Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Many First Times

MVCC Visiting Professor Hoa Ngo stands by a sign with ducklings for Easter.

First time celebrating Easter
The first week I was in the States, I was surprised with many kinds of chocolate candies and things that are shaped like rabbits and eggs. I didn’t understand that people were preparing for Easter. In Vietnam, Easter is not very popular and it is not a holiday. However, I had a great chance to enjoy Easter. 
Hoa Ngo has her picture taken with the Easter Bunny.
A week before the holiday, Carol Dinger took me to learn about palm weaving and egg decorating. I had my first American breakfast with her. The food was different, but it was worth trying. Then she took me to Chester’s – a flower shop, where I was able to take photos with the Easter Bunny. And the rest of the day was an extremely wonderful experience. I was instructed by a nice lady in how to decorate the eggs. Unfortunately, I am not very skilled at that, so it ended with a terribly-decorated egg. Then, I also tried the palm weaving. This time I succeeded in weaving a kind of flower (I was told that it was a rose, anyway!). Watching people make lambs with butter was the most enjoyable. 
On the week of Easter, Jennifer DeWeerth was so kind to take me out to church. I was introduced to people at the church, which I didn’t expect. It was very moving. They also talked to me after the service. I am really thankful for all. Then, she took me to her house and we enjoyed Easter dinner. Her husband was a good cook, and their children were so cute. One more thing I shouldn’t forget about the Easter celebration was that I got two Easter baskets! My sisters were so jealous of me. One single thank will not be enough for including me in such a special holiday.
First time watching a baseball game
I have been teaching students in Vietnam about sports for a long time. Theoretically, I know about soccer, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, softball, etc. I recently learned that baseball and softball games are the same, except that baseball is for men and softball is for women. 
I had my first time watching a baseball game with Jennifer Krohn. The game is slower compared to soccer, and I was trying to understand the rules. Although it was chilly out and there weren’t many people there, it was really exciting. Now I can tell my students that I watched a baseball game in America. Now I understand why it is so important to have real experience. I will be surely more confident with my lesson about sports in the future.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wonderful Concerts at MVCC

MVCC's Visiting Professor Hoa Ngo and Anne Ichihana wait for the Kenichi Ebina performance to begin.

The first week I was at Mohawk Valley Community College, I had the opportunity to go to dancer Kenichi Ebina’s show in Rome. I was really excited because I haven’t been to a concert in years. 

I was more than surprised to see many people both students and local people waiting outside the Capitol Theatre in the rain. I have never been in such a situation – standing in line for a concert. 

The concert started with a brief speech from the MVCC President, Dr. Randall Vanwagoner. I have to say that it was the most exciting show I have ever seen. There were so many people. I couldn’t understand how a college can celebrate such a wonderful concert. To my understanding, going to a concert means watching students’ musical performance. I never thought I would have a chance to watch a show by the winner of American’s Got Talent. He performed for more than an hour, with a lot of music and dancing. I stayed until it ended. I have no words to express my feeling about his show. Marvelous!
Hoa Ngo at the Cher Lloyd concert at MVCC.
If the first concert gave me a sense of art, the second concert that I went to gave me a sense of overexcitement. It was David Correy and Cher Lloyd’s show at MVCC's Utica Campus. Events Director Bill Dustin and Coordinator Katie Kdsiaz were so kind they had a ticket and a T-shirt for me. Dr. Sandra Engel was even nicer. She gave me a job as a greeter. It was funny for me. Just like Kenichi’s show, people were queuing in long lines to come in. And this time, even more surprising, the audience had to go through a security check like I did at the airport. 
“Safety is number one here,” I thought. It was very noisy and crowded. People wearing T-shirts with photos of their idol sang along and danced. They stood and yelled and screamed. It was a new experience for me, because I had seen all of these scenes a lot, but they were on the Internet or TV stations. If my friends at home knew about this new experience, they would definitely be jealous of me.
The two concerts gave me different feelings. I am really thankful for the college for including me in such wonderful shows and the ways that the college celebrated them were so professional. I hope I will be able to go to every concert while I am here!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A heart-warming reception in the cold weather

Professor Hoa Ngo (first row, second from right) poses for a photo with MVCC faculty and staff at a reception in her honor. Female faculty and staff wore aodai to celebrate her arrival.

If someone asks me why I take the time to fly thousands of miles to visit America, I can answer without hesitation that I want to explore a new horizon in my life. But I have discovered that there are other important reasons why I am visiting MVCC, which is incredibly far from my home country.

At MVCC, I am treated as a VIP. Every single teacher I am introduced to is too kind to me, they treat me like a friend. This is very moving to me, and I don’t feel lonely here. 

The school celebrated my arrival with a reception for me. There were food and drinks, and people came and talked very happily. Most surprisingly, almost all of the female teachers dressed in aodai. I couldn’t believe how they took time out of their busy day to come to the reception just for me. Their presence in aodai surprised me and made me feel warm in such cold weather. 

Before I came here, I hardly imagined that I would be treated the way people treat me now. I found a more precious thing than just experiences to live far from home. I have found the most important thing – that is friendship!

Professor Hoa Ngo shares a laugh with MVCC staff members, also dressed in traditional Vietnamese aodai.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cold, snow, and lots of signs

Hoa Ngo, MVCC's visiting professor from KGCC in Vietnam, is experiencing snow for the first time.
When I was planning to come to the U.S., Sandy Engel, Director of International Education at MVCC, said, “If you want to be like home, stay home.” I smiled, and knew I should expect to learn new things. 

After a week, I think I can write a book about differences between Vietnam and the U.S. I have experienced quite a lot of interesting and “shocking” things.

Number one: weather change. It’s cold in America. Everyone says so and now I know that, too. But I am not looking forward to experiencing such cold weather. Excited then disappointed - that’s my feeling about the weather. I hate putting on layers and layers. Last Saturday I saw some rain, too. Perhaps America welcomes me with its different types of weather.

My sisters and colleagues back home are really excited that I can see snow. So finally I have a picture of me with the snow (although it’s hard to see me in my aodai, but I am really wearing one). I hope that the weather will be better soon to give me a chance to look more fashionable.

 A country of signs

It seems to me that people don’t show others how to do things, they figure out how to do things by themselves. Everything comes with instructions, even  food. In Rach Gia, the city in Vietnam where I live, we go to the market and buy lots of food and we cook them as we want to; but here in America I see the food in boxes with ingredients and instructions and nutrition facts outside. That’s weird! 
Everywhere I go, I see signs like “Push” or “Pull” or “Press.” On the way to Rome campus last Saturday, I saw a “Deer” sign, something I had never seen before. All these things are totally strange to me.