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  1. #121
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    April 2009
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    Thanks Bear Lac Loi. Your suggestion's really helpful .. I Do appreciate it.
    .. And by the way .. I can't make this essay shorter because the professor required it to be 4 pages long.. so it's kind of run-on .. and I was out of ideas.
    Thanks again Bear Lac Loi.


  2. #122
    Join Date
    July 2008
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    Default Em Còn Nhớ Hay Em Đã Quên

    I don’t know what has been keeping me. One part of me wanted to do it, but the other was afraid.

    It has always been a dream since I first put my foot on the 10-meter wooden boat that took me away from the country. Whether it was a wishful thinking or a beautiful dream while I was sleeping, I have always dreamt the dream when I return to Saigon.

    As someone has just told me over the weekend, maybe I’ve been blaming on circumstances. A long time ago, I did some travels outside of the US but mostly to Western Europe and Mediterranean areas. I was once as close to Vietnam as Taiwan, but had never finished the last hop. Then, it was illegal for a US citizen to travel to Vietnam.

    When the Clinton Administration normalized the relationship between the two countries, the urge of coming back got stronger. However, for one excuse or another, I decided not to. By that time, I was into the ambition crisis. I dove into work and ignored personal pleasure. Hmm, maybe I was putting the blame on circumstances as well!

    Now, my work life is fairly established. My personal life is on cruise control. And I am in command of the amount of time I need for work or for anything else. Yes, it is true that I don’t usually take long vacations, but I can if I want to. So, why don't I go? I keep pacing back and forth while kicking my heels. Never has it been in life when I become so undecided … except once, some time ago, but that was a different story.

    I guess I’m just afraid.

    Memories are all I have about Vietnam. Good memories, mostly. There may be some not-so-good ones, but I just smile and consider them as the things we did when we were young, or when the country was full of confusion. What can I do when I come back there? Old friends are probably scattered everywhere. And it’s not that I remember many of them! High school sweethearts probably got married and have tons of kids. Daydreaming while riding a bicycle around town was the thing of young age. Romantic streets for wondrous teenagers may no longer be desirable. The streets changed. The names changed. People changed. I’ll be so lost. Will I be willing to replace the good old memories with reality? I don’t know. I’m clueless.

    But I was dreaming of it again over the weekend.

    --- o0o ---

    It was raining this morning when I went to work. The weather has been crazy lately. It changes every day: warm, cold, snowing, raining, or sunshine. I don’t remember paying that much attention to the weather when I was in Saigon. I didn’t even remember listening to the forecast on the radio. It could be hot and sunshine in the morning then cloudy or raining in the afternoon. There were so many times when I got caught in the rain half way back home from school. Not once did I complain when riding home in wet and sticky clothes. But I’m not like I used to be. I’m spoiled by the conveniences in America. How will I behave when I go back there? I’m sure I won’t act like a rotten kid, but how far will I be from that is a different matter.

    Anyway, the rain this morning reminded me of a song that I love dearly. I listened to it when I was in the refugee camp, and I listened to it while I was in college. Different priorities in life led to the misplacement the tape, but the song has always been in my memory. Few months ago, I found the song on the Internet. Hmm, and I thought I was tougher than I used to be! Anyhow, in a moment of insanity, I actually checked into the schedule for a couple-of-week-long vacation and sent my passport out for the Visa application. I yearned to see what had become Saigon. But at the end, I didn’t go through as I had desired. I was afraid I would lose what I have been holding so dearly in my heart.

    Another excuse? Maybe.

    Anyway, here’s the song:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwA6FQlIjDE







    Last edited by Bear Lac Loi; Jun 5, 2010 at 03:57 AM.

  3. #123
    Join Date
    July 2008
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    1,004

    Default Am I Who I Am?

    “Am I who I am on Paltalk?” I asked myself. “What is my identity?”

    I’m not sure. I knew there were differences, but how different I was between me in real life and on Paltalk has never been answered.

    On Paltalk, I was modeled as short, fat, and bald, but if people came to my town and looked for a Vietnamese guy with that description, they would have never found one. None of the Vietnamese guys in town are qualified for all three features. I know that for fact since there are only few of them here in this small, little, teeny, tiny town.

    If they looked for one who could talk everybody’s ears off, which was the same way I chatted in the ESE room, they might be disappointed as well. The real me doesn't talk very much in public. After years of being in the US, I still keep the typical style that most immigrants have when they come to a new country without speaking the language. I listen and smile, and I talk little.

    And also on Paltalk, when everyone kept talking and voicing their opinions on the mic, I would just sit and listen patiently. In real life, however, it is a different matter. I could never sit still in a meeting, listening to repetitive or unrelated information, and letting other people "nói tràng giang đại hải" or "nói vòng vo tam quốc." For some reasons, I was known among colleagues as a quite impatient guy when it comes to that. They usually used a nicer term such as a focused guy, but it’s the same difference. Well, maybe the colleagues were wrong.

    With all the contrasts, am I really not who I am on Paltalk? I can’t tell. There was something about me that, it didn’t matter under what nick I presented myself, people always recognized me in the room. It was like an elephant trying to masquerade itself into a different animal. And if that was the case then my identity was consistent. A consistency in identity has a good probability of being a real identity. That means I maybe am who I am on Paltalk.

    So what is it? Am I who I am, or am I not?

    I’ve no idea. I’m clueless.

    And that, too, may also be a part of my identity!

    --- o0o ---

    Thiệt tình, đúng là lộn xộn.



    Last edited by Bear Lac Loi; May 8, 2009 at 01:22 AM.

  4. #124
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    April 2008
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    676

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Lac Loi View Post
    I’m clueless.
    We know that already.

    Life is short. Slow down and remember to smile.

  5. #125
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    July 2008
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    Default Things happen!

    Paltalk. Is it or is it not good for me?

    For some people, I think it is. For others, it may not. For me? It’s half and half, I believe.

    I was first aware of the benefit of me spending hours and hours on Paltalk when I visited my mom last month.

    It was at my mom’s birthday party, while I was talking thao thao bất tuyệt with a friend … well … actually, she was my sister’s friend, when I heard my mom’s voice, “Nè, thằng út bây giờ nói tiếng Việt giỏi đó nghe.”

    I stopped cold.

    I didn’t realize that I was unconsciously talking in Vietnamese. How did that happen? The friend smiled. I cười trừ, and continued the conversation with broken English and Vietnamese mixing together. It sounded strange. I felt weird. The courting was over!

    Later, the subject somehow came up again. My mom, still amazed with my fluency in Vietnamese, was wondering if I’d been dating a Vietnamese girl without telling her. Speculations rose, discussions exploded, and I became the center of attentions. Everyone was expecting a confession, or a tale of my mom’s út hooking up with a Vietnamese girl somewhere in the Southern states of America. My nephew and his wife went as far as checking my cell phone for a Vietnamese name in the address book. They were disappointed. And everyone knew I was lying when I told them that I’d been reading a lot of Kiếm Hiệp, thus I became fluent in the language all the sudden.

    So I guess Paltalk was good for me, at least for the Vietnamese part. After days and nights gluing my eyes to the computer monitor, I became fluent in the language that I was born and grew up with. How ironic!

    But then I also adopted a not-so-desirable influence.

    It happened this morning. An American colleague came to my office to discuss work. At the end, as he was hurriedly heading to the door, I remembered something else that I needed to tell him, so I shouted, “Khoan.”

    He froze.

    I then realized that I should have told him to wait a minute in English, and smiled. He pretended to understand and acted as if I was saying something in English but he didn’t quite catch the meaning. He assumed, anyway, that I asked him to wait.

    Like they say, things happen!




  6. #126
    Join Date
    August 2006
    Location
    Hue
    Posts
    1,535

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    the conversation with broken English and Vietnamese mixing together
    If you didn't start speaking Vietnamese while you were in diapers, it's highly unlikely you'll ever be mistaken for a Viet. Luckily there is Paltalk I thank Paltalk and the wonderful friends who spent countless hours tutoring my so called "banana" Vietnamese pronunciation. Now I'm a PRO...well not technically a "Pro" but enough to xi xon.


    Thanks to Paltalk I come to love Vietnamese music ^_^ e.g. vu khanh, nhat trung, trinh lam, khanh ha, bang kieu, khanh ly, and van van... Never thought I would come to enjoy those musics.

    "I don't get upset with myself if my accent isn't perfect. I know I am making progress as long as I practice all the time. Don't be too hard on yourself if you are still making mistakes. Developing an American accent is a process. It doesn't happen overnight." Sabrina Stoll, Germany

  7. #127
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    July 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by OoSoOSwtJenna View Post
    If you didn't start speaking Vietnamese while you were in diapers, it's highly unlikely you'll ever be mistaken for a Viet. Luckily there is Paltalk I thank Paltalk and the wonderful friends who spent countless hours tutoring my so called "banana" Vietnamese pronunciation. Now I'm a PRO...well not technically a "Pro" but enough to xi xon.

    Thanks to Paltalk I come to love Vietnamese music ^_^ e.g. vu khanh, nhat trung, trinh lam, khanh ha, bang kieu, khanh ly, and van van... Never thought I would come to enjoy those musics.
    Hi Jenna, not only has your Vietnamese improved through Paltalk; your research on English vowels and their pronunciations is also impressive. We ESE students really appreciate the effort. Most natives do not even know those rules unless they study linguistics in college.

    In addition, you may have not noticed, but your singing skill has also improved tenfold because of Paltalk, after nights and nights of xixon'ing in Toyo's Karaoke room. I can feel the dramatic change in your voice now compared to when you still covered half of your face like a real terrorist on cam.

    Last edited by Bear Lac Loi; May 14, 2009 at 08:47 PM.

  8. #128
    Join Date
    August 2006
    Location
    Hue
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    1,535

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Lac Loi View Post
    Hi Jenna, not only has your Vietnamese improved through Paltalk; your research on English vowels and their pronunciations is also impressive. We ESE students really appreciate the effort. Most natives do not even know those rules unless they study linguistics in college.

    In addition, you may have not noticed, but your singing skill has also improved tenfold because of Paltalk, after nights and nights of xixon'ing in Toyo's Karaoke room. I can feel the dramatic change in your voice now compared to when you still covered half of your face like a real terrorist on cam.

    Ha..ha..ha.. anh HB, I tried my best to help the students with my findings. If I remembered correctly, you once asked me on the pronunciation of the /s/ sound. Why certain words with /s/ pronounced as a /z/ sound? Thanks to the countless hours surfing on google, I think I have the answer to your question sir.




    em trum mat em vi` em so*. anh HB tha'y mat em roi anh bo chay.

    Last edited by OoSoOSwtJenna; May 14, 2009 at 11:54 PM.
    "I don't get upset with myself if my accent isn't perfect. I know I am making progress as long as I practice all the time. Don't be too hard on yourself if you are still making mistakes. Developing an American accent is a process. It doesn't happen overnight." Sabrina Stoll, Germany

  9. #129
    Join Date
    April 2009
    Posts
    68

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    I read and read every time I log on this page in hoping I will write everything I wish. But, I can't write as I think, I read your essay and all of the admins in the ESE class. I think one day I will be able to write as good as you, but how ,I wonder ? I like learing English, perfect my French, nothing goes as I wish, I can understand a litlle bit when I listen to the american radio; I always doubt about my understanding. I am lost among three languages, I am connfused when I use them, sometimes, I cannot find a word to talk when I want to explain. I become nervous and I stammer.

    I want to perfect the language which I learn and I am happy which I have got but I am ashame when I can't speak or write correctly in French or English. Anyway, I am happy all the same because I can understand more than before but not enough. ( I'm so lazy to do any homework to perfect them. I have done some dictation online in French or in english but I am fed up fastly when I can't regconize the word or do not understand and I give up.) Do you have a trick for it.

    BEar , I don't know how old you were when you came to USA, you write very well and you speak Vietnamese very well too. I admire you and everyone who can learn and perfect a second language.

    I am at work when I write this one. I hope you will help me. I have not been able to write well as I want. I hope you could understand my writing and correct it.

    Normaly, I would like to write something about my life, but I don't have a good level of wrting to do it.

    Just try to wirte something to practice. It's strange, I lose my thoughts when I take a pen or decide to write then my essay is nul.


  10. #130
    Join Date
    April 2009
    Posts
    68

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    One more thing, I don't know how to use this page correctly. Please forgive me if I do something wrong.

    Can I respond or ask someone directly with his or her essay in here or I have to write on the last page ?


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