Monday, January 31, 2011

Flower market

Tet is when people like going to flower markets trying to find some flowers to decorate their homes. Every house has at least a vase during Tet. I went to the busiest flower market in Hanoi, Tay Ho flower market, although I was presented some beautiful lilies. It took me 45 minutes to get there by motorbike. So crowded in the streets. We walked around the market and took some photos. A wide choice of flowers: orchids were the most expensive. Some pots cost millions of dongs. Whoa, sorry, not for me. Truly, it was so wonderful to be surrounded by flowers.
As I wished, we bought a pot of tulips. There was only stall selling tulips in the market. No many choices. The pot cost a lot of money but not as we expected, some tulips died. Poor us. Anyhow I still have fresh lilies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Something of a child in our body

Half year ago I gave away and put away Bob's toys. I thought when he was a secondary school pupil he did not want to play with those toys any more. Truly he got so many toys. I put all the remaining toys into a plastic cupboard next to his bookcase and he hardly touched this cupboard. However, yesterday evening, he did not have to study because of tet holiday, he again opened the drawers and took his toys to the sofa and played with them the same way as he used to do when he was little. I had a headache and was in bedroom. When I woke up, I saw him playing and took a photo. So many memories came back ...

When I recall the past, I realize time flies so fast. Like other boys, he was just interested in cars, trains and planes and lego. With these things he could assemble a town. He was a good kid. Never asked mum to hold as long as he saw me around him. I sat at the desk working and he sat on the floor just next to my chair playing with his toys... We together experienced difficult and happy time. He always supports me...

And now, I think I am too strict to him sometimes. Perhaps time to change ...

Thursday, January 27, 2011


What annoys me is when people compare.

Have you ever heard a mother talking about her friend's children? Something like they are very successful, wealthy, caring for their parents, so on... They have cars while her own children still ride motorbikes (even an SH or Piaggio). They have a very large area of land on the outskirts of Hanoi while her own children still live in small flats. Perhaps she wishes her children to become her friend's children. In her eyes, her children are not very good at earning money, useless and dependent on their parents. Why doesn't she feel proud of her children? They are in good heath, they have a stable job, they often visit her, they do not commit any crimes...

Have you ever heard a colleague telling how rich her sister's family-in - law is? Listening to the stories makes us feel sorry for ourselves. Poor teachers. :-) Once or twice I asked my close friends if they had any stories about people like us, normal citizens to share.

Have you ever heard your relatives talk about how successful your cousins are? They are in the same generation as ours. But they have a really well-paid job, they own a nice building/flat, their children are good pupils, they live happily, they have a car, they have a maid at home ... It seems they belong to other categories of people in the society where we do dream of being.

Have you ever heard something like "When I was at your age, I could ... Why now you can't?"? Time always changes, people's life changes. Why we ask people of different generation to be able to do what we did in the past. I remember a story. A father told his son that when he was at his son's age he could do so many things. The son told him that at his age some body became President.

I never compare my son with other kids. I just tell him to try his best to do things. Whatever you do you should do with all your effort. I feel proud of him. (I don't know whether when I become older, I will lose my pride or not :-))

I don't say there is something wrong with such a good life. But I really don't like the way people show their feeling too proud of somebody else in front of others. I am not jealous with those who are considered to be good examples for us to follow. I am happy with most of aspects of my life. My old husband once told me that I was envious with his female friends. I said straightforward that I didn't have to be envious with anyone but they had to be envious with me. Why? I had a job, I had a child, I had a handsome husband... And now I am having a life as I wish.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Preparing Tet

These days streets in Hanoi are very crowded with people travelling shopping for Tet. I also participate in the traffic. I went shopping, mostly dried fruits, some sweets and biscuits, a box of wine (I can drink a little wine before going to bed). I go for a simple Tet, so I limit to some food and small quantities. Last year, I bought a small but nice orange tree, but this year I intend to buy maybe 10 tulips to decorate the living room. Otherwise I will use orchids. Talking about shopping, yesterday, we went to Grand Plaza. It is advertised to be a shopping centre for luxury and famous (expensive) brands. True. We could not buy anything except one gift for me. (I do not want to tell what it is). :-) However, I had a new experience: getting yoghurt-cream myself. It was the first time I did it, using the machine to pour cream into your cup and adding flavors you like. This plaza is somewhat the same as Vincom and Parkson: clean, not too crowded, expensive products. It is good for people like me to windowshop.

And an interesting piece of news came to me today. My present was made perfectly complete: not noisy AT ALL. I mean my HP Probook. It is really nice now. Finally. The service centre called me this morning and we brought it to them to have a new fan fixed. Free of charge, plus a free lunch :-) for me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I remember writing somewhere in my blog that life contains a lot of unexpected things. Some are really nice, some are not. As I mentioned in my previous entry that there are some personnel changes in my department. Those changes are also unexpected to me. After reading my colleagues' emails I realized that being in a powerful position was not easy at all. It not only depends on your expertise but also your getting on well with your bosses. I just feel a pity if our department does not have competent and enthusiastic people. And really sad when I witness how the university treats my colleagues. They worked for the development of the English department as well as for the improvement of teaching English here. So sorry. It is bad news for us when Tet holiday is coming. This unexpected thing has a negative influence on me. Low morale to work. I still go teaching and still teach with all my enthusiasm but deep in my heart so disappointed.

Another unexpected thing is cold weather in Hanoi. This winter we are experiencing a very long cold period with a very low temperature, around 10 degrees. In such weather people don't like being out or working. Luckily I have only 2 working days, then a long holiday.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good and bad news on the outset of new year

New laptop: ProBook

I was presented a new laptop some days ago (7 Jan). It is very nice and small and light but powerful. It takes a lot of time to install programs. I didn't know it until now. I am a kind of person who is used to being cared by other people :-). The presenter, anh, has to do most of the work for me. Installing, downloading and updating. Me? Just using it. The only negative thing we don't like is the noisy fan. However, we went to HP service center in Hanoi to ask them to replace it for us. The order is being processed as far as I know. So, I hope just before Tet holiday in Vietnam will I have a quiet fan. At that time my laptop must be extremely wonderful.

Bob's birthday

My son's birthday is on 14 January. It was celebrated three times: at home, with his father's family and with his mother's family. So wonderful when my family came to my place to join our small party for Bob. He was happy meeting and playing with his cousins. Pity that we could not invite his classmates to here. It is too cold. Maybe next year...

My department's personnel

There have been some changes in our department's management team. Three vices are about to resign soon. Two of them are my close colleagues. They are really competent and we don't know exactly why they are off. It seems that they are not high ranking leaders' favorites. So sad. I think our department will experience really difficult times soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cold Hanoi

These days people in Hanoi are struggling with one of the coldest periods of the year, around 10 degrees. I think it is the longest and coldest time in my life. It interrupts a bit our routine. Not getting up as early as alarm any more. :-). Anyhow, I have prepared for the fight against cold weather at the beginning of the winter by making sure we have enough warm clothes and warm blanket. Last year, I did not have to buy a cotton blanket. This year I did. My friend presented me a halogen heater to put in the study to keep me warm when working there. My son's room is equipped with a two-way air conditioner. So we don't mind if the temperature drops further below 10. :-) Joking. If it is too cold, people really don't like going out and life is so boring if you just stay in. As far as I know, during Tet holiday, Hanoi will be submerged in cold weather. I have a three week holiday. If the weather forecast is right, I will have to stay in and spend time preparing all kinds of tests for students my team are responsible for.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Day

The year 2011 has come. For Vietnamese people, the New Year in the solar calendar is not as important as in the lunar calendar, like Christmas. However, we still celebrate it. People, especially young ones, go out with friends to cinemas, cafes, bars, shopping malls or restaurants. It is an occasion to gather with your beloved. I also took my son out yesterday evening. The closest place to us is Vincom. A 'luxury' place in Hanoi. We travelled by taxi because my son still had some red spots on the face. We ate in Seoul Garden. In ordinary days it costs not too much but yesterday it was overpriced. Terrible restaurant. Then we bought some stationery for Bob and left for home. We went to bed early, at 10 pm I think. After midnight, I got a message from a student. "Happy New Year 2011"! Surprising message because when a friend of mine asked me if he could send a message at 12 I said no need because I would be sleeping at that time. In reality I got one. I woke for a few seconds and fell asleep at once. This morning I got up just a bit later than usual. After making myself a cup of coffee, I turned on the computer. Work. And at 10 am, we went to a small party. Eat. Going around for a while and back home. Relax. Tomorrow the family gathering ends New Year. Next Monday, I start work again.