched him and pretended to cry 'oh, so old'. In Vietnam, people calculate ages according to the solar year as well as the lunar year. In the lunar year, I am 37 years old. Quite old, isn't it?
By the way, it is believed that those who were born in the year of Tiger tend to be intellegent, charming, dependent, ambitious, strong, and ... But 'Tiger' women tend to have a 'rough' way to a happy family life. Anyhow, we cann't change the birthyear. :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dalat

Finally my wish for the trip to Dalat came true. I had a chance to get to the City of Love, of pine trees, of dream, of mimosa flowers and of sadness. I was so lucky having spent 4 days there.

Before leaving, I made a list of tourist attractions around the city I wanted to visit and found their locations on Google Map as well as on a tourist map. I also had some information about the weather in Dalat, which helped me to choose what kind of clothes to wear: nice weather, cold in the early morning and in the late afternoon but hot and sunny from 9 am to 5 pm. So I decided to take some T-shirts, 2 sweaters and some short trousers.

My plane landed late in the afternoon. Lien Khuong Airport was new, just opened before Dalat Flower Festival in December 1st 2009. The road from the airport to Dalat was new too. That was why it took only half an hour to get to the central by taxi.

I made use of the time in Dalat to explore the city. I not only visited all the places on the list but also some unplanned ones, around 15 places. :-). The best way to travel around was by motorbike. At first, I rented a bike but it was not a fun ride for me: a 'fragile' lady on winding and steepy roads. :-). Every place was worth visiting: Night Market, Central Market, Xuan Huong Lake, Central Cathedral, Flower Garden, Train Station, Bao Dai's Summer Palace, Crazy House, Truc Lam Buddist Pagoda, Tuyen Lam Lake, Cable Car from Truc Lam to Robin Hill, Valley of Love, Camly Waterfall, Datanla Waterfall, Prenn Waterfall, Domaine De Marie Convent, Lam Dong Museum, Lake of Sight, Linh Son Pagoda.

Dalat made great impressions on me. The city was beautiful and clean and flowered. The air was fresh. The people were friendly and must be artists and love gardening. Houses were nice. Prices were reasonable (actually cheap). I did not see any traffic policemen or traffic lights in streets. Incredible.

Two faint hearted things I tried in Dalat were riding a cable car from Tuyen Lam Lake to Robin Hill and riding a coaster in Datanla Waterfall. Exciting but really adventurous for me.

However, I found a bit disappointed when Xuan Huong Lake was waterless (it was drained because they were building a new dam) and so was Camly Waterfall, when the motorbike renter charged us 100,000 dongs for scatches I did not cause and when a waitress looked hostile serving a meal and when a taxi meter ran too fast. :-(.

On the way to the airport back to Hanoi I saw some mimosa flowers, a symbol of Dalat. Only in Dalat in Vietnam did you see this kind of flowers. They were brought from France and could grow here. The flowers reminded me of the song Mimosa. A nice song.

I hope in the future I will have another chance to return to Dalat.