Sunday, October 31, 2010

What a duty!

New position = new and more responsibilities and NOT = increased income YET. As a group leader of teachers teaching students of architecture, I am in charge of preparing teaching and testing materials. Heavy workload for a small and fragile woman like me :-). Besides proofreading and editing, I myself do preparation too. Work is being finished step by step. Honestly it consumes so much of my free time at home. I stay up late on Saturday night and spend Sunday working. Work, work, work and deadline, deadline, deadline. They are chasing after me. Wish I have enough energy to cope with them. Anyhow, it must be boring if life without work?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Typical day in my life

My working day often begins with the alarm clock in my Nokia, which is set at 5.45 am. (And sometimes with a lovely message from my boyfriend and sometimes no need alarm.) Then I wake up, reach the phone and get out of the bed. After doing personal things :-), I prepare breakfast for my son quite quickly and fully. He can have bread, eggs, sausages, milk, cocoa, cheese, fruit, instant noodles, fried rice, cereal ... Not bad, isn't it? While I am preparing breakfast, drinking coffee to keep me alert and sending message(s) to my boyfriend (so romantic to start a new day with love) and listening to TV news, I call my son to wake up at about 6.05. After shower, he gets dressed and eats breakfast. And mum has a shower in turn. I often make up but sometimes I skip this thing even I know it is nice if a woman wears a make-up :-). Not for herself but also for other people. Then I choose the attire and look at myself in the mirror. I should look smart and feel confident. Often a dress or a skirt with a nice blouse. However, jeans and trousers are what I often opt for. Before leaving home, I hardly ever forget to touch my bottle of perfume or eau de toilet. My son is the person who turns off TV and locks the door. Mum is responsible for press the lift. We leave home at around 6.45, the best time for both of us. I can take him to the gate of his school and still have enough time to get to university 10 0r 15 minutes early. Sometimes, we are late, leaving at 6.55 or so, I drop Bop at the turning and he walks 2-3 minutes to school. So, within an hour, we have to finish morning things in time. Son is never late for school and mum is never late for work.

I often have breakfast with Mai and Van in the staff room. Mai is responsible for buying breakfast for us. I and Van sometimes have no mood for eating, that's why we look a bit thin :-). We teach from 7.30 until 11.30. We have three breaks. During the breaks I can check my email (thanks to N97) and get and send messages. It is also time for teachers/friends to chat and tell jokes about family-in -law and students etc. Honestly we always look forward to break.

I often have lunch in the canteen with my colleagues before going home. I teach half day most of the working days. For me, for the time being, that is enough. Maybe some days in the future I have to work more. I often arrive home around noon.

I spend whole afternoon preparing teaching materials. At the moment, I am responsible for preparing ESP teaching materials as well as tests and reviews for students of Architecture and Construction. Sometimes, when I am tired, I have a short sleep on the sofa.

I pick up my son from school around 4.10. I try to be there before the drum. I want my son to see me as soon as he walks out of the school gate. We smile and greet each other. On the way home, as a routine, I often ask my son about his study and meal at school. I have had that habit since my son was at nursery. I remember long time ago, when he was at nursery, one day I picked him up without immediately asking him questions, he asked me: "Mum, why didn't you ask me questions?" How nice!... We shop for food in a market on the way home and often in the lift at 4.30 except on Wed when my son finishes school late, at 5pm.

I prepare and eat dinner and do housework within about two hours. After dinner, Bob has to do
homework and study English. And of course I spend most of my free evening time checking and
teaching him (English only). I can say that he takes the initiative to study now. Unlike first two or three weeks. He often got remarks like: Minh Anh forgot to bring books, Minh Anh forgot to do homework. Even I still checked his preparation and told him that learning at secondary school was much different from at primary. But ...

After doing mum's duties, I practice the keyboard for a while, chat with my man and work a bit. We often go to bed before 10. Before sleeping, bedtime stories: Conan detective and All the rivers run.:-). Two more things I do before turning off the light are reading messages and sending a good night message to the "tall man with ugly feet and a big belly".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lovely announcement

Finally, I introduced my new love officially to my best friends. We (him and me) were a bit tense at first. After my announcement, everything went fine. We ate, we chatted and we made jokes. We really had a good time and my friends understood that we are a happy couple.

It was Van's birthday party. She is the woman in the middle. After giving her the best wishes, I told my friends that this was the man who gave me "bread and flowers" on Vietnamese Women's Day, who invited me out for lunch sometimes. Very simple introduction. Only one or two sentences, but it took me a long time to speak out... No more hiding or pretending. So another challenge was overcome. I feel very comfortable and happy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Change

Whenever I teach my students about CHANGE in our course book Market leader Inter, I ask them to tell the class some important changes in their life or at least one change. Then I also ask them how to cope with changes in our life. Not many students can answer the latter. Easy to understand. We are not psychologists and we do not have much experience in life.

I often read some articles about change in our life and how to deal with it before I teach that lesson. It is said that change is a natural part in human condition. However, most people are afraid of changes. They perceive them as threats to their abilities, their esteem and their values.
Some people think change creates opportunities and they can seize these opportunities to go further. The most important thing to deal with change is we should be prepared for change, accept them with positive thinking and flexibility and a strong will.

The idea of writing entry in my blog about change in my life came into my mind some days ago. Not best solutions do I want to mention. I just want to share what changes I experience.

I have never thought one day what I have never thought would happen to me happened. I have never thought I could live independently. I have never thought that I could still live on when my heart was hurt so much. But I can...

Since I decided to move out in April 2009. It took me some time to find a flat. As soon as I saw it, I liked it. Renting was arranged smoothly. And gradually I can live a life I always dream of (not luxury but really comfortable). I remember someone says when one door closes another door opens and that everything which happens has a reason. So we should learn to accept instead of complain and blame. If I hadn't decided to move out, I would not have this life.

Sometimes people think they can not do something. That is because they haven't put in their effort. You know that I could not swim until last year just because I was afraid of water. I invested time and energy in learning a basic course. I got a lot of stimulation from my friend and my son. As a result, I can swim with my son in the swimming pool. I thought I had no chance to learn music any more. But I am wrong. I bought a keyboard and having music lessons twice a week now. I decided not to work in the evening (income reduced) so that I can help Bob with homework and English. My son does not make me disappointed. He is doing well at school at present.

But above all my big change is I feel more confident in my life and more responsible for myself. The person who encourages me a lot is my boy friend. I find in him my smile, my peace and more than that I feel love again.

One more big change in my life is that I will introduce him to my friends officially. I have delayed it for a long time because I am afraid our relationship will be understood wrongly. (Again, another thing I am afraid of) But I think what will be will be. If we are always afraid, we won't do anything. I am feeling nervous already. A challenge for me ahead. Am I brave enough to overcome it? Wait and see. If I succeed, another story will be shared.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My 'Happy Vietnamese Women's Day'

20.10 is Vietnamese women's day. That is why these days you can see in Hanoi so many flowers.
We women teachers received good wishes and bunches of flowers from students. Our staff room was full of flowers and above all we feel really happy when feeling personal and lovable and special attention from our beloved.
I was lucky to have both: "flowers and bread", and more than that. Why "flowers and bread"? A senior male teacher in my department used to say life was so wonderful if you had both flowers (for your soul) and bread (for your body). From early morning, my best friend sent me best wishes. Then my students gave me orchids and students from yesterday's class gave me a bunch of roses. And I had lunch in a nice restaurant at somebody's invitation.:-)
One thing was not good today was that I wore so simple clothes and looked so modest: no earrings, no necklace, no "luxury" dress. A colleague saw me and she said "Today you look so simple." I teased her by saying I always look simple. But of course she didn't agree with me and she said I still looked elegant. I continued my joke: yes, beautiful but not too bright. We laughed. She knew I quoted the lyrics.
I spent the rest of the happy day praticing the keyboard, cleaning the flat, putting away clothes, cooking, picking up son, learning music with tutor, helping son study and talking to my friend. Tomorrow is an important day for me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A sad song

Có đôi

Con chim có đôi

Con ong có hoa

Hai người yêu nhau tìm câu hò hẹn

Trên đời em chẳng có anh

Đi đâu mãi đi

Con suối về sông

Con sông về biển

Biển bát ngát em chẳng có anh

Không anh đêm buồn lắm

Không anh đêm dài lắm

Đêm

Ôm đêm em thổn thức

Thương em đêm thổn thức

Thương

Thương hàng cây xơ xác

Thương vầng trăng xơ xác

Môi em khát cháy

Em muốn trời xanh kia biến tan thành dòng nước mát

Em muốn trái đất xanh biến tan thành gió hát

Gió hát tình yêu em hóa thân vào sỏi đá

Để giữ chân anh

Để mãi bên anh

Em muốn trời xanh kia biến tan thành dòng nước mát

Em muốn trái đất xanh biến tan thành gió hát

Gió hát tình yêu em hóa thân vào sỏi đá

Để giữ chân anh

Để mãi bên anh

Em chẳng có anh.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hanoi twilight

Finally I decided to take Bob to downtown to enjoy the atmosphere of Hanoi celebrating its important event.

As soon as he came back home from school we left (around 4.30) in order to avoid traffic. We went around Hoan Kiem lake and to Ba Dinh square where the main activity will take place on 10.10.10. So many people in these two places. We managed to take some photos to memorise historic moments.

We had a break in an Italian restaurant in Ba Trieu street. Bob liked pizza and ordered it and some French fries, his favorite fast food. After that we went around Hoan Kiem once more to admire the lighting and back home. Bob had some homework to do for tomorrow. It would be nicer if he had a day off on Saturday. We would spend more time downtown today when not too many people. We came back home at 7.20 pm.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hanoi's 1000th anniversary

10.10.10 is an important day for Hanoian people. Hanoi is 1000 years old. There are so many events to celebrate this milestone. For me, what I like most is the streets. Nice decorations with lights and flags and arches. There has less traffic than usual since the 1st October. We move quite comfortably in the morning on the way to work. Anyhow there are quite a few roads and streets which are blocked for some certain hours. My friend sent me some information about it in case I want to travel downtown.

Last Saturday evening, we tried to get to Hoan Kiem Lake but failed. The streets leading downtown were filled up with people. All of them I think wanted to get to the centre and to Uncle Ho's Mausoleum. It was said that these places are extremely magnificent at night.

My colleagues and I are so busy with preparing for materials for students staring learning next week. Training, placement tests, coaching, meetings. As a result, I feel really tired and end up with a day off. We have no time and mind to celebrate the event.:-(

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New hobby

I have just decided to learn to play this kind of musical instrument. Honestly, I bought it last summer and wanted to learn long time ago. As soon as it came to my flat I contacted a private teacher but my colleague recommended a male one. I really did not like that so I postponed learning until 10 about days ago. This time, it is a female teacher, 6 years younger than me.

Why am I so determined to take up a new and difficult hobby? Simply I love music. When I was 11 or 12 years old, my father sent me to a violin teacher's class. He said I had the ability to play the violin. He often encouraged my parents to let me play it. At that time, my family had no one to follow that career and I just wanted to focus on academic subjects. I quited the violin lessons after some months, I think.

Then I like the sound of this keyboard. Like is like but play it is another story. Last year when I lived independently I had a big chance to make my dream come true. First, I intended to learn with my son. But he was not really interested in music. So only me learn now. Sometimes I thought I could not learn it. My friend even told me that if I did not play it I should sell it to make room for my tiny flat and teased me that this instrument malfunctioned, a place to keep clothes not a thing to play music.

I read somewhere that when we learn to play a musical instrument (or something new), our brain (typically one of a middle aged woman) will be more active. We will feel younger. I want to be 28 years forever (I did a test online and they told me that I was 28).

My age is not ideal to learn to play music. My fingers are not as soft and flexible as a teenager's. That is a big problem for me. But never too late to learn. :-) I hope one day I can play what other people can call music.

I have had two lessons so far. Each one lasts one hour. I try to spend at least two hours a day to practice. My fingers hurt a bit. But I know that "No pain no gain". :-) And these are my encouragements, one from a friend and one from a book "I know, when you wish something then you will get it. With patience and determination you make it.... You are a strong woman...." and "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."