Friday, April 9, 2010

April Update

Some of you may have noticed: I have disappeared in recent weeks. It isn't that I don't love you. I've just been busier than a mosquito in a nudist colony, happily engaged in work and other things. I have been taking notes for future blog posts, but it's been difficult for me to sit down and put them together. And because I hate to bore you with postcard details about my life (I've always wanted this blog to inform), I assumed I had nothing to tell you about.

But then it occurred to me, the fact of my busyness IS worthy of a post. And here's why: Vietnam is a land of opportunity. With a population approaching 90 million, and annual economic growth between 6 and 8%, Vietnam is replete with economic opportunities for locals and foreign expatriates alike. Mine is a success story, and I'm happy to share it with you.

First, some background. A little over a year ago, my situation in the states had become difficult. In the depressed economic climate of the time, I was finding my job options to be limited. I was certainly employable, but hating the corporate opportunities that were coming to me. And while I have nothing against living a slackerly, Bohemian lifestyle, a recent divorce had saddled me with debt, and I was eager to shake off the burden.

As I explained in my inaugural blog post nearly a year ago, The Road to Hanoi, I had spent most of the early 1990s as an EFL hobo in Asia, and always maintained this line of work as a fall-back option. With the combination of debt and job dissatisfaction, it seemed a good time to cash in my chits.

I chose Vietnam for a number of reasons: my love of the food, my fascination with its history, and the fact that I've just plain liked a lot of the Vietnamese people I've met over the years. But self-interest was part of the equation. I bet that, with my combination of skills and experience – Master's degree in education, experience in the EFL publishing industry, corporate instructional design background, and technical skills – there would be opportunity for me in this rapidly growing economy.

And I was right. I looked at English teaching as a stepping stone. But because I believe that the journey should always be as rewarding as the destination, I wanted it to be a stepping stone that I could put a little heart into. And it has been – teaching in Vietnam has been an enormously satisfying experience, and one that, in my new role, I am not entirely giving up.

But now, I have a new position, one that has been created to take advantage of my unique talents. My title: Blended Learning Program Manager. What the hell does THAT mean? Unfortunately, I cannot give you all the details about the position, but it involves curriculum design, writing, educational technology development, and all the other things I love to do. I've moved from the classroom to a position that involves me deciding what GOES into the classroom for the school as a whole. It involves shifting my focus from tactics to strategy, and I'm excited to tackle the challenge.

And here's the best part: I've signed a two-year contract. The earliest I'm likely to leave Vietnam is March, 2012. So you can expect my ramblings from Hanoi to keep coming to you for awhile.

April will be a little slow on the publishing front. Upcoming posts include musings on a recent documentary about Vietnam, more food descriptions, Chinese medicine as Vietnamese home remedies, and of course, the film company is coming from New York City THIS WEEKEND to film my episode on House Hunters International. I'll be blogging about all this and more! But all this will roll out after I've settled into my new position.

The message for readers, I believe, is this: if you are trying to decide what to do with your life, and the world outside beckons, head into it. Fortune favors the bold. And if Vietnam seems an attractive option, I can assure you that it is.

11 comments:

  1. Congratulations Hal, you pulled the wool over more people's eyes.

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  2. Let me know when HHI will air! I'll be excited to watch. And, congrats on your new position. It sounds great!!!

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  3. Now we know what you are up to. Bangkok certainly has been the fastest place to find a job, girlfriend and an apartment. All these facts in inverse ratio to NYC - three things you cannot have at once. Unfortunately the quality of all three are in question here. Maybe in Hanoi the jobs are better but the girlfriends more difficult to find. The housing in your hood is a different story. Don't get a big head! Love ya, big shot!

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  4. Great news Hal! Very happy for you!! Jackie and I have watched that show a few times so it will be exciting to see you on it.

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  5. Congratulation! I got to catch that episode too.

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  6. Congratulations, Hal! Sounds your new job is fascinating and one well deserved. I also look forward to hearing about the filming of the House Hunters International, which should be an adventure unto itself.

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  7. Hey, new subscriber here. Congrats on the new job! I look forward to reading your future posts about life in Hanoi. I'll be heading over to South Korea to teach ESL myself this summer! :)

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  8. Congrats Hal! That's a great new direction for you. Sounds like another reason to like Viet Nam is they can recognize greatness.

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  9. this is sounding so exciting for both u and us fans :-)

    can't wait to read more Hal. keep it up

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  10. Dude, is this what all the Blended Learning Program Managers wear? :) Seriously, good for you. ALWAYS love reading your posts. And HHI is coming? You rock, you rock star! We miss you on the street. But glad to know you're in a good place all the way around.

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  11. Thank you for this post. My friend and I will be going to Vietnam in June with the hopes of working as an ESL teacher while immersing ourselves in the rich culture of the country. Several friends have been giving us frowns on our plan. As a result, I have questioned myself if I'm doing the right thing. After reading your entry, it made me feel 10x better on my upcoming Vietnam adventure.=)

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