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Central Vermont Adult Basic Education, Inc.

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Montpelier Learning Center

Featured Student Writing

Jenny Bell

I am Jenny Kiatvorakun Bell.  I was born in Bangkok, Thailand.   I had a cosmetic business in my country.  I have a degree in chemistry from the University of Churalungkun in Bangkok, but language was a barrier to working in that field here in Vermont.     My husband, Michael, brought me to CVABE in early 2006 and soon thereafter I began working with Edsel and Jean Hughes as my tutors.  They have brought my English speaking skills to a level where I no longer need to concentrate on them.   I am beginning to concentrate more on grammar and writing.  I have earned my Vermont driver’s license, and I am studying for my citizenship exam, which I can take at the end of this year.   I love living in Vermont.

On Friday, July 17, Edsel Hughes unexpectedly died.  It was one of the biggest losses of my life.   I loved him as a father, and had become an actual member of his family.   He had been so kind and generous to me.  He was the most brilliant person I ever met.  He could discuss with me anything I was curious about.  I am going to miss him so much, and he will be in my heart forever. 

Jenny Edsel and Jean

Jenny, Edsel, and Jean

Jenny in Thailand

My Trip Back to Thailand
A Journal by Jenny Bell

Feb. 6, 2009:  Today I am going to Thailand to visit my family. I am so excited to be seeing them.  I have not seen them for almost 2 years—since 4/07.
Feb. 7: I will be on the plane all night flying from LAX to Taipei. It takes about 22 hours. I cannot sleep at all. I do not sleep easily.
Feb. 8: I arrive at Taipei at 6:05 a.m. (local time). I will leave Taipei at 9:30 a.m. and arrive at BKK (Bangkok) at about 12:30 p.m. The time changes in every country I visit because the time zone changes. Thailand is earlier than Vermont by about 12 hours. When I arrive in BKK on 2/8/09 at 12:30 p.m., it is 12:30 a.m. on 2/7/09 in Vermont. I am very tired. I will stay at my parents’ house. The weather here is very hot and humid—it’s about 95 F in the daytime and at night about 80F.
Feb. 10:  My dad cooks food for me in the morning. He is a good cook. He cooks chicken ginger soup and stir-fry mixed vegetables. He also cooks Tom Yum shrimp with lemongrass, lemon juice and fresh chilies. Those are my favorite dishes.
Feb. 11:  I go to visit my friends and have a supper. We have Japanese food. I love Japanese food, especially seaweed salad and pink salmon sushi.
Feb. 14:  My brother brings me to visit my tenant who is renting my house.  She is British. She has rented my house since October of 2007.
Feb. 18:  My parents and I go to Phattaya.  We have a condominium there.  We love it very much. It has a private beach. It is windy and has fresh air.
Feb. 19:  I get up early and walk on the long beach

Feb. 20:  We eat seafood every day. It is fresh here and not expensive. Phattaya has a fisherman’s dock and a market to purchase fresh seafood.
Feb. 22:  We swim every day.
Feb. 23: The weather in Phattaya is nice in this month. It is not too hot. It’s about 73-82F and sunny. My dad swims in the sea morning every morning and evening. He said he feels healthy. He is 75 years old and my mom is 68.
Feb. 25: I swim in the sea. While I swim, 20-30 baby fish are flying back and forth about my face. I love this time of the year because we have good weather and always have flying fish swim with us.
Feb. 26: Phattaya at night comes to life. The people from many countries like Phattaya. The night life starts about 8 p.m. and lasts until 6 a.m. We like to drive the car and look around at all the places. Many people hang around in the restaurants, bars and walk on the street.
March 1: We go back to Bangkok in the evening. The weather here is hotter than Phattaya. April is the hottest month. We have a “splash” water festival on April 13 which is the Thai New Year.
March 3: I go to Chinatown in Bangkok. I buy gold jewelry  and dried shintake mushrooms, Box Thorn Fruit and dried shrimp to bring back to Vermont.
March 5: I go shopping with my friend. We shop for clothes and shoes.
March 6, 7: I have some lunch with my friend. I have many friends and I try to meet them as often as I can by going shopping, having lunch or dinner with them.
March 8: I pack the baggage to go back to U.S.A. The weather is very hot. It is about 37C (99F). I sweat all the time. I miss Vermont I want to go home. I miss my friends, especially Jean and Edsel Hughes, my tutors. We have a family party in the evening. I am going to miss my family here.
March 9: I wake up at 4:30 a.m. I go to the airport at 5:30. The plane departure time is 8:30. I arrive LAX at 1:40 p.m. and wait until 11:40 p.m. to get the flight to Chicago. It takes 5 hours to Chicago. I wait 1.30 hours before getting a flight to Washington, D.C.  From there it is about 3.5 hours to Burlington. I did not get enough sleep. I feel dizzy and tired and my legs are very sore.  Finally I arrive home at 3:30 p.m. on March 10. It’s nice to be home! It took about 44 hours to get here!! (Actually, it is not that long a trip but I used a frequent flyer free ticket which makes it longer). I am exhausted.


My First American Wedding
by Yiyuan Wang

Last Saturday I was invited to a wedding ceremony by a friend who is from our church in Burlington. I was so excited about this wedding, not only because it was my first American wedding, but also the wedding was a Christian church wedding. It was a really good chance for me to know more about American churches and western culture.
Actually Marcie and Kelly had already told me lots of things and rules about church weddings, so I was pretty confident and couldn’t wait to find out what they told me.

I wore my yellow fancy skirt, necklace and shoes which I think it was suitable for going to a formal wedding. “You look great!” everybody in the wedding said to me. But that day I still thought the most beautiful and charming woman was the bride.


The wedding was going very well. Everyone was happy and satisfied. I felt a little bit strange about those black dresses which the bridesmaids wore. They looked great and graceful, but I still thought if they got dressed in pink or purple, it would have been perfect!

I really love that sentence which the minister said during the wedding:  Why do you choose this woman/man to be your wife or husband from this whole world, among so many people? She/he is the right person for you! It’s kind of romantic!  But I still couldn’t help thinking if every couple could follow their vows which they said in their wedding: for richer or poorer, sickness or health in future… I couldn’t help thinking how many people don’t remember what they said in the wedding ceremony when they quarrel with  each other so frequently just because some tiny things… Do they feel regretful when they plan to divorce…?

Someone said marriage is also a kind of career, it needs you take care of it like a business. It’s not hard to be honest and kind to your wife and husband; but it’s hard to be always honest and kind!

I couldn’t help wondering is the wedding ceremony really important, should it be a luxury? Probably most people can’t clearly remember what the wedding dressing looks like on the next few days. If you think only a luxury wedding ceremony can make you feel happy, you can have it if you can afford it; or if you just want to have a honeymoon or small party, it still sounds great! Happiness is more important than wedding ceremony!

A Chinese proverb says: Happiness like that pair of shoes you wear, whether it fits you or not, you are happy or not, no one knows except you!

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