My First Learning Journey in 2013

When I got up this morning and checked my email, then I recieved a message  “Happy 4 Year Anniverary with Wordpress”. I have been blogging since 2009, but I did not really start writing to share until 2012. I also postponed posting in early 2013 because of being occupied with a wide range of activities for professional development. Therefore, I decided to write about my first offical learning journey in this promising year.

After the Tet holiday, a biggest gathering in Vietnam for family reunion and relaxation after a hard-working year. I  started my trip to Phnompenh, Cambodia for an international conference catered for English teaching professionals. I fortunately got a travel grant by U.S. Embassy in Ha Noi, Vietnam to cover the expenses. However, I didn’t take a direct flight from Ha Noi to Phnompenh, I flew to Ho Chi Minh city and took a bus instead. I bought one-way air ticket from JetStar before the Tet, and was ready for the trip. Unpleasantly, the flight was delayed twice. It was supposed to take off at 10:15 p.m, but we had to stay at the lounge until 2:30 of the following day. At first, a frustration occupied me, but I then realized I had time to do something else eventhough the weather was uncomfortable in the featured winter of northern Vietnam. I began with taking out the accompanying journal to read. As usual, I tried to put a book or a reading pack into my bag whenever I traveled or was out of home. English Teaching Forum (Volume 50, Number 3, 2012) was in my backpack because of its convenience. It is thin and light, but contains a large number of articles and tips for English language teaching. I paid a lot of attention to the article on “Creating a Storytelling Classroom for a Storytelling World”. Simply, I was more interested in this topic than others because I did train a group of high school students on digital storytelling in January as a part of the GCE Vietnam project. I understood the background of this method and grasped the steps in creating a storytelling classroom. That was the first time I read carefully and was excited about what I read. If the flight was not delayed, I couldn’t have an opportunity to learn a new technique. (You can read the article here at the offical website:

Lesson learned: Always bring a book/a reading pack for entertainment or education.  

At the lounge, there was not enough light, so my eyes easily got tired. I wanted to wander aimlessly in the airport, but I could not prevent myself from looking at people around me. It was 11:30! I saw hundereds of passengers waiting for the flight as I did. Some of them slept on the lounge, on the ground, and in the sleeping bag. Some of them had to take care their babies while they were crying and I did not know why. A group of passengers played games on their ipads or listened to music with their cell phones. A few mid-aged men were talking about their plans and business trips. I could see a diversity of people from those who were in “high-class” to those who were workers in factories or those who headed to Ho Chi Minh city for another year of earning a living. They were all hurry to work after the Tet holiday. I just wished I could have been able to do something for people in need.!

Lesson learned: Be positive and willing to learn! Teachers are everywhere!

It was 1:00 a.m! I still had more than one hour to do something. I decided to use my laptop computer to listen to music or to watch a movie. It is very important to charge the battery for every electric devices. When my computer was ready to use, I did not understand why I wanted to read, and then I found an article I had done before “Design Thinking for Social Innovation” By Tim Brown & Jocelyn Wyatt. I have read it several times, but I didn’t think I understand all the aspects of the article. Once again, I was aware of the importance of intensive reading.  

Lesson learned: Reading is a mental activity, try to read many times until I get something!

Finally, the plane took off and landed in Son Nhat airport at 4:30. I took a taxi to the bus station and had breakfast. It was a hot and sunny day. The weather reminded me of a typical day in the summer where I am used to living. People were busy going to work or tooking their children to school. I had a cup of coffee at the “movable cafe” in the corner of the street. There were many things to observe and to ponder before the departure. What I had expected to spend a night in Sai Gon for beer did not turn into a reality. 

7:00 Friday, February 22, 2013

I couldn’t sleep on the car when we headed to Phnompenh. It was a long  journey on the car. We got out of Sai Gon and traveled through the countryside where I can enjoyed the peaceful, but dry rice fields. That was my first time to witness the life in the region of both dry and rainy seasons. The S-shaped country, Vietnam makes me proud! The most fantastic thing I found here was the immense rice pads, not stair-like rice fields as in my place. It tooks me nearly one hour for immigration in Moc Bai to step into Cambodia. I had lunch in a restaurant by the road. People here could speak both Vietnamese and Khmer.   


2 thoughts on “My First Learning Journey in 2013

  1. Thank you for your impressing post, the way you write prove yourself to be a real journalist. I did not write much after Tet holiday, because of many reasons; however, reading your post and i am inspired from you again.
    Thank you for taking me back my hobby!
    And congratulations for your successful trip!

  2. Hello Phung Huy, My name is Robert E. Jones (Bob to my friends), the author of “Creating a storytelling classroom for a storytelling world.” I just wanted to say thank you for drawing attention to my article. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. I hope teachers around the world will find it useful.

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