Try everything, keep the best!

I have recently decided that every time I see something good or someone who has done something that I found meaningful, I will make a record out of it. Either to give them a recommendation on Social Media or at least to write a blog post or to tell the story to related people that I know just to show my appreciation.

I first met this brother – Kyo Phan about 2 years ago when I was in charge of the Sales and Marketing activities for Legacy Yen Tu – MGallery. He was the make-up artist in the first photo-shooting project which I had the chance to take care of. He didn’t really have chance to talk much as was mainly for him to listen to me and to what other people had to say. We added each other on Facebook, occasionally “Like” and “Comment” to each other’s post but hardly ever talked, maybe once or twice because there was actually no reason to do so. We barely knew each other. I remember that one time I told him that I had a job change to Hoi An area.

About a month after, he contacted me and see if we could have a chance to work on another shooting, this time at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An, the new resort where I am currently assigned to work. I would love to say yes but the resort was not ready, I referred his proposal to another sister property in the area so that he could still get the work done. Then he said, whenever I need something regarding make-up or taking profile pictures I would need to let him know. I thought it was kind for him to say so but didn’t really care much at that moment.

I guess about 2 months after we finally had the chance to meet again when I was back in Hanoi for my business trip, we met up over a nice dinner at Ming Restaurant of the Pan Pacific Hanoi. He wanted to introduce me to the lead model in one of his recent projects – Dr Kha Le from Trend Smile. And the moment he introduced my name and how we met, I was stunned. He said I was the one who took care of him so well in one of the best shootings that he has ever done. Because of me taking time to introduce to him everything about the Legacy Yen Tu, from the pottery and the meaning of the rice-husk wall so he remembered and the crew was able to capture the best shoots of the property and models.

Then we kept talking the entire evening and ended up having a nice drink at Angelina’s of the Sofitel Legend Metropole. He reminded me that we needed to do a shooting for me so we decided to do in a few days after. And here are the results:

This is the most like-able picture of the entire album. I do not know why people like it so much ☺️
For this picture to be done, it took me no less than 30 times passing the road ☺️
I think I actually look more like an actress in this picture.
Another “celebrity” moment ☺️
I don’t know how they were able to capture this look…
And this too ☺️
I think it’s kind of fun to do this once in a while ☺️

And only once in a while should be enough I guess. But the experience was worthwhile as I do believe that I had the chance to work with one of the best teams in the make-up and styling industry in Vietnam. Kyo Phan is definitely a genuine, fun and talented make-up artist. I was also blessed to know Duc Nhat, his hair stylish and especially Ms Mai Giang who did a great styling job for me on the shooting day. She was so gentle and caring and so humble for her own tittle as Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012. I guess the next level of maturity when you know how to stop taking yourself too seriously.

Here are two of my favorite people: Mai Giang (Left) – Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012 & Kyo Phan (Right) – The super talented make-up Artist 🤗

He is also a fashionista and a great model, too 😇

#From Work: Young & Innocent

#TinyStoryFromWork:

20ccf708b3c84f1105ae1ef66410996b

To me, the worst thing about wearing a uniform and following the same dress code is the fact that you will not be able to tell who is who and you will not be able to tell if he/she’s got a style… Well, I am not going to have a uniform debate by the way, I am just making excuses for not knowing some of our junior colleagues’ names because they all look similar in their uniforms on a regular basis. But there’s one person that I am going to remember his name forever from today.

Where to start? I merely went for a general check up a V.I.P function at the hotel today to ensure the event was under control. Unfortunately, I got to know that it was actually not-so-under-control from the very first few seconds…

“Why?” – I asked the supervisor.

“One of our staff went unconscious for a few minutes in the V.I.P room and when the majority of guests had been seated”.

“Who? and Why?” – I asked while getting a little bit shocked.  I could not think of any suitable reason, did we make he/she work too hard? It was 12:00 and perhaps he/she skipped breakfast? “Was that a he or a she? Do I know him/her?”

“It’s a he”. She replied and continued: “I think you do know him. He had been with us for a long time but he worked as a casual staff. And today was actually the day that he has his officially contract signed with the hotel that makes him so nervous and then it happened… A bit unfortunate that there were so many V.I.Ps in the room but I hope they understood if we tell them the reason”.

“Where is he now? Is he okay?” – I continued.

“He’s right there, working like nothing has happened”. She answered.

“Oh”! I stopped for a second and looked to the right where the boy was standing to welcome the guests.

Yes, I do notice him, this tall and young male Sofitel ambassador who wears glasses, about 20 years old. He’s got a friendly smile with both politeness and shyness. At that very moment, I could not think of anything else – Who could be so mad at him now? And for taking his job too seriously? Hmmm I do not think so… Instead I thought it was cute and innocent of him – and I would say this frankly if and only if this did not make me any less of being a hospitality professional. I have not felt this way for a long time about someone I know. Perhaps it was just for a simple reason that I have met too many people, and yes including myself who often appear in the most ‘damn’ mysterious, confident and …fearless!

This ‘junior’ moment actually made me smile. I hope the boy is all okay now. But since he has taken this career so seriously and to the extent that he got so emotional like that, I hope he will end up being a good person and a good career advancement ahead.

And for me, it would be interesting to know what happened to Miss No-Longer-Afraid…!?

#IWorkInAHotel

W T F

Some of my favourite quotes at all times: After Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week says W-T-F.

I firmly believe that your attitude decides how your day should be. But it does happens that some days are simply worse than the rest of other days, and we shall call it the terrible, horrible, no good and very bad day. I know someone has turned this into movie.

I have a terrible, horrible, no good and very bad week that I called a “W-T-F” week. Obviously, it stands for Wednesday – Thursday and Friday, in case you wondered.

Well I am a hotelier where getting feedback is a fundamental part. I am no longer surprised getting complaints from people so I am not here to talk behind my clients’ back. But I did meet some ugly clients over the past week: not so much about the ugly look (although there are some visually not-so-pretty ones) but mainly about the ugly manners and how they abused us as service providers and abused my colleagues.

Having said that, I don’t know how should I feel, I got angry for a second then I decided that I should not get angry anymore if we all know deep inside, everything happens for a reason: Many people lack of education no matter what age or what degrees that they have at hands; some people are treated the way they are normally treated and that they are too ordinary to know… And that is a terrible, horrible, no good and very very bad consequence…

 

 

Brighter

Following one of my recent conversations with a close friend that I have not seen for quite a while…

Me: You know what, I do not have to wear uniform but as a hotelier, we often choose black as a safe colour for clothing. But recently I have decided to go for some brighter colours…

My friend: Like what?

Me: Grey. Don’t you think it have lifted up my dress-code in a whole new level of brightness?

My friend: Right. Can’t agree more…

tumblr_n4ko8y25e11ssdfcyo1_500.gif

Photo Credit: Internet

Me [thinking]: And do not forget within one single colour like grey, there are even at least 50 Shades…

#business #relativity #greyisnotthedarkest #betweenblackandwhite #fiftyshadesofgrey

Sapa 2016

Well trust me, I know, I know, I was supposed to be sitting and writing 2 motivation letters which would need to be urgently sent to Finland by tomorrow for my MBA applications. But since I not yet have any motivation to write that sort of thing (Well I don’t even think that I actually want that MBA but let’s see…) so I am writing a quick post about of of my recent trips to Sapa.

So finally I could sneak out of the office after months and months of not heading to anywhere new. The trip was pretty quick and simple, just like how I wanted it to be.

The only advice that I can tell you all write now is that you don’t have to do what I do because the way I travel pretty much defines who I am so you do what works well for you.

I knew Sapa was not a huge town – even though it is part of Lao Cao province, which is in fact, one of the largest provinces in Vietnam and famous for having hundreds and hundreds of mountains including the Fansipan – the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia – also known as the Roof of Indochina. I know thousands and thousands of young and old people want to get to the top of the mountain for at least once but for me it might not be the case… I have climbed a few high mountains so not that I am weak, lazy nor having Batophobia (A new word that I have just picked up for those who are afraid of height), I just don’t want to do it here…

For those who travel from Hanoi (like me), you could either travel by coach or by train to Sapa. I wanted to do the train but my nephew and many other friends said it is better if we travel by bus because it is faster and will go direct to Sapa. The train would take longer and only get you to Lao Cai City and you will need to take a one-hour bus to Sapa. I heard there have been a few ‘luxury’ tours by train now which have been operated by Victoria Sapa so that the luxury travellers will have the best of everything… which would be pretty nice to try… I have only travelled by train twice in Vietnam but I must say that I was very happy with the train facilities on my last trip, which was almost a year ago compared to how it was back in 2008.

We had purchased the tickets in advance and got onto the coach at 10PM. Think the name of the transport provider was Camel. This reminds me a lot of the time I travelled by Greyhound or Murray from Sydney to Canberra and vice versa. I consider myself as a super easy-to-be-pleased traveller because I slept almost all the way from Hanoi to Sapa. When I woke up, I heard some people talked about how they got panicked that night when the coach was driving up to the mountain. We got their at around 4:30AM and the bus driver was nice enough (I’m sure this is how they operate the tour) to let us sleep for another 1.5 hours after we reached Sapa. We all know this is good because we can rest a little more (there is absolutely nothing to do at 4:30 in a 5 degrees foggy whether) and so that the driver can rest too after a long hours of driving.

So we made it there – my cousin for the second time but me for the first time. I asked if my cousin was so sure that she wanted to go for the second time and she said it was always different when she travels with me – I am not entirely sure about that…

I like to do it my way, I know. Many friends told me that I do not have to worry about accommodation because I can easily find it anywhere. I will never listen to that advice because firstly, I am a hotelier, I need to experience the service so I would choose carefully where I would like to stay and secondly, I am a female travel, I want to make sure I am safe – so that I can sleep well at night. (I had this experience once when I was so new to Sydney and I was ‘brave’ enough to book a budget hotel at King Cross – Oh tell me about it… For me it was absolutely a terrifying experience right in the first moment I got there. Everything in that place reminds me of the video “We found love” by Rihanna… so with no hesitation I immediately book an #AccorHotels right on the next day… Maybe I am just not the right person for that travel style – I would never be ready for be coming a pack pack-backer…

I know I made the right choice to ensure I have everything on the book. I knew that I would stay at the Hill Station when I am in Sapa so I immediately checked with Soeren, the owner of the Hill Station if the rooms were available on my travel date. He told me the only date he had room available was on January 31. I was like… perfect, so I will take my annual leave on January 31 – I would travel on January 30, as soon as I finish work and I can catch the night coach and get there in the morning of January 31, 2015 and celebrate NYE there and leave Sapa on January 01, 2016 in the afternoon. That should be more than enough for a small town like Sapa anyway.

It was more or less, a little different from what I imagined of The Hill Station and its collections but it is overall a very pleasant experience. I got one of the nicest rooms (All rooms are nice and there are only 3 rooms available) so I consider myself lucky.

Although the whether wasn’t that nice but it was definitely not a big deal for me. I know I can always have fun in all whether conditions. Here are a few things that I would like to list for my trips in Sapa:

  1. Hotels – yes plenty – so don’t worry but don’t be so reckless anyway because if you travel in high season and you don’t want to sleep in the mountain then better get yourself a room before you head to Sapa. It is COLD there 🙂
  2. Food – Yes – I never knew Sapa is famous for FISH (especially Salmon) and wild animals (of course – there are trees and forests everywhere) but please don’t eat them. The funny part that I found was that I did not have food on the streets. There is something about me that I did not noticed so much until I have my dinner booked at U-Sapa. I was having dinner with my cousin and suddenly noticed that we were the only 02 Vietnamese in the dining room. The rest are foreign tourists and yes there is a Vietnamese lady too but she was with her foreign boyfriend. Anyway,  whether they are foreign or not has never been my issue… Could it be the reason that I entered a dining room with full of foreigners? Have I become one of them? Hmmm Still I am just not into street foods especially on rainy days…
  3. Foot massage: It is quite obvious that you can get a local “Dao Do” foot or body massage for no more than $US 3 per half an hour. I wanted to try but we spent too much time for eating and shopping so we completely run out of time for the massage…
  4. Shopping: This is one of the most fascinating experience. I never worried so much of being ripped of here. Who would and who could RIP ME OFF by the way?  Perhaps they can do that on foreigner but please I am Vietnamese. Those Mong kids who try to sell you a 0.5 cent key ring or those ladies (young & old) who try to sell a beautiful necklace for $US 2? And one of the sales lady was just so funny and at the highest level of honesty. She thought that we were students and had no money so just try to lower the prices as much as possible… For that only reason we have come back to her 2 times in a row whenever we need to buy some things and did not bother going to other stores… I must say that I really had good laugh while making a deal with them. I had bought so so many products before I left Sapa but let me guess, it did not cost me more than $US 60 for all the souvenirs, which include 02 of my favourite scarfs; 4 beautiful necklaces; 01 bracelets and over 50 hand embroidery products of all kinds. I don’t know if I should be happy because I’ve got so many products for a good price or I should get upset because what we pay for such beautiful things are so cheap and the human workforce and women are extremely under appreciated and the kids are sent to the market to sell stuff instead of going to school…. IMG_1935.JPGOverall, the experience of Sapa was good. I had a great stay thanks to the hospitality of The Hill Station staff and many other people. Hope to go back there again on a sunny day…

Busy-ness!

I never truly believed when someone said he or she was too busy until I have become addicted to being busy. This is when I’ve realized that it can easily take me 20 hours to reply not-so-urgent texts; it takes days to reply my not too-urgent-emails-because they-can-wait and my Facebook inboxes are full of unread messages…

This is when I’ve also realized that, love/relationship is almost an impossible thing in this modern era. Perhaps the love is still there but we cannot see and hardly ever feel it because everyone of us is so full of our own Busyness. Some told me that he was so busy – I believed him but never truly believed. And then I’ve been becoming more like him. Except for the fact that I don’t live in hotel rooms and I do not hold a platinum membership from any Airline company. Working in the hospitality is tough. Even if I am entitled to work within office hours and only on weekdays, this job is as demanding as a super time stealer and already feel that I am over-loaded. What about you who has such an important job? What if I had to fly 12 times out of 7 days per week? Have I ever wished if I  could travel back in time? I guess not, I am so busy with my own Busyness and the good news is I seem to enjoy it very much. This Busyness has taken all our memories away. I have started to forget things and people and I’ve started to forget you… And I am sorry…

busyness

Life is Magnifique in Hanoi

life isNot too long ago I was in my 20-something crisis. I knew I was. I saw negative sides of things that I encountered on a daily basis with the highest level of disappointment I can get… I found nothing interesting in anything or anybody. That sounded so bad wasn’t that?

I walked along the rainy streets and I knew I had to make a phone call to a friend. 15 minutes later we got settled in one of the coffee shops near by. I asked if he could tell me the truth of how miserable I looked at that time… He was like ‘yeah yeah’ like it doesn’t even matter…and of course the fact that he did not show any sympathies to me at all made me a little angry… Then I decided to stop talking about myself. I saw the sparkles in his eyes and could not help wonder how he had been. I asked why he could be so happy. The answer was quite simple. He said he was happy because he loved all the things that he had been doing… Wasn’t that good?

But still, facing the fact that only him feeling good so it did not make me feel any better. I looked out the window and sighed: “Can you please tell me when this rain’s going to stop? I am so sick of this weather…” I said, with knowing that my friend might have been fed up with me already for ‘un-intentionally’ trying to turning him down… “I am so tired of this city. It’s always either too hot or too cold. And did you notice? The foggy and rainy weather has been like this for 1/4 of the year…” I continued.

Then he began – I think I only waited for this moment to hear his feedback. Because I know this guy will he super direct and straight to my problems.

“What’s happening with you?” He asked. “Are you trying to tell me that I am not acting like who I am? Like a normal me right?” I answered.

“Can’t be truer than that”. He laughed sneakily. I questioned him back: “Hey, I knew you also have a hundred things going on at the same time and you also changed your job last year… Don’t tell me it’s been a smooth process….!?”.

“Of course not… You had no idea how bored and disappointed I was when I had to quit the job. During my last few days at the office, apart from the day-to-day activities that we all have to accomplish, I had done something that I thought it was abnormal. I read through a 500 pages long book about Vietnamese history and now I feel like I have a new profession…”.

We laughed until his face looked a bit more serious again… “I think you should stop looking at the dark sides of everything. Of course you can leave if you don’t like this city anymore but you know more than anyone that there are goods and bads everywhere. Why don’t you look at this city to see our advantage of having seasonality? Other cities in Southeast Asia do not have that and they missed the opportunities to sell seasonal products and services…”.

“Okay!” I smiled and that’s when he knew that he made a clear point to me…

We kept the talking for another 15 minutes later before we greeted goodbye. 3 months later, I called him back and asked how he was doing… I know this is the man that I should be thankful for having him as a friend. And now, talking about seasonality, if you think Hanoi is the only capital city in Southeast Asia that has 4 seasons then it’s time to think again. We don’t just have 4 seasons, we have 12 flower seasons. I brought this idea for an internal presentation at work and received a number of good feedback… Let’s just forget about brand standards for now… I am just in love with the thought of me re-starting to have more of original ideas and finally get back to be my-authentic-self…

Ma Maison Saigon

After almost a year of following all the tweets, I finally made it to the Ma Maison Boutique Hotel Saigon last year on a business – leisure trip (November 2014). By previously knowing that the hotel address will not be easy to find, I did not get freaked out when the taxi driver didn’t even know about Ma Maison when I asked for the direction.

My first impression was with Tam, a 16-18 !? little boy – hotel staff with a friendly innocent smile which definitely made me feel most welcome. He and another hotel staff greeted me at the entrance. They offered me a glass of cold and super sweet – I must say the sweetest glass of passionfruit juice (not because of the sugar but natural passionfruit) that I have drank in my life (So make sure that you will try when you’re there).

11756618_10201020403949593_1901963398_n

The check-in counter

I have heard of the big black and white cat living at the hotel (the hotel owner is a cat person) but I can’t even remember whether I have seen her… It doesn’t matter so much anyway because I am not very much fond of pets or animals and sometimes – oh no most of the times I even get scared of them – black and white (or black or white) cats especially.

The room is super cute – all I can say and I did feel like I was a princess in a Proven style building (I’m talking like I know what I’m talking about… Provence… France… French… :). And the princess was super easy on that day. She stayed in a small little room and in a tiny little bed but since she’s full of vanity so she enjoyed every single moment of that as well as every single piece of furniture and artwork hanging on walls…

11774563_10201010486181655_1190636649_n

11758816_10201010489421736_1800006205_n

11753849_10201010482861572_141369455_n

11774424_10201010487741694_367517505_n

Waking up at Ma Maison was another pleasant part. Of course, there are neither American breakfast nor club benefits. In here I was offered in a super simple way with a very simple breakfast menu of 2-3 items. Well at least they asked me how I would like the egg to be cooked and the egg was much better than many other places that I have been too. I’m sure my Aussie dad Graeme would love it to – He hardly ever complains about anything except for his infamous laptop which takes half an hour to get started. Perhaps the princess was super easy on that day – I do feel there’s more than plenty. If there’s a word to describe my feeling I would say “deja vu” is the one. This is the exact same feeling that I got when I was at Zen Valley Dalat which I don’t often get…

11791679_10201020404309602_488970527_n

By the time having breakfast, I spent some time chatting with Tam, the little boy that I met the day before. I asked if he could tell me the reason that he worked here whilst he is still so young. He said his family is from the South-Western Vietnam or “Mien Tay” is where it is called. His family could not afford to send him to college. Tam said he was lucky because he was the nephew of this hotel owner who brought him here and gave him this job opportunity so that he could work and save money to go to college in the future. His eyes got sparked when I said I was from Hanoi. He said he wanted to work for a hotel in Hanoi one day then greeted me politely before getting back to work. I was looking at his honest face and did not say much.  At the end I could only wish him all the best for his future endeavours…

11774755_10201010485261632_1640820791_n

11721387_10201010490781770_1296461170_n

Living the island

Picture me..

An 18 years old girl who recorded herself as the youngest and the only Vietnamese G.O at Club Med Lindeman Island. 48++ hours of work per day and 6 work days per week and only once per every 2 weeks I took a ferry to go back to the ‘main land’, work was hard but almost a worry-free zone just because there were no targets, no numbers nor any ‘mission impossible’ that was assigned to me at that time. Well, let’s be fair, neither me nor any employers should expect too much from a just turned 18 years old employee but I gotta admit that I had learned so so much from there… Sadly Club Med Lindeman Island was closed down in late 2011 and the property was sold to some Chinese billionaire… Anyway I hope they will turn the island into a new paradise with a generation view point…

Although it only lasted for 6 months on the tropical island but I am so glad that I made it there – it was definitely one of the best 6-months of my entire life to be able to live in one of the greatest places on Earth and meeting some of the most amazing people in the world. My island’s friends are the one-of-a-kind friend in the world: my bestie Phillipa, my Aussie dad Graeme and my favourite handsome English Joe who are always on my side no matter what happens…

GO

Me, 18 years old at Club Med

8

The 8th hole

go2

With my favourite GMs and GOs

38718_1166092409786_3634715_n

The heart shaped island from the WhitSundays, Australia

After All

after allIt’s 11:38 PM now I know I have to go to bed. But it doesn’t stop me anyway from typing a quick post since I have not posted anything on my blog for ages. It’s really been a roller coaster which doesn’t always go up. But I am feeling good right now and I don’t think I should expect for more. I think I’ve done a great job so far. No matter it was a great act or it simply because of who I really was. More than several times I confessed some of my weak moments to some friends of mine. Whenever I say I feel lack of confidence, and I always get the same answer: “If you are not confident of yourself then I don’t think I can find anybody who is”. Well I guess this is a compliment or whatever it is – it’s lifted me up a little bit.

So I’ve been at my third job now after 3 years almost. It’s kind of hard to believe but there’s a tendency that people actually hire me for my personality. Well I don’t know yet how great I am – I am new to many new things – but I guess I will be fine. This is not the first time I have heard of this: All I need to do is to be confident. Sometimes I tend to forget the fact that I am still very young and I will have a lot to to learn and experience… Fingers crossed! Tomorrow’s a brand new Monday! 11:53 PM