Friday, 25 December 2009

Vegetables - My close friend after Christmas feasts

After the recent Christmas feasts full of beef and chicken and too little vegetable content, at lunch time today I began craving for more vegetables.

The first vegetable I have thought of is tomato.

As read and heard from various information sources, now I know that lycopene, a compound found in tomatoes, is widely touted as a protector against cancer, particularly prostate cancer. But for myself, tomatoes do not only mean good for health but also special for its cool sweet taste and fine-looking succulent pinky-red skin.

Usually I take tomato in salads:

For today lunch, tomato was cooked in a soup with some fish:

Besides, sometimes I also drink tomato juice as a nutrient drink:

Another type of vegetable very special to me for its strange taste is bamboo shoots. We usually fry them with beef. But today as we liked to eat vegetables only, we fried it with tomato and green onion only:

The third and also final item of our vegetarian menu today was cabbage for its cooling quality. The simplest way and for me the best choice is boiled cabbage. In this way, we can first take both boiled cabbage leaves as a main course for our meal and cabbage water as a soup. And it is better if we eat cabbage leaves with fish sauce mixed with boiled chicken egg (shown below):

We can also take cabbage water as a refreshment drink after our meals.

Though each of us knows the benefits of vegetables to our health at a different level, we are all sure that we need them as refreshment and cholesterol-reducing fighter in balance with meat, fish and other protein and fat-high content food stuffs we take everyday.

Here is another more picture of tomato as a small reminder to you of super necessity of vegetables:

Good Appetite for your New Year Holiday !!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Sunday lunch of some favorites

This Sunday, on the occasion of another successful news in our business, we had a special lunch with a simple menu of low-fat dishes of all our three family members’ favorites.

The first dish was my son’s usual favorite fried chicken eggs - but today made in a different way of soft frying with pork, mushrooms, Jew’s ear fungus, onions for a slight changing taste for him.

The second course is both my darling Thang and myself’s favorite healthy fried soya curd. Today I also made it in a special way which I had just read from a Vietnamese cuisine website.

- In short, soya curd was first well mixed with onions and sweet chilli slices, then shaped into cakes.

- Then these cakes were fried once. Next soaked with a mixture of soya sauce, chicken eggs, green onions and pepper.

- After that, the cakes were fried quickly on the pan once again to be completed.

This dish could be fully delicious only when enjoyed with a carefully prepared soya sauce with green onions, chilli and pepper.

All three of us need vegetables, we know this better and better. That’s why today we chose to make a salad with ingredients mainly cucumber, tomato, some other herbs, onions, added fish sauce, vinegar, a little sugar, seasoning powder.

Finally, we all had rice together with warm Green Chinese Cabbage Soup with Shrimps.

Today, for dessert, we also had a special type of fruit, that is sapodilla plums which my mother-in-law offered us from her garden beside her house in Gia Lam - the suburb of Hanoi city.

As usual, good appetite for Sunday and the whole new week !

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Bedding colors- decisive for good sleep

As it is becoming cooler and cooler in Hanoi this season, I have been feeling more and more clearly the truth that the material and colors of blankets, pillows, bed sheets and mattress act an important role in my sleep quality. Every morning, when awake after a good deep sleep at night, I make up my bed quite happily with the cotton-made bed sheets of light, cool and fresh colors being Green and Blue which I have chosen. I also like the third thicker sheet for winter of Light Yellow. All these three colors are calm for my spirits at night, they can slightly massage my mind after a long day. Being a simple person, I do not like to decorate too much, I just added some sheep-fur-made pillows with covers in light red and orange tones together with some light blankets of natural colors of Light Green and Light Yellow on the Green mattress as background, which all creates a good color balance and makes me feel warmer. Besides, we set on the wall at the bed side a simple-shaped lamp quite functional for reading and looking unique. Though small, my bed corner looks so peaceful. It is good for my health, even better than tonic. Everyday life is so simple but sweet to me.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Threatening event to health - valuable experience for passing risk for continued life

Today, at the beginning of Autumn, as my health has been restored to its stable condition, I am recalling and telling you my recent story as an actually threatening and challenging experience which I have overcome and now keep in mind as a very good lesson.

It happened that around the middle of August, as a bad sudden effect of the rapidly changing hot weather of summer, particularly the atmostphere pressure changes, I lost sleep at night, suffered heavy headache and tension continuously for a few days.
And then one afternoon, while doing shopping, I fell suddenly in front of a shop near my house, my face hitting the pavement. My little son, who went with me then, though afraid, still kept calm enough to come back home to call his father. That night and the next day, several partial seizures occurred to me leading to some related lung problems. After trying for me some usual medicines without result, seeing my condition even worse day by day, my husband realized it best to call emergency. He decided to call emergency service from Bach Mai Hospital, one of the best hospital in Hanoi City with high-tech medical equipmnent, good professional and responsible doctors and nurses, and good-quality service. Then he accompanied me in the ambulance to the Emergency Department of this hospital.

As Thang told me later, he was only less worried about me when knowing that the doctors, based on the CT scan result of my head and X-ray image of my lungs, urgently carried out some special cure measures to get me out of the dangerous situation. And me, then as too tired and partly as taken a lot of transquilizers, I came into a long sleep and sometimes like a comatose, so I could not hear anything, could not know anything around during my 2-day stay in the Emergency Department. I only began hearing and knowing the world around me again when moved on bed to the Intensive Care Unit. The first thing I saw was the ventilator plugged into my mouth and nose, that meant, I could not yet breathe normally by myself and still needed this machine as a support. Though well aware of its necessary use for my ventilation, as a too sensitive person, bearing the ventilator’s plastic-made breathing circuits in my mouth and nose for 3-4 days was really annoying to me. Being supported strongly by my darling Thang’s best care for me in the role of a nurse day and night for nearly 2 weeks, additionally encouraged by the frequent visits by my nearly-80-year Dad and the other people, finally I passed the treatment period in the Intensive Care Unit, and the doctors decided to allow me to exit the hospital and continue restoring my health at home.

After the long and boring days with powder milk allowed as the only food for me everyday, with so many tests on me, so many medical equipments lived with, now I feel so happy to have freedom at my home again. Especially I was so moved and cheerful crying when seeing my little son Tuan again. I could not imagine how he had managed himself alone at home for over 10 days when his Dad had been busy looking after me almost all day and night. Anyway he was then smiling warmly and happily to his Mum who just came back. For my first days back home, as I was still rather dizzy and weak when standing, Tuan followed his Dad's guidelines to make his part to looking after and helping Mum in daily activities. He got food, drinks or other things needed to Mum's bed, supported Mum to walk into the bathroom or go around so on. He was also in charge of all the tasks usually done by Mum, for example, washing and drying clothes, preparing instant noodle for his lunch, cleaning floor etc. And at the end of everyday, he typed all these deeds in his diary on his computer. I believe in my position, any mother should be happy when seeing her child do the same.

At the hospital, as it was very strictly limited for patients’ visitors, only one of my friends could come to see me then. But now as I stay home again, things are easy again to my friends. So many friends have come and all of them been welcome warmly. It is only a bit pity that now I am still suffering a light sore throat and find somewhat difficult to speak as a consequence from lung inflammation and bad oxygen circulation of one main artery into my brain, which has prevented me from talking freely. I promise to all of them that I will improve my voice and my health in general in the soonest time possible to welcome them next time with more fun.

Living in the deep sympathy and devoted care by my husband Thang – who is now my hone doctor and cook, with my son as a helpful assistant, with on-going spiritual encouragement by everybody, especially by my Dad nearly 80 but still very optimistic and self-active in work and life, I have been feeling better quite quickly and see my daily life more worth to live. I have been really surprised at myself now not at all scared of illness, instead, I am quite calm and optimistic to take best methods possible I've known to prevent any impact on health everyday (with special attention to avoiding weather unusual changes). I must have a better health to lessen everybody’s worries and more highly respect my own and my close ones'small daily happiness. I am confident that I will be much stronger soon so that I can enjoy cheerful holidays as before!

Now I have a simple but essential wish of sleeping well every night and waking up well and peacefully in my new-repaired apartment so that I can enjoy breakfasts including milk, fruits... given me by my friends, neighbors and relatives.

From this experience, in practice, I am now determined to improve my health by arranging more time for sleep at night, morning exercises regularly. I must also set up for myself some menus with less hot substances, more cool components, with less cholesterol, more calcium, vitamins and so on. That means I must eat less pork and chicken, and take more fish and seafood, more vegetables, fruits. I have started a regime of taking yahourt daily and find it quite good for my skin and digestion. Especially I must be more strict to myself: I can have some light tea but stop drinking coffee unless very special cases.

Surviving from the risk of danger, I love my life more passionately. And to me now nothing is more valuable than a good stable health. Only with a good health, I can really enjoy life.

Monday, 6 July 2009

How to make the right decision for a cheerful job with least stress !

Time has passed so fast as it has been already over 1 year since I left my previous full-time job in a trading company, which I found unsuitable to me. Around the same time, we established our own family’s company providing construction machinery hire services to many contractors mainly in Hanoi city and nearby areas. Now only after 1 year’s operation, our business has progressed rapidly and will be likely more developed as the market demand is growing speedily and widely in Vietnam. My darling Thang and I view that we are going in a right and prospective way and we have been trying our best to lay a steady economic foundation for not only ourselves but also our son Tuan to develop it in his future.

At this stage, I do not have to worry about earning money for daily use, but I cannot stop working so early at 40 as I am still quite energic, and I cannot lose or fade my social knowledge and experienced English skills. The matter is what type of work should be best for me now? It must be surely less stressful and with more fun, and most importantly it must help keeping me happy with social communication. More than once, I was going to apply for a position of office secretary or translator of English, for which I had got long experience. But after reconsidering and consulting my friends and former colleagues, I have found this type of jobs is more suitable for young people under 30, so I did not follow this direction.

As much interested in painting and home décor, recently I have attended some e-courses online on this subject and got some basic knowledge. Then I thought of the possibility of working as a part-time customer consultant for some gallery or interior company based in Hanoi city. And I actually made a survey to some galleries and interior shops which I had known earlier. But I was really disappointed at these shops'owners' attitude toward their employees. They gain so high profit for each product sold, but they are so mean and have no respect toward their laborers (most being students and new graduates). The salespersons have to work all day with so overloaded work under so tough supervision. Facing this fact, though feeling a bit pity and sad, I had to change my mind and looked forward to another direction. I can come back to these shops but only as a customer or observer.

My friends are always helpful at the right time. When I was so puzzled and not yet quite clear for which step to take next, I asked my close friend Kim Chi - a Master of English Education - for her advice. She asked me why I could not be a teacher of English ? Deep in mind, earlier I had thought of this but only as an alternative if other options could not be implemented because I had found my personality unsuitable to teaching, the job requiring a more open and very patient character. But when hearing Chi to encourage me to be more optimistic and recommended some groups of learners most suitable to me, I felt more self-confident and better aware of this prospect. As having long experience in practicing English in admin and business work, why can’t I guide those people in similar positions but with less experience to improve their English skills ? The answer should be YES I CAN. This job is good for both learners and myself as it will bring me more fun from talking in English with younger people and it has minimal stress. Difficulties have been overcome, I have made the right decision to be a teacher of English, and my mind now feels refreshed like flowers full of vitality in Spring.

Recently as I read from a Chinese culture website published in San Francisco, those people born in Year of Rooster are usually devoted, interesting and extremely brave in any situation. As I was also born in a Year of Rooster, though I do not yet have all these qualities at the moment, I will try better to develop this inborn potential.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thanks to My Darling Thang !

Today, as having a happy family life, I would like to tell you, all my dear friends, about my husband Thang.

After ending my first and unlucky marriage at my young age 26, for a long period of 3-4 years, I was very allergic to almost all men who wanted to make friends with me, particularly I was scared of thinking of re-marriage. But after that, time passed and passed, gradually helping me to forget my unlucky past, and I became more clearly oriented for a future family life. Then I met Thang the first time at the age 30 when I was much more matured and better understood what was good for a marriage, especially for a future child. Both Thang and I shared the same viewpoint that love was essential and important but not enough for a married life. We both highly considered the significance of mutual understanding, sympathy, respect, and most important for both of us then was having a child, preferably a son. In December 2000, our wedding was organised in a quite simple way but cheerful with the attendance by our close friends and colleagues.

My husband Thang, me Nga and my son Tuan enjoying our small party on his 7th birthday 27 April 2007.

Father Thang and son Tuan when Tuan was 1 year old.

I have realised that since the birth of my son Tuan in April 2001, our life has surely become happier. Tuan is a cute, clever and active boy and he is always a flexible and stable bridge between me and my husband. Whenever we have some argument or disagreement on some issues, both my husband and I have always tried to lower our pride of ourselves and think most for the son, so the peace always comes back between us very soon.

Now as we have been living together happily for nearly 10 years, I can proudly say that I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband. I cannot explain why but I never feel shy when any friend asks me about the age difference between me and him. Maybe it is because despite the real difference of 18 years between us, my darling is really still quite young and active in his life style and working manner. As a trained & experienced engineer, he always likes simple, precise and functional things and has a special passion for new high-tech facilities. This is helpful for me and my son to access new modern household facilities and machines, making our living more comfortable. Combined between his intelligence and diligence, he is often thorough, dynamic and creative in everything he does. With his wide and deep knowledge in many fields, especially in technical issues, he can do by himself or supervise workers closely in any required repair-work of our electricity, water systems etc, making sure for our daily living conditions always smooth and sound.

He is a good father, always taking care of our son. Every evening, he often helps and guides Tuan so carefully in learning and revising mathematics exercises at home. Giving birth to our son at his age 50, which is commonly considered late, my husband has been well aware of the necessity of educating the little boy to become independent and self-confident the sooner the better. Now only 8 years old, Tuan has been taught by his father to get used to doing more and more things by himself. Agreeing on this point, I have also guided Tuan to do daily things at home by himself, such as making his bed, helping me in tidying up our home, controlling TV, air-conditioner, typing and using some simple softwares on computer, and so on. This is now good for him as some games for a child to relax his mind after hours of study, and hopefully also good for step by step training him to become a self-confident, dynamic and caring person in the future.

Thang is also a good, generous and sympathetic husband, never hesitant of helping me in troubles. Earlier when I was at work, whenever I complained with him about my work stress, he always encouraged me to make better efforts to overcome challenges, and also advised me to be optimistic for a brighter prospect. Knowing that I was very busy at work, he never complained about me coming home late day by day. He was even willing to be a good cook for me and my son when necessary.

It is his high spirit of determination and continuous efforts that have helped Thang to achieve good results in his business now. He has become Managing Director of our own newly-established company named Thien Phu Machinery JSC in the field of construction machinery hire services, which is very prospective. I must also express another important contributive element to his favourable business is wide, good and long-lasting relationship and friendship with many senior persons in various authorities, both civil and army, who are willing to help him to find contractors if possible. This has made me now quite reassured to stay home as a housewife to have more time for taking care and teaching my only son. Furthermore, Thang also encourages me to find ways, eg. through internet, TV, and other means of media, to maintain my English skills, keep on social communication, and update my background knowledge, in order to keep in touch with the social community and have fun everyday. On the other hand, he also reminds me to have proper diet with more vegetables and fruits, rest enough and avoid any tension. I should be more strict to myself to follow this good advice everyday, which is likely keep me more fresh and young longer.

I can say after my parents, I would like to thank sincerely my darling Thang so much for having helped me to become more grown up in thinking, behaviour, and always see life brighter and more meaningful !

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

I enjoyed a re-union meeting with my old friends on New Year holiday 2005

My old classmates incl. some back home from abroad (My Hanh from Singapore, Thang from USA & Vu from Canada), and the others based in Hanoi (Hong Hanh, Bich Hanh and Ha Tron). All smiling together cheerfully after years of distance.

All of us surrounding our former teacher-in-charge Mrs Thu Phuong. Our re-union took place in Lan Vien Restaurant based in Hanoi near Christmas holiday in 2005.

Some old friends incl. Minh Phuong (our former monitor - now working for Hanoi Dept of Judisciary), Thang (coming back from USA), Ha Tron (Round Ha - teacher of English at home), My Hanh (working & based in Singapore), Bich Hanh (working for Vietnam Airlines in Hanoi), Hong Hanh (working in British Council based in Hanoi, Bang Tam (working in ABN-Amro Bank based in Hanoi), together with myself (Nga - second from right in front - then working for a Singaporean medical equip. trading company in Hanoi). All of us have grown up and been doing business well.

Mrs Phuong happily hearing our stories of our achieved success and prospects in work and life.

Cheers !!!

My living space before and after renovation

You can see my apartment looked very small and a bit untidy in these images.

The old attic (semi-floor) looked heavy with the unhidden iron-made supporting beams.

The staircase made of wood and of dark brown colour looked very dark and heavy. The entertainment corner, not yet organised, looked untidy.

The old French-architectured wooden windows were very wide, making us difficult to arrange the furniture inside.

But now these images have been replaced with the new and bright look of our recent renovation. The change of material of the stairs from wood into inox has made the room look brighter, larger and more modern.

Things have changed apparently after the recent renovation we made. Hereunder I post some images of our living space now.

Here is one of the new windows with its simple style and look. It has replaced the old heavy-looking one. The best we have achieved is that we can fit so nicely the bookshelf for my son.

The new attic (semi-floor) now looks much better with the bright color of the banister made of stainless steel. And the iron beams under the attic foundation have been hidden,so now appears to our eye is a new white-painted smooth plane which has become the ceiling for our bed. We have intentionally selected the light green for paving the vertical side of the attic foundation so that now when entering the room, our eyes always catch a fresh cool feeling.

To avoid a too cool feeling of the steel material, I put right in between the banister a vase of artistic hand-made flowers of combined pink, yellow and mint-green shades.

Our new staircase now, despite its stainless steel material, looks quite light and soft with its open risers and simple stripes at its rails. With this major change, our room looks much more spacious.

I am also happy that I have applied some of my basic knowledge of decoration to making each corner fresher with some accessories: some pillows at the bench, some silk flowers at the staircase, a silver statue of dolphins beside the mirror, some paintings on the wall, all and each has made my living space more lively. A gallery of our photos has also become a friendly welcome for the sitting area. And among our focal points I would pay special attention to the portrait of myself painted by Mr Jon Akerman, my former boss and friend too who comes from Australia and loves Vietnam very much. This artwork now hangs proudly on my wall as remembrance of my best workimg period with friendship with many impressive and friendly foreign colleagues.

We always say the kitchen is the heart of a house. The same for us, we have paid special attention to our kitchen, both its look and its convenience, how its things are placed for our most effective use. We have chosen the red-brown color for the kitchen cabinetry, a color symbolizing for stability and prosperity.

We are quite happy now as we have completed this work quite well after long and careful preparation. Now we like to stay home better than before, we love our home than before.