Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friends' debt paid

I owed three friends quite a lot of money for one year. And today I returned it to them. Feeling happy. They did not charge me interest (of course not) so I decided to offer them a 'thank you' buffet lunch. As usual when we gather together, full of fun. I set my goal for next year is to pay my brother. Gradually, no more material debts.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mum and daughters

Today my mum held a farewell party to see my third sister off. She is going back to Saigon next Wednesday and I don't know when her next visit to us is. After the party only mum and daughters and daughters-in-law spent time together chatting. I asked them to be in one photo together. My mum and my sisters are so simple and modest. Hard working life in the past and old age leave remarks on their appearance (my sisters have become grandmas). What I feel proud of my family is that we get on well together and my mom is always proud of us.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Driver's license

I got it in the end. :-) After about 10 lessons in 5 months and a difficult test in 25 th November I officially can drive a car in streets. Of course it will take more time and more practice to be confident in driving without the instructor.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cry ...

"People cry, not because they are weak. It's because they have been strong for too long." 

When I got an injection in a hospital in London I cried like a child. They looked at me and wondered why an adult like me was crying when being injected.  So embarrassed. When seeing a sad romance film, I cry. When listening to a sad song, I also cry. When going past the places where I have nice past memories, cry. I often say I am weak. Other people say I am strong. Now I know I cry for both reasons: weak and strong. And perhaps another reason is that there are so many tears in my eyes. :-(.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My old group 2013

This is 1/3 of my old group. As for 1 December 2013 we will work in 10 different departments as a result of restructuring. I am now in Department number 5 which is responsible for teaching ESP for students of what-so-called non-business. :-) Some of them go with me to the new department. Anyhow, I wish all of the teachers in my old group success wherever we go and whatever we do.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Teacher's Day 2013

To create a nice atmosphere for Teacher's Day 2013 our department's office is decorated with beautiful flowers. I do not want to miss the chance to be next to such beautiful flowers.

This year, Teacher's Day is among the moments we are going to be restructured. Our big department is planned to be divided into 4 smaller ones. We do not where we are 'seated' until next week. Some nervous and some sad (and some pretend to be happy like me :-)). A big change is expected after this...

Tomorrow, the whole department has a buffet on the occasion of Teacher's Day together for the last time...Whatever happens and wherever we go, I wish we will have more satisfaction about our work.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Just a blink of the eyes, half of the decade has passed in our life with so many happy and unhappy moments, full of smiles and teardrops. In the past five years, I have witnessed unexpected changes and I believe I will have more in the future. What will be will be.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

End of school year bonus

After a hard working school year all staff get a bonus from the university. We often get it in October. Not much but enough for a new dress and a buffet dinner with son :-)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Vietnamese Women's Day 2013

Vietnamese Women's Day is one of the special days in a year. The majority of the teachers in our department are women. As a rule, union representatives and vices are busy preparing a small meeting to celebrate this special day. This year we had to make use of the time between the morning and afternoon teaching sessions so that most of the teachers present at school today could attend. After the opening speech of the first vice, we had a live show :-) - some teachers sang songs and enjoyed some fruit and cakes and sweets.  As a vice and a union rep, I felt relived after the ceremony ended. More teachers attended then we expected.

Wish all women lots of happy days in a year not only one or two days as women's day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Orchids in mum's house

Last Sunday I saw these beautiful flowers in my mum's place. I could not miss the opportunity to have a photo with them. My second brother, whose family lives with my mum, grows some orchids and sometimes they blossom beautifully.

I wish I had a "babylon" garden in the balcony with some plants and flowers. But there are fans of the air conditioners there and the balcony is too small, I can not make my wish come true. I cannot have plants except a lime tree.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Second visit to Royal City

Since its opening, today is my second time I have visited this big mega mall. I took my son there as a gift for him on the occasion of Mid-Autumn event. We spent  about 2.5 hours there, window shopping and eating dinner in a hotpot restaurant. My son wanted to ice skate but the time was not suitable, we skipped it. We saw a bowling alley and perhaps next time we will play it. There are so many products but it is difficult for me to buy something. The shops sell what I CANNOT afford and  what I DON'T NEED :-).

The complex is very large and modern and it reminds me of shopping malls in Thailand and Malaysia I have been to.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My favorite corner

When I am awake and at home, I spend most of my time at this desk. Preparing lessons, marking students' papers, sending emails and keeping in touch with my beloved... I try to equip the working corner with things which helps my teacher life more easier :-). It is not so impressive but I am satisfied with it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Keeping fit: yoga

I like to do something to keep fit: aerobics, swimming, jogging and now yoga. In different periods of my life I take up different activity. Is that because I am not 'loyal'/'faithful' or is that I am always changing or is that just because I like learning new things?:-)

I intended to do yoga long time ago. I searched for information about some clubs and even registered a class but later I could not join. I bought books, clothes and mattress and wanted to practice at home but not easy. I almost did not pay attention at all to it then by accident I heard there was a new yoga club on 12 floors lower than my flat. GREAT. Three times a week I go to the club and on other days I do it at home.

According to the trainer, doing yoga is really good not only physically but also mentally. I need both: good health and peace in my mind.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Make-up with new cosmetics

Today our new school year started. I choose to teach on Tuesday and Thursday mornings so tomorrow I officially start work. I have been doing this job for quite a long time but I still feel excited when the new school starts. As a rule, I often get something new for the new school year. And this year I have a new set of cosmetics (really expensive compared to monthly salary). I got it from Harrods, London in February and when I came back to Hanoi I added some brushes. Honestly, I am not a woman who likes wearing make-up everyday. That is why I just need something basic to make myself ... womanly:-). Well, I can not remember when I last wore make-up and believe it or not, looking at the make-up things it took me time to understand the functions of each brush and each box of powder. So stupid of me. Time to give it a try so that tomorrow morning I will do it faster :-)). So complicated to be a woman.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Welcome Quynh back to the group

We hadn't had lunch together for a long time and yesterday saw Quynh's coming back to the group after her maternal leave. We had a really good time. As women. we had so many things to talk about: work, colleagues, summer holiday, childcare, future plans... We were one of the last two tables in the restaurant to leave.

This new schoolyear we have fewer classes to teach but Mai and I managed to get us to go to school on same days to meet each other more. It also means it is easier for us to have lunch somewhere when suddenly we feel like.

Each woman has different busy life and time together always limited but we always make best of it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sam Son with friends

Some days after my holiday in Da Lat I went to the beach (Sam Son) with my close friends (Van and Mai) and their families. We had a really good time together even the weather was not ideal (sometimes rainy and cloudy). We travelled by car and it took us 4 hours on the way to Sam Son and 3 hours on the way back to Hanoi. The roads were newly upgraded, so smooth and nice view.

Van's parents live in the city and Sam Son beach is about 15 km from her parents' house. We had two lunches with her parents: a welcome and a farewell meal :-).

We stayed in a guesthouse near the beach. Not very elegant and modern but no other choice because other nice hotels were fully-booked. Not big problem for us :-). We are used to simple things. The beach was long and clean with smooth sand and whenever I went to the beach it was full of holiday makers even it was almost end of summer holiday season. That means Sam Son is a favorite beach for the people from the North. The children likes playing with the waves and on the beach. I went to the sea once and in the early morning. Other times I just was on the beach taking photos for my friends and their children. My long hair was a big matter for me to have a dip in the water. Whenever it is wet it takes time to wash and dry. I don't like that at all. Apart from swimming, we went sightseeing. Three days together was filled up with laughs.

Holiday in Sam Son ended our summer. Today my friends start teaching again. We go back to our normal life: working at private language centers and at our university.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Da Lat 2013

I have just been back from my 4-day holiday in Da lat. This is the second time I have visited the city of romance. The first time was in 2010 and we mainly spent time inside the city. In 2013 we explored more the outskirts. Green and peaceful hilly city. Only one thing I don't like about the trip was the weather: sometimes rainy. In the photo, I was on top of Lang Biang mountain, highest mount in Da lat. From here we can see the overview of the city.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Learning to drive

I had the intention of learning to drive some months ago. I took it serious on June 3rd when I paid the fee and gave the trainer some documents to register a driving course. Since then I have attended 2 classes. In the first class, the trainer explained to me some important car parts which help to run the car: gear, clutch, brake, wheel, signals, starter ... and how to use the gears. Totally technical words. And yesterday was my second class. At the beginning, he guided me how to turn the car in the driving track and then we drove to the road to learn how to change gears and accelerate and reverse the car. On the way home he asked me to drive the car on the free way, over the bridge and back to the pick-up point. As a beginner and as an approximate-40-year-old woman, I felt really nervous and stressful sitting behind the wheel. However, it was exciting when I knew I could make the car run on the road. I was encouraged by other learners. They said it was my first time but I could drive as well as a qualified driver on the road. Good start :-).

I have made a decision that each summer I should learn something new to enrich my living skill and to make me feel younger :-) (even I look younger already). This summer: driving.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

New appearance for the flat

The flat has new appearance: new ceiling, new paint and new floor.

Now I can say no need to modify the flat (until I think of something :-), hope not) any more. It took us a lot of time, discussion and money to make the flat nicer and nicer in our eyes. There were some moments I felt really tired and wanted to give up the attempt to upgrade the flat. However, as a woman who strives for nice and quality things, I tried my best to realize my wishes. I am lucky to receive a lot of assistance from my beloved people.

Time to invite family members and friends to the flat to show off what a nice flat I live in! :-)

Monday, June 10, 2013

CALL 1 - Computer-Assisted Language Learning

That is the name of the online course I am doing. Not too difficult but really time consuming :-). Honestly, I find it useful: learning something new about using our laptop and the internet to make English lessons funnier and more interesting. Once a week we have one assignment and we have to assess peers' assignments. Here is the link to one of my assignments.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Same hair style

I have this hair style for a long time. I am sure that I have never changed it since I started paying attention to my appearance :-). The upper photo was taken on 25 May 1992 and the lower was taken today 5 June 2013. Between the two photos did so many things happen to me but not to my hair style. I wonder why I can be loyal to this style?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kuala Lumpur 2013

I had a three-day break in Kuala Lumpur, which was really a nice time. Because Malaysia and Vietnam are ASEAN countries, I did not have to apply for a visa and there is a direct flight from Hanoi to KL so I did not have to transit. These things made my trip easy and not tiring at all. The first impression on me was KL International Airport. It is new and has a good design. The landing area is a bit distance from the arrival lounge. After getting out of the plane, I had to walk a little and find the train to get to the terminal. Thanks to little travelling experience and  studying the map I figured out how to get out that big airport. Another impression is that the capital is hilly and green. I really like the green, well-cared patches of grass and plants along the streets and roads. And of course the twin towers also made a good impression on me. I was lucky to be able to be lifted up to the bridge connecting the towers and to the observation deck on the 83rd floor. Wow, what a height! Click here to see some of the photos of me. How happy I look!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hot, terribly hot weather

We have been suffering the first hottest period of the beginning of summer 2013. Really uncomfortable travelling at such a hot temperature. Our classrooms do not have air conditioners so learning and teaching are really our misery. We stop at 11 am and go home at once to avoid the sun at the highest position in the sky. Poor students and teacher working in the afternoon from 1 pm. Luckily, our flat is air conditioned and honestly I do not want to go out at all when back home from work.

Time for summer holiday. 3 weeks to go.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Completion of the modification of the flat

Last Friday, I officially finished doing minor repairs on the flat (but the cost was not minor at all). The flat is not luxurious but I am proud of it and feel happy with it. I can feel relieved/relaxed now after about 8 months I was busy with flatty things. Another milestone in my life has been marked and it is time to set and achieve other goals.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Long public holiday 2013

This year, Victory Day and Labor Day fall on Tuesday and Wednesday so the state lets the people have Monday off and we have to work on the next Saturday to compensate. Plus the weekend, we have 5 days in total off. What a good chance for employees to have a break. Some travel, some visit hometown and some have a holiday at home. I belong to the last group: home holiday taker :-). Easy to feel bored with 5 days at home. That is why I try to keep myself a little busy.

Day 1: marking test papers (2 packages) + trying making cookies
Day 2: teaching little students + marking papers (1 package)
Day 3: going out + marking papers (1 package)
Day 4: having the new doors installed + cleaning up
Day 5: doing whatever I think of + relaxing

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One month in our new flat

Today is one month I have lived in our new flat. In general, everything has been settled except our new real wood doors which will be installed by the end of this month. After that some paint will be put on some parts of the wall where I had repairs. As I expect, the flat will be completely finished in mid-May. I realize that moving in is one story but settlement is another. It takes a lot of time, money and energy to make the flat home, to make it function as well as I wish. There were moments I felt so irritated with settlement and somebody had to suffer. :-(

Although we thought very much about where to put things based on our floor plan but in reality we had to change several times to get the best arrangement. I intended to put some plants on the balcony and hang some flower pots but not feasible because there are 3 hot units of air conditioners on the balcony wall. More sockets or not? Cable on or in the wall? Lamps or not? Plants inside? Lots of consideration and discussion before we found solutions to our concerns and the flat is home now. It is ready to welcome visitors.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New home

Finally my dream of having a home has come true. I moved into my new flat on 21st March 2013.  It is not very large but I feel really comfortable and cozy and I am happy to live in my own flat although from now part of the money I earn will be used to pay the loan from the bank and friends. It takes me at least 5 years to settle all the debts. I hope I can do it.

Because the flat belongs to me, I spent so much money on it, to make it home. As a result, some 'safes' have reduced the 'size' :-). My friend warned me that moving in cost a considerable amount of money and reality proved it right.

What touched my heart is that my family cared for me and gave me a hand with moving in: my mum, my brothers and sisters-in-law. They did not mind travelling a long distance to my place and carried my things from my rental flat to my new flat. Someone said I was so lucky to have the family around. Yes, I am lucky in this aspect :-).

I have been lived here for 2 weeks and there is still some work to finish,  some final touches to make the flat complete and perfect in my eyes. But for the time being I can enjoy the feeling of being home.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Training course

In order to  improve the management skills for key people and staff in all departments our university offered a one-day training course. Nearly 200 people attended this course and were divided into 2 classes: one on 14 and the other on 15th Mar. Poor me, I participated in this course at the expense of my class.:-(

One day in the hall was not always interesting. I am not used to spending all day at work. So embarrassing I felt sleepy in the afternoon. However, what the four important men presented was really important to 'young vice' like me :-).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Holiday in London 2013

Finally, my dream came true: a visit to London. Ten days in a really big and interesting city brought so many wonderful experiences to me. I saw in person what I had known only from my books before: red buses, red telephone booths, the Underground, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, the Thames, London Eye, Baker Street, British Museum, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Odeon Cinema, Harrods, Covent Garden, pubs, Hype Park, St James's Park, Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral ... I cannot express all my feeling about the holiday, but I can say that it was great. And I wish my friends and my son will have a chance in life to come to this city (like me).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pre-Tet gathering

Finally we found a day when three of us were free to visit our colleague who has a newly-born baby daughter. She lives almost opposite Noi Bai Airport. I set off at 8.30 am and picked up my two friends near Hanoi Hotel and then we proceeded to the aiport. What a long distance but we had a really good time whenever we are together. So not a big problem to travel a long distance. We ended up in Hanoi Hotel's buffet restaurant to have our last lunch of the old year together. We won't meet other again until 18 February, the end of our Tet holiday. I will celebrate the Snake New Year in London, Van will come to Thanh Hoa (her hometown to celebrate it with her family) and Mai will stay in Hanoi. Before we said goodbye, we agreed to spend summer holiday in Hue this year (we could not keep our promise to visit Van's hometown in 2012. I hope in 2013 we will be able to travel together).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ready for 2013

So Solar New Year holiday finished. Time to back to normal life. Time to make plans for 2013. Time to leave sad things behind. Time to smile again and get ready to cope with new challenges. Time to be more mature.