Teacher Orientation: Kind of A Drag… But….

I am a hundred percent sure that it is not only me, but most teachers drag the orientation cum training week.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally appreciate the efforts and the hardwork that our department heads had put on those training sessions, but I just wish they just cut it into shorter times and allot more time for classroom and lesson preps.

Oh well.

But one thing I like about the orientation week in our school is that we get to see our teacher friends from other campuses. It’s like one big reunion. And hey! I got to see my teacher happy crushes, too! Awesomesauce!

This year, we had the training sessions in my campus in Riverside so there’s less warming up for me and my colleagues there since that’s our turf.

And I must say even though I kind of drag some of the sessions which seemed redundant, still I could say I enjoyed most of it and I even got tons of ideas I could use for my classroom this school year.

Being a teacher isn’t an easy job. But knowing I’m not alone in this boat and I have a almost a thousand teachers in our school with me, experiencing the same joys ans struggles I am experiencing as a teacher, totally makes this journey fun and worthwile.

And double whamo for me since I have one of my closest friends here in Vietnam as my co-teacher:)))) Awesome, I know! :))

And yes, I’m pretty sure this is going to be another happy year with this school 😊

Advertisements

First Day High!

Preschool_drop_off

 

I wonder how the other preschool teachers all over the world are feeling on their first day of school? I think we all share the same sentiments — it was total chaos!

The night before, I was anxious because it’s the first time I will be handling Nursery students and to be honest, I don’t have any idea how to handle them. I have been teaching preschoolers for 9 years… wait. Nine years??? I didn’t realize I have been a teacher for such a long time now! Guess, I’m really loving this job that much 🙂

Ok going back. So I was anxious because I have been teaching preschoolers for a long time now but this year is the first time I’ll be handling toddlers. And I don’t even know what I will teach them!

Morning came and I had to rush to school because we have to be there at 7:00 am to greet the students and their partners by the entrance. Then 8:00 am came which means I have to be down to my first class of the day which was my nursery class.

As expected, the whole hour was spent trying wiping tears, trying to calm them and trying to keep the children sit down. But they just won’t. A lot of waaaaaahhhhhh and Mommyyyyyy and more waaaaahhhhhs and my morning class ended.

That was the longest one hour of my life.

I’ve got 11 little babies in my nursery class. SOme of them can’t even talk. Good thing I have my assistant teacher and the Vietnamese homeroom teachers as well as the nanny to assist me in the class.

I hope tomorrow will be better. I think I will be hoping for this for the next three weeks until these babies will finally get the hang of the school environment.

My afternoon class was with the preschoolers and they’re just the exact opposite of my morning class. They were calmer and they easily followed my classroom rules and routines. The afternoon went by in a breeze.

Oh well. First day’s done. On to a hundred more days with these little cuties.

I love being a teacher! 🙂

Back to School Teacher Blues

teachers-the-day-before-back-to-school-39057800

After a month of rest (well supposed to be two months but I worked for the summer camp so it was trimmed down to a month of vacation), I’m gonna be back to work again tomorrow, the 1st of August. And I share with the sentiments of the millions of teachers all over the world who’s going back to work again, I am not yet ready to go back.

Not that I don’t wanna work ever again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. I love my school. I always tell everyone around me how thankful I am to be part of that school.

But…I am just not ready. Not physically and emotionally ready for any back to work stuff.

But tomorrow can’t be escaped. And to sprinkle some positivity, tomorrow should not be dragged.

I should view tomorrow as another blessing because I’m still part of my dream school. It helps to remind myself of that feeling I felt when I finally got offered this teaching job in this school. It helped to motivate me for the first day of going back to school.

Plus! It helped that we got our salary today! Yeehaw! I love my school!

So tomorrow can’t be escaped but it can be enjoyed. Work for now so I can save up and travel more during school breaks.

Cheers to all the teachers who are coming back to school soon!

In The Midst of the Storm

images

While the rest are judging me and looking down on me,

You restore me and look at me with so much love.

While they mock me for my mistakes,

You forgave me.

Though I might not see how You are holding me right now,

But I could feel Your presence surrounding me.

I could feel Your loving arms embracing me tightly.

In this moment of despair, I don’t know where would I be without You.

I am in deep pain and my heart is crying through and through.

The storms in my life just don’t seem to stop.

But knowing You are there for me gives me comfort and peace.

You have a thousand reasons to punish me and reject me.

I am a sinner

But still, you always offer your million reasons why You love me and why You will never let go of me.

You saw my true colors, but you see it not with darkness.

Instead, You see it like a rainbow glowing with real colors.

Never did I hear any blame from you.

Only love.

Only love.

Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you for being my strength when my knees are shaking and I’m trembling in fear.

Thank you for calming my raging heart.

Thank you for being my Savior in everything.

My heart is overwhelmed by Your love.

 

 

Am I Being A Martha?

 

mm-001-color

In the story of Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, most of us admire the faith of Mary. She would always choose to be with Jesus and listen to Him rather than do other things. There was one story in the Bible when Martha was upset because while she was busy preparing food for Jesus, Mary was just sitting by Jesus’ side and listening to Him.

I could imagine Martha by the kitchen, busy cutting the ingredients and maybe checking if the rice is already cooked and then go back to what she’s cooking again and pour in the ingredients she just cut. And then in the midst of these kitchen chaos, she suddenly heard Mary laughing joyously at Jesus’ jokes and then Martha looked at the living room and saw her sister just chilling there while she doesn’t know if she’s going to pick up the ladle or the kitchen knife. Get the picture?

Who wouldn’t feel upset, right?

Martha felt it was unfair so she went to Jesus and somehow ranted about Mary not helping her prepare stuff. And what was Jesus’ answer?

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:41-42)

In as much as I would want to be like Mary, I often find myself being a Martha. I tend to focus on my worries than on Jesus and His power to get me through my situations. Even in the ministry, I tend to worry about how I can echo in the preachings about Jesus to my lifegroup members in such a way that it can make an impact in their lives. I’m so pressed on making them feel and enjoy the love of Jesus that I tend to focus on that goal than letting Jesus work His way into their hearts. I wanted to please Jesus but I found myself losing Him in the feast because I’m too busy thinking about other things rather than keeping my eyes focused on Him.

I’m such a worrier and that’s something that I’m sooo not happy about. Sometimes when I’m too preoccupied with all these worries, this story would pop in my head and I would think of Martha and how I’m being like her.

That’s just one story.

And here’s the other.

When Lazarus died and after the scene in the house, Jesus and the sisters went to the tomb where Lazarus was laid. He asked that the stone be removed. But Martha immediately said:

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

You can see here the BUT attitude of Martha. She trusts Jesus. She has faith in Him. But still, she couldn’t stop herself from wondering why would Jesus ask that the stone be removed if He knows that Lazarus is already dead. Even if she knows and trusts Jesus can do miracles, still she can’t get rid of her “BUT.”

Admittedly, I could see myself in this situation. I have faith in Jesus. I know He will get me through whatever situations I am in. But still, there are times when I doubt if Jesus would really grant me with what I’m praying for.

There was an instance when I applied for this school that I really really like. I’ve been praying for that school because I really want to work there. The interview went well and the demo teaching was awesome, according to the principal. After the demo teaching, I could say that I could almost feel the victory. I’ve prayed hard about it. I claimed the position will be mine.

But it didn’t. I got an email from the department head who interviewed me that I didn’t get the job and they chose another one.

Right that moment, I had a feeling of what went wrong. It was not because I didn’t deserve the job or I was not good enough.

It was because I doubted. No matter how much I’ve prayed about it, I have to admit that there was a pinch of doubt in my heart that Jesus would actually grant me that prayer request. It was not because He doesn’t love me or He doesn’t care about what would make me happy. It was because I didn’t give my full trust in Him. I know He can give me that job but I had that tinge of fear He wouldn’t.

There was that ‘BUT’ moment. But what if God wouldn’t give it to me? I know Jesus can bless me that but what if He doesn’t like to?

In my quiet time today, I was reminded of my Martha-like attitudes. I was reminded of how I’m somehow doubting God just because I’m magnifying the things that should not be magnified. I’m failing to magnify God because of those fears and doubts and worries.

Jesus doesn’t ask too much from me. He doesn’t ask me to die for Him or be stoned to death for Him. He only wants my faith and trust in Him. That’s all He’s asking of me. And a lot of times, I fail Him because I tend to focus on my worries and fears.

I admire Martha’s domesticated, responsible and straightforward traits, but I also want to be like Mary who just enjoyed Jesus’ presence in the midst of the chaos. That even if there’s a lot going on in the kitchen or the house was messy, Mary still found the time to just fellowship with Jesus.

Just like Mary, I hope I can also really just focus on Jesus. That even if there are a lot of things going on in my life, I will not lose my focus on Him. That as much as I’m preparing myself for Him, I will all the more enjoy being with Him because that’s what matters the most.

Martha isn’t a bad girl. She’s not a nemesis in the Bible. She was just too focused and driven. She loved to perform acts of service toward others and was a hospitable hostess. She loved Jesus with all of her heart. But most of the time, she tends to forget that more than what she can offer to Jesus, He just wants to be with her and fellowship with her more.

Now that’s really a good reminder for me and for most of us. I hope that despite the worries of this life, we won’t lose Jesus in the feast. Jesus doesn’t need our works. Most of the time, He just wants us to really enjoy His presence. He just wants us to enjoy our date with Him and listen to Him or pour out ourselves to Him. He wants us and not what we can offer Him.

Weekend in Mui Ne

Weekend in Mui Ne

I’ve been living in Vietnam for two years now and I could say it’s not enough time to travel to all the major and picturesque cities and towns in this country. Vietnam, indeed has too much to offer.

I have work on weekdays and weekends are just too short for a travel stint so I just usually take advantage of holidays or a one-day leave just to get away from the bustling Saigon.

And that rare chance I took advantage of last weekend to visit Mui Ne. My friend, Joey, flew in from the Philippines for a quick vacation so I have another reason to pack my bag and go to another place to explore.

Getting to Mui Ne:  

Mui Ne is originally a fishing village located in Binh Thuan province of Vietnam. It is approximately 4-5 hours bus ride away from Ho Chi Minh city. It’s easy to get to this hushed village since there are a lot of bus tours available that you can find along Bui Vien and De Tham street in Saigon particularly. I always book my tours with Sinh Tourist so I did just that with this Mui Ne Trip. The fare is just 109,000 VND per person for a sleeper bus. We left Saigon around 7am and we arrived in Mui Ne proper around 11:30 am. There are other bus schedules available but we just chose the earlier one so we can arrive in Mui Ne before noon.

The bus fare from Mui Ne to Saigon was 150,000 VND since we booked it in our hotel and we rode the Hanh Cafe bus, which is not really recommendable. I’d say Sinh Tourist is still pretty much the most reliable one.

Where to stay: 

I was actually expecting a Nha Trang-like scene in Mui Ne. But it was different. While Nha Trang is more festive and maybe more Miami-like (though I haven’t been to Miami, but just the feels!), Mui Ne I could say is more reserved and peaceful. I think the central beach area is the Nguyen Dinh Chieu street since it’s where most resorts are situated. It’s a long road where you could see resorts, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and even residential houses on both sides. You couldn’t really see the beach since the resorts are covering the view. Nevertheless, I’d say it gave Mui Ne a different feel.

We checked in at Thao Ha Hotel and even if it’s not beach front, I’d say it’s a good choice. The place is clean and well-maintained and the staff are nice and very helpful. We only paid for roughly 45usd for a 3 days/2 nights stay with breakfast. I like it that they clean the room everyday and they replenish the toiletries daily as well.

23725616

Superior_3

There are a lot of options for accommodations along Nguyen Dinh Chieu street. You can opt to walk-in or book ahead, but I think it’s better to book ahead since the price is slightly different when you just walk-in. Room rates also vary depends on the type of the hotel or resort you will book, but I think it’s still pretty cheap and won’t eat much in your budget.

What to do: 

If there’s one thing I didn’t like much about Mui Ne, it’s the beach. Sadly, it’s the beach. It’s not as nice as I thought it to be. We weren’t even able to swim on the beach because there were a lot of huge jellyfishes and the waves were too big. The shoreline is not as wide as compared to Nha Trang as well. So, I’d say I prefer the beach in Nha Trang better. Or maybe, it was the season of the jellyfishes going out of the sea? If there’s such a thing as that.

But anyway, even if the beach was not too nice to us, we were still able to enjoy Mui Ne through some sightseeing trip we did. We availed of the group tour package offered by our hotel which was only 140,000 VND per person for a group of 5. It’s a jeep ride tour of the four famous tourist spots in Mui Ne such as the White Sand Dunes, Red Sand Dunes, Fairy Stream and the Fishing Village.

 

17202856_10154528105925668_6684442195866761511_n

Fairy Stream

17309631_10154552976578507_3466954766432459877_n

Red Sand Dunes

17352387_10154528105810668_6921428640657936108_n

This spot is just perfect for photo shoot sesh:-)

17265078_10154552976013507_1041199528656467045_n

17353391_10154552976458507_4919417506055864371_n

Fishing Village

17353493_10154552967838507_2593771234308151028_n

White Sand Dunes

 

This is actually a pretty good deal! Imagine being able to go around the main spots of this village for just less than 10usd!? And I like that we did the tour early morning (we started around 4:30am), so it’s not too hot and we were able to catch the sunrise at the White Sand Dunes:-)

The tour finished at around 9am so we still had enough time to stroll around the area. Another fun way to do in Mui Ne is to learn Kite Surfing, which I didn’t dare try because I’m not much of a water sports fan. But hey! It looks pretty exciting!

No frills, spontaneous getaway. 

That weekend in Mui Ne was pretty remarkable since we were able to just relax and enjoy the feeling of not doing anything or not be pressured to do something. We just did what we thought of doing at the moment. We slept, we ate, we swam, we watched KDrama to our hearts’ content, and I even almost finished a book during this quick getaway. I’m not sure if it comes with age but these are just the things I’m looking forward to in a vacation. I don’t like the hurried, let-us-visit-all-the-tourist-spots-at-once kind of trips anymore. So yes, maybe I am really becoming a member of the #titasofmanila now. Or an ahjumma? Oh please!

Nonetheless, it was a trip worth remembering. I could say it was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve ever had. And I’m glad that my friend, Joey, also felt the same way:-)

17343010_10154528103700668_4902369847079037681_n

17352262_10154528103750668_4228488645811298585_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

To A Friend I Lost Along The Way

 

When someone will ask me how you are now, I really don’t know what to say.

Because I don’t really know anything about you at all.

Well, I used to know everything about you.

I used to be the first one you tell every little things that happened to you to

Or the things you want to do

Sadly, that’s not the case anymore.

It was a three-hundred-sixty-degrees turn.

We used to walk the same road

Until we decided that road was already too narrow for us

And we went our separate ways.

The everyday conversations became once or twice a week

Until there was none anymore

I used to be part of the scenes in your life story

And now, I’m just on the outside.

I can’t enter those scenes anymore

Other people already took my once special role in your life

You chose to take a bow and have your final exit in my life’s scenes, as well

And I can’t force you to stay.

Maybe I’m still mad and sad at what happened between us

And it hurts that while I’m still in pain,

You seemed ok about it

You seemed fine without me

I never stopped caring for you, you know

But without you noticing it, you stopped caring for me

You stopped knowing who I was

One day, maybe one day I can accept it also the way you do

I hope one day I can also learn to accept that there’s no more us

And that this friendship has already came to an end.

We’ve already said our goodbye

But I do hope that when you remember me (if ever you will have the time to do that)

You will still smile and remember all our good times and not our sad ending.

I will always pray for your good life.

I will always love you, my once special friend.

Until then…