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: http://americanenglish.state.gov)
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.