School’s Major Field Trip…Really

Within the last two school years of my life, I’ve had two major school year field trips, one for each year. In 8th grade, which would be last year, we had the chance to experience the bustling life of Hong Kong. It was an AMAZING blast, and an urban experience never before seen by us kids. On that trip, interestingly, I’ve discovered my romantic interest which still lasts today. However, the trip for 9th grade, is surely…an experience. Though it might not be something a city kid might expect, it was a change, and it might be a change that would satisfies you or the opposite. In matters of opinions, the trip and the experience we found was quite extraordinary. I mean…every field trip is about urban development, big metropolitans. Ask yourself a question. Is that enough for an experience of a field trip? My answer used to be a yes, but throughout the 9th grade trip, it gradually shifted to a no. It was a trip deep into nature, and it made me realized that I’m always part of nature, no matter where or how I live.

The Ride on a Gorgeous Beautiful River

The Ride on a Gorgeous Beautiful River

The destination for the trip was the widely known Cat Tien National Park which is a huge biodiverse forest located in Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and more counties. This is a huge area of some thousands of hectares of forests, and nature at its raw, natural form. At 8 A.M. on the morning of Wednesday, May 18th, everybody was finding themselves packed and ready-t0-go. We sang songs; played games; guessed locations; slept; had some bittersweet romance while sleeping (example below); and finding ourselves very comfortable. Approximately 3 hours following our departure from school, everyone was wide awake just to melt at their admiration for the beauty of nature we received at our arrival. The entrance of the National Park was a wide, and smooth river flowing as if it was a lazy snake. The river sparked the color of yellow brightly, and we wondered if it was the reflection of the sun or the color of the sediment. Nevertheless, we got off the tight bus, and began our first step…into the wild.

The Trip on the Bus was an Interesting Experience...

The Trip on the Bus was an Interesting Experience...

...But it was a heck lot of drained energy

...But it was a heck lot of drained energy

Here, the sound of motors are totally replaced by the sound of birds chirping, and of gibbons singing. We each carried two bottles of water with us, and walked down the road toward the boat that would carry us over to the National Park’s headquarters on the other side of the river. Ironically, the building we thought was the Park’s Headquarters were the Administration Office which seemed pretty deserted. It was creepy enough to bring the thought of a genocide into our minds. However, just a little down the road at the Headquarter was the reception for the Guest House we were staying at. After placing our heavy and back-aching backpacks at the reception office, we ran down to the cafeteria for some lunch which was awfully delish, consider the fact that we were deadly starving. Afterwards, everyone (was very full) climbed on the huge truck to start our hiking trip toward the Crocodile Lake. Which might not have been the best day of the trip, but it was the most bonding day of the trip. Hiking might not seemed very ideal, and we assumed that we were walking on a smooth, concrete road.

This was nothing...well, someone bled...but, nah!

This was nothing...well, someone bled...but, nah!

This was when the saying, “Expect the unexpected” fits the best because arriving at the beginning of the hike, we saw a little trail deep into the forest, and that was where we had to hike for 5km at.

Everyone was tired...

Everyone was tired after our hike and this was the consequence besides all the enjoyment of nature

The Hike was really something new because that would be the first time I single-handedly hike through a forest path as such. Though it was tiring, and Leech-filled, the whole package of experience was something worth receiving because it was a blast. And traversing the deep tropical forest allows you to feel like you’re part of it, and in fact, you are!

Finishing the 5km hike, we approached the Crocodile Lake Ranger Station dubbed hell of man by many from the trip due to the heat at day. The Ranger Station at the Crocodile Lake is also has small cabin and function as a motel, too. Talk about multitask! This place was wholly powered by Solar Panels which meant, No Air Conditioner, No Fans, just wind! This was when we realized we’re really into the wild now…

The complains turned horrifying when we saw the bathroom which was quite a sight of disgust, but a solution was there. We decided to not take the cabins and move to our teacher’s VIP lodges for the night. The boys stayed with our math teacher, Mr. Brandon while the girl was to sleep with Ms. Asmaa. After everyone showered, things started to take a turn for the better. Nighttime was approaching, bringing night breezes to the lodges, allowing everyone to be a bit relaxed, but some were still worried about sleep. Nevertheless, the sunset that day was an event of great awe to many of us. Everyone enjoyed the beauty of the sky as in dances into different colors of the rainbows. Clouds turned from blue to red, from red to orange, from orange to dark purple, then to pinkish violet, then to dark blue, and then finally, pitch black.

The Beauty and Romance of the Most Gorgeous Sky Ever...

The Beauty and Romance of the Most Gorgeous Sky Ever...

The thing about that dinner was that we had tons of food, but not tons of variety because all of the dishes were fish. Fish, fish, fish, fish, fish! The complains started to creep out from everyone’s mouths again which I felt was unnecessary because the Rangers had put in a lot of effort to cook such a great meal for us, and they deserved some respect. 8 P.M., things were already quite dark, Ms. Asmaa cried, “Crocodile Eyes, guys!” and immediately, the whole crew were out at the balcony. We used our flashlights to see the reflecting little orange crocodile eyes in the dark, and having a first-hand experience of something like that was out of this world.

One of the Casino Business Within the Trip

One of the Casino Business Within the Trip

When things turned into the darkness, we traveled around with flashlights in hand. The crew decided to retreat to their lodges, and opened their casino business. Obviously, we played for entertainment purposes only, but when midnight approaches, nobody seemed to be able to have some rest.

This partly stems from the creeps about the story of ghosts in the area, bugs and insects, and pure inability to sleep without fancy accommodations. At around 10, the whole crew (students only) gathered at the balcony in front of the lodge and got chairs together to reflect on our 9th grade year, what we enjoy about it, what we dislike it (despise, perhaps?), and predictions for the oncoming year. We also told each other what we enjoy about each other, and what we dislike about each other in terms of characteristics. It was truly the first time I observed such a close bond between all the 9th graders because throughout the whole year, all I saw was teasing, and no seriousness. As midnight arrived, everyone decided to lay down mattresses outside on the wooden balcony, and the whole group would sleep there. This might make us seem a bit messed up in the head, but it was actually very pleasant outside. Me and Tony P, however, wasn’t abled to put ourself into our dreams, and stayed to talk about ourselves and our lives. That was when I realized that the night sky here is heavenly compared to the polluted sky we have back in the urban areas. (Actually, Kevin was going to kill us cuz’ we let him join us…indirectly which he groaned about the whole following day…)

Early morning arrived, and everybody realized they won’t have enough energy for the day, but we kept our stern heads up. We thought the hike back would be a challenge, but in reality, it brought us a more energetic spark for the day, and it was over before we even knew it.

At the Cafeteria we usually gather at, Nobody could prevent their exhaustion from showing

At the Cafeteria we usually gather at, Nobody could prevent their exhaustion from showing

Climbing back on the bus that was to take us back to headquarters, I could swear I felt fair gusts of wind brushes my hair, and I knew that we’re really going to enjoy the trip. At around 12, we arrived at headquarters, and we checked in our initial room. Tony P was all tangled up in the stress because of his exhaustion, and I couldn’t blame him. Half an hour has passed, and Ms. Asmaa came with a sad announcement that Mr. Brandon’s son has been through a horrible illness in days, and was in need of his attention which meant that Mr. Brandon wouldn’t be with us for the rest of the trip which clearly brought sadness on everyone’s face. After having lunch at 2 A.M, we took a short tour at Wildlife At Risk Cat Tien. There, we instantly became experts on the topic of rehabilitation of bears and other animals. The W.A.R.’s leopard rehab center’s main leopard, Lucy, put up a great show for us as she hunts for her pray, a little live chicken Steven loved which actually fought with great bravery before his dying breath. The second day’s afternoon was over, and the moon was high upon our heads as we head out to the Night Safari following a wondrous dinner. Once again, I enjoyed the night breeze that splashes around my face and hair. We saw a pygmy loris (which was quite rare and spectacular), and many deers. It was quite shameful of me to sleep during the Safari though…Finally, we head to bed, but a little royal rumble happened between the boys which I at first decided to not join, but the ecstacy of fun led me to it. Kevin was being teased for…(cannot be named) reasons, and he started chasing everyone around so we locked ourselves in the room. Somehow, Kevin got to Kei alone, and they had a little romance together…

Yeah, we eat like that! (Second day dinner before Night Safari)

Yeah, we eat like that! (Second day dinner before Night Safari)

The Last Day

By now, everyone found a bit of excitement mixed within their exhaustion, but we went on a little trip to Dao Tien to visit Apes and Monkeys rescue center which we learnt a lot about, especially the poor and pitiful stories of the gibbons before they’re rescued and rehabilitated. However…it was time to say “au revoir” to Cat Tien National Park, and we headed home…But before I go, here’s something special for you guys!

The 1,2,3 game!

Shout out to Dr. Awesome!

The 1,2,3 game!

This is just a fun little blogger game that keeps you entertained. Today, I had to take the ECCE test from the University of Michigan, and I swear it’s the easiest thing ever. Meanwhile, I’m waiting to go take my speaking test which will just be walk in the woods.

Literally a Walk in the Woods!

Literally a Walk in the Woods! (Courtesy of beyondsharonstar.blogspot.com)

But here’s the fun little game to kill some time!

Go to the student blogging challenge Student List!

Pick a random person from any category

Click on a link from their blogroll

Then click on another link from the blogroll of the 2nd blog!

Find a post and COMMENT up!

I commented on the guy with the Blog Dr. Awesome whom have a deep passionate for basketball just like me. I shared with him about our favor for basketball, and one of our idols Kevin Durant. Just play it! It’s gonna give you some new friends, probably? xD

Children of Myth! Backstage Pass

Recently, our school, the American School of Vietnam had coordinated, and produced a hit show called ‘Children of Myth.’ The play is edited and adapted based on the Vietnamese Myth of a Hero King and his Hundred Children. Everything was magnificent on all three nights of the performances, and based on the audiences responses, we figured it was a job well done by everyone who was involved in the play. As a memorable event, I, myself, had taken the opportunity to take some backstage preparation pictures of the crew. Enjoy!

*The top image is courtesy of the American School of Vietnam, Ms. Alice Borman, and Madison Vy Nguyen (The artist whom created this wonderful commercial poster for our production)

Scary Maze Falcon Punch!

Dear Bloggers,

Here I am, turning out clueless about nothing to talk about when suddenly…BAM, this video shows up. I know you guys have all watched (or probably tried on) the scary maze game, but seriously, you’ll love this guy. Anyone here know the all-time popular FALCON PUNCH?

Yeah! Captain Falcon doing his thing! It has became a popular meme in recent years!

Yeah! Captain Falcon doing his thing! It has became a popular meme in recent years!

Now…Ladies and Gentleman, here you go…I present you with…Mr. FALCON PUNCH (the computer screen)…

Bin Laden’s dead…? Oh, Yes!

As you’ve all have figured, the global’s notorious criminal dubbed terrorist has been officially announced dead by Barack Obama for a couple of days now, and this had just got the world rumbled up. By rumbled up, I meant the active, bustling way, not the destructive way. Anyways, this is a milestone in the global war against terrorism, yet we have no ways to find a glimpse into the future to actually have a clue of how this milestone will affect us as a whole.

Bin Laden was a man of power. The guy, due to his believes, had risen from the unknown to become the leader of the Jihad Terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. These men coordinated the horrible, and infamous 9/11 events in which the World Trade Center in N.Y.C. was hit by a plane alongside the Pentagon with another failed attempt on the same day heading toward the Political Center as well as Symbol of the States, the White House. Osama bin Laden, obviously, is responsible for countless crimes and sins he had personally committed or commanded people to commit them. He murdered millions of the innocence. He brings fear to many in not only the Middle East, but also the World itself. The man, whom originate from a wealthy background, was disinherited by his own family due to his love for violence. Even 0ne of his sons disagreed with what his father had been doing.

Nevertheless, nothing of infamy the man is known for can be compared to one thing, how he’s the world’s best hide-and-seek player. For the love of God, he has been playing the games for years! Finally, somebody ended the game, and that somebody is an Operation carried out by courageous American Special Forces teams, and the government itself. On May 1st, 2011, the Operation was officially launched proceeding the long period of planning, and tracking down bin Laden’s couriers. The man was found at a compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. On May 2nd, 2011, Obama announced bin Laden’s death (rumors said it was confirmed through DNA testing) by saying,

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

-President Barack Obama, May 2nd 2011

Well, as I’ve said before. This event in history will be marked down as one of the most significant in the war against terrorism. Leave a comment on what you think will happen after this? Will things be better? Or things might just take a turn for the worse…

Osama bin Laden (Image Courtesy of Begad3)

Osama bin Laden (Image Courtesy of Begad3)

President Obama annoucing Osamas Death (image courtesy of Pixel Form)

President Obama annoucing Osama's Death (image courtesy of Pixel Form)

Osama's Bin Laden Compound (View) from Abbottabad, Pakistan

Osama's Bin Laden Compound (View) from Abbottabad, Pakistan (Image Courtesy of Sajjad Ali Qureshi)


Family

On the last post about family (which was just a gallery of pictures about my family members), I wrote Family? with the question mark on the title. It means this time, I’ll talk about my own house of the heart with you, and answer the question? “How’s my family like?”

Members

Why not introduce my family members?

Dad

He’s a cool guy (though he kinda drinks too much, but that’s not really a problem). My dad is the man of the family which isn’t very unusual. The old man has a short temper in a way, but the family gets used to it through the times. He works as an entrepreneur and collaborated with my uncle on a hotel business in the city, and business is running quite well actually. The bad side on him is that he argues with my mom for quite an ‘immeasurable’ amount, but it’s also typical for him to make up with her. He has a group of friends which had became close family friends for some times now. The guy loves cars, and that might have something to do with me loving racing (racing games, not literal racing!). It’s all genetics, those complex DNA, RNA stuffs. He’s a soccer guy which isn’t a sport I enjoy very much, but I still play it. I guess it’s just not enough passion.

Dad with me, my relative, and my sister on the summit of Mount LangBiang, Da Lat

Dad with me, my relative, and my sister on the summit of Mount LangBiang, Da Lat

Mom

Now she’s a keeper! It’s eerily odd how both of my parents are incredibly young to have such old kids like us. They’re only near 40 and I’m 15! That’s not a very large gap…Is it? Anyways, she’s beautiful, and magnificent. Although my mom can be a very persistent complainer, she’s great at everything else. She taught me proper etiquettes, manners, ways to live. philosophies and all that. She’s the housekeeper of the family, but she runs around doing other small jobs, too. She works a lot, and due to the unstable economy, things haven’t gone very well for her. She’s epileptic which kills me every single time she’s in pain of her strokes. I feel utterly powerless when it just happens to her. One moment she was smiling, the next, she was lying on the floor with foam running out of her mouth…God, let’s move away from this region for now. She loves us…That’s simply it. No matter what happens to her, or to my father, she’d still do anything for me, and the family. That is why she’s the greatest mom on Earth (and I mean it, not like the type of movies’ Greatest Moms on Earth!)

Mom and Dad on a little bridge at the Falls

Mom and Dad on a little bridge at the Falls

Sis

Not the greatest kid on Earth…It’s not like any of the kids can be the greatest kids on Earth (I’m just joking, I love kids!). But, honestly talking, she’s something you’d wish for in a sister, and this little girl exceeds all expectations of a good sister. She’s 10 at the moment, and she seems like an 18 years old which annoys me a bit, but it’s all fine! Me and her barely share any similarities, and nobody have thought of us as siblings on their first encounters with us. She’s a very active girl, but can be a little crybaby sometimes which is cute, but it’s good she doesn’t make a habit out of it. We used to fight a lot, and I mean daily a lot, not like normal a lot, but since I’m grown up now, and a bit tad maturer, things have changed drastically. We get along real well now, like real brothers and sisters. This really gives me pride in both of us.

My sister when she was about 6 or 7

My sister when she was about 6 or 7

Traditions

As a family, we have a lot of traditions together. It’s not like the really tough, strict traditions, but they’re the spiritual things that keep us together. We do things like having road trips to the beach (which is a huge family tradition for us), go to mass on Sunday in the afternoon since we’re Christian (which is the largest religious tradition running through the family itself), having dinner together everyday, and buy each other gifts if we’re going somewhere without each other.

Sunday Mass

As Christians, it’s our duty to visit the Lord and spend time with him or tell him our wishes every week. We’re firm believers of God, and it’s a great thing. The family abides by the rule of God, and we pray to him when we feel we’ve done sins. I look for him when I don’t have any other way to resolve my problems. That’s why we go to Sunday mass together, to repay the debts he had done for us. The exact time we’d always arrive at Sunday Mass would be 5:15 in the afternoon, and after everything’s finished, the whole family feels very refreshed in a new, loving way. Afterwards, we’d go for dinner together, and we go to places we love usually, and the kids (which are me and my sis usually get to choose, but it’s always some random places).

The Notre Dame of Saigon, the church we go to every weekend!

The Notre Dame of Saigon, the church we go to every weekend!

NBA 2k11 – Best Game Ever Made

Dear me…

Here in this post, I’ll officially introduce myself as a self-proclaimed gamer! I love video games passionately! You should know that another hobby of mine is basketball, and here I’ll introduce to you the game that mixed both of my hobbies into one, NBA 2k11. The National Basketball Association is the place that gathers all of the best professional basketball players throughout the globe. One of my dream is to actually be able to play in the NBA itself. Though it might seems impossible, but a dream is a dream if you keep on working towards it. Back to the game now, shall we? It’s the best sports game ever made in my opinion (and in many others,too). Receiving a 9.5 rating by IGN, the game went on to thrash its competitor, NBA Live or NBA Elite (better known as NBA Delete) by EA Games. The game’s greatest feature is the inclusion of the legend himself, Michael Jordan. You’d hear a squish every times you see him with the ball. The mode in the game that got me hooked up the most was, apparently, My Player. My Player is the most innovative mode for a sports game possible. It allows you to create your own player, customize his appearances, skill sets, positions, ways to play, etc. The experience of the mode is just like playing basketball in the league yourself. So far, I’ve won the championship with the Miami Heat in my Rookie Year. I received the MVP of the Finals award, averaging 30 pts per game, and 13 rebounds. Unfortunately, I lost the Rookie of the Year award to Mr. Blake “Car Jumper” Griffin. I returned with redemption in mind in my second season. So far, at game 30, I’m averaging approx 50 pts per game, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks. I’m second after Dwight Howard in the All-Star votes list. I’m the consecutive player of the month for 3 months already, and currently the league leader in scoring, rebounds, and blocks. (I blocked Howard 5 times once in a game)

Courtesy of Vince Viloria from Sacramento, CA

Courtesy of Vince Viloria from Sacramento, CA

Check this places out to learn about the game:

NBA 2k11 Homepage

IGN NBA 2k11 Page

NBA 2k11 My Player/ A Game Walkthrough With Chris Smoove

Family?

Here’s a little photo album about, well, FAMILY!

Since I’m Vietnamese…

Xin chào (Hello)

Tôi là học sinh trường Quốc Tế Việt Mỹ (I’m a student at the American School of Vietnam)

Ngôi trường thân yêu của tôi chính là mái nhà thứ hai của mình. (The school is another home for me)

Với bạn bè, niềm vui, và những điều thú vị khác nữa! (with friends, fun, and other interesting stuffs!)

Tôi rất hạnh phúc khi được ví như là một phần của một gia đình đầm ấm như thế này! (I’m magnificently joyous to be part of this wonderful community!)

Trường Tiểu Học (The Primary School) - Hình bởi trường Quốc Tế Việt Mỹ (Photo courtersy of the American School of Vietnam

Trường Tiểu Học (The Primary School) - Hình bởi trường Quốc Tế Việt Mỹ (Photo courtersy of the American School of Vietnam