My name is Cristina.
I’m 28, from Vermont, and have been in Vietnam for about a year and a half, this time. I came here for the first time in 2006, and it’s been a back-and-forth situation ever since. Before this I lived in Madison, WI doing the coursework for my MS and PhD in Sociology.
As anyone who’s been in a PhD program can attest, finishing your coursework still leaves you several hurdles away from completing the degree. A dissertation proposal, research and the subsequent writing of a dissertation are all ahead of me still. I’ve finished my coursework, preliminary exams, accumulated three years of research experience and a masters degree, but I’ve got a lot left.
Until very recently, I spent my waking hours running the Academic Dept. of a small prep school that helps students study abroad in America for high school and Uni, doing a lot of teaching, curriculum development, and other thrilling management things. I have a binder of protocols/procedures; these sort of things excite me. Juggling these things isn’t simple…and I never got as much done as I’d like. I think this might be a life theme that many experience. In early October I resigned from my position, and have since moved into education consulting and private teaching/advising. I focus, as before, on students interested in going to high school, college, or graduate school in the US, and work with these students on many parts of the process. Sometimes it’s test prep, sometimes essay writing, sometimes US history or literature or culture or current events. Sometimes it’s even creative writing fundamentals, one of my favorite classes to teach. I give professional assistance on the more bureaucratic bits as well: choosing a set of colleges and Universities, the FAFSA, CSS Profile, CommonApp, any supplemental International Student forms, the CV, the Letters of Recommendation.
I live in in Truc Bach, a wonderful neighborhood in Hanoi surrounded by water. I share a small flat with a dachshund named Ethel who has a big attitude and loves a good trundle around the lake. I cook a lot (vegetarian), read a lot (fiction, poetry, short stories), and do yoga (baptiste & power flows). I love the tropical fruit of Hanoi, tattoos, good wine, witty people, strong coffee, the emptiness of Hanoi streets after 1am, and gin based drinks. I spent a lot of time in traffic, something I don’t mind as much as one would think because I’m either riding a mint green 1981 Honda Cub (90cc) or the newer acquisition…a Honda ’67. Both fit particular moods, both are awesome in very distinct ways.
There are still things to be figured out still. Many of them. I am a work-in-progress, after all.
In the meantime I’m trying to write more, wake up with the sun more, read more, and appreciate my world…more.