314 – University dormitory room

If you ask me a significant life period
 which I miss it the most, enjoy it the most.
I can say that it's the time which I stayed 
in 314, dormitory room of my university.

The dormitory has 2 buildings. The bigger one (A) is for Vietnamese student, the smaller one is for Cambodian and Laotian students. Building A has 5 floors, 1st floor is canteen, 2nd floor has a common room and a small store with rooms for students to live. From 3rd to 5th floor are totally students rooms. We were on 3rd floor.

Each dormitory room has 4 bunk beds which can accommodate 8 students. The students can live there until finish studying. And members of my room changed after someone graduated and left.

The first generation was:

+ Nguyễn Thúy Huyền 05X4
+ Vũ Thu Hà 05X4
+ Tưởng Thị Tú Khuyên 05N1
+ Hồ Quỳnh Trang 04M
+ Hoàng Thị Thanh Mai 04M
+ Nguyễn Thị Dung 04D1
+ Đinh Thị Thao 05X4
+ Trần Thị Thuy 04D1

The second generation was:

+ Tưởng Thị Tú Khuyên 05N1
+ Lê Thùy Linh 05X7
+ Phạm Thu Giang 09K2
+ Nguyễn Phương Anh 09Q2
+ Nguyễn Thúy Huyền 05X4
+ Vũ Thu Hà 05X4
+ Đinh Thị Thao 05X4
+ Nguyễn Thùy Chi 05X7

05X4 means name of the class. 05 = 2005, the year which the student started to study. X = Xây dựng = Construction means construction engineering class. 4 is the number of the class. Besides, N = Nước implies Water engineering,
M = Môi trường implies environmental engineering,
D = Đô thị implies Urban engineering.
K = Kiến trúc means Architecture.
Q = Quy hoạch means Planning.

With a 10,000 students university and a dormitory just accommodate around 550 students, I didn’t have a chance to stay in dormitory in the first 2.5 years, only the last 2.5 years.

I haven’t known my roommates in advance. I didn’t select them and they didn’t select me. I’m so lucky that I met amazing people which made my 2.5 years staying there incredible happy.

I wrote a long diary when I stayed there, I’ll share some here, although many things aren’t translatable.

June 29, 2010:

The day before yesterday, Thao went back to her hometown, yesterday Huyen did and today is Ha. Everyone leave this room no 314 respectively, this dormitory respectively. Then when time arrives, I also have to leave. Knowing that gathering then will separating, but don’t know why not yet far, I already miss it deeply. Maybe same with the quote: “When we stay it’s just a land. When we leave it becomes soul”. I’m aware that once go out of this dormitory, it will be hard to meet 8 people in this place. And every evening, before I go to bed, there will not Thao say: “Bird, let me close the curtain for you to sleep, how can you sleep if it’s so light like this”. Giang won’t say: “You keep silent for Bird to sleep, she will fly to find food tomorrow”. And I won’t shout: “Leave me alone. Let me sleep”. And then there will not Linh Cau sitting on her bed, both typing on her computer and sing the age-old song: “The gloomy fate of a bird”.

(Note: My name is Khuyên, in Vietnamese it has several meanings, one of them is bird, that’s why they called me bird)

Then there won’t be Ha do a weird action, I will shake my head and say: “I’ve not seen anyone like you”. She won’t reply: “Now you see already”. There won’t be Ha sneezing whole day, Huyen and me will count how many time she sneeze. And promise if she sneeze 100 times, will give her a nasal drops asking from school nursing department. (But she never snooze more than 20 times).

It also already far the time which every 7am to 5, the phone of Thao is ringing, and Thao will both wears her slippers and say one among sentences: “I’m coming”, “I’m going down now”, “Wait for me”. And I won’t get her phone to help her to answer. I won’t have chance to see they queue up in front of the mirror in order of Thao -> Hà -> Huyền. There won’t be the “big eye” guy, every time borrow Ha 2000 VND for parking, and the next day will return 20000 VND.  Diep won’t carry “Ha’s son-in-law” to visit, then everyone fighting to carry him. Thao and me won’t debate to see who hate who more.

We won’t go to the night market together, gathering to go somewhere or Van Quan lake. Huyen won’t order jelly yogurt, Ha won’t order passion fruit smoothie, Linh won’t order custard mix yogurt.

Then there won’t be anyone make electricity cut, then have to go to dormitory management room to borrow the stairs to turn on the aptomat. Then not able to turn it on. And need to ask help from a boy.

Then there won’t be a group of boys play Jianzi outside, usually let the shuttlecock fall down into the room.

314 is really my heaven, only in 314 I’m myself.

I will remember the time the whole room awake to watch movie: “Prince turns to Frog”. I will very remember the meals we eat together, anyone contribute something (potluck style), no need to calculate who contribute more, who less.

I remember the time Ha, Chi and me go to school to see political test result. When going back, I went to the main door. The guard asked:

+ Where did you go?

+ I came here to check the political test result.

+ I haven’t seen you get inside. Where did you enter?


+ Ok, go out.

When I got out of the gate, I said:

+ I entered from the dormitory way, I went with 2 others, but they climbed the wall to get out, only me don’t know how to clim, so I get out by this way.

Then I ran.

And I’m so thankful for 314, since 314 were being with me when I’m healthy as well as sick, success and failure. I thank Huyen for the medicine you gave me when I were sick, thank Hà, Thao, Huyền cooked porridge for me, take care of me thank Thao, Trang, Huyền brought me to hospital. Thank Thuy since she’s the first one who helped me about job.

I also need to thank Linh Cẩu since she helped me a lot. Admittedly: she has been very good to me, sometime coddle me, and there were things, without her, I don’t know what to do.

Talk about Linh Cẩu, have to say about her Angel II (brand) motorbike. Fuel meter died, speed meter died, handbrake isn’t available, footbrake doesn’t work, whistle sounds enough for rider to hear, indicator sounds louder than whistle. Sometimes when riding, the vehicle create some sounds which no one knows what is that. The most terrible is if we want to ride it, it takes us at least 15 minutes to start the engine. One time, I tried to start the engine in 15 mins, still not work. Asked a guy to help me. He tried for a while, then told me: “No more gasoline”. I replied: “The fuel meter died”. He didn’t believe, opened to check. There was still gasoline, (and he continued to live). He tried again …

May 8, 2009: Just went to bed for a while, I heard a sound near my bed. Awake, it’s heavy raining, Thao and Huyen are trying their best to … bailing out the water. I joined them to make a dam by rags so the water can’t enter the room. It’s my career.

May 10, 2009: Today there was a fiercely fighting between an insidious mouse and two frail girls. Ha and me closed the back door then fight with the mouse at the balcony. I told her: “Ha, I’m so afraid. I never beaten any mouse before”. She said: “Never beaten but today you have to beat”, sound very strong. Then when the mouse run out, she jumped up, then kicked things, make me don’t know what to do, only stand there and … shout. This mouse is so smart, always hide itself at somewhere hard to find, even entered Trang’s pressure cooker, even plan to jump out. It took long time to kill the mouse.

May 22, 2009: Just morning time, I heard a funny negotiation of Huyen and Ate Mai: “Ate Mai! The situation is that on Monday students of Urban department will submit their graduation project, the printing shops will be very crowded. But I and Hà have to submit steel project explanation. We have printing papers, you have printing machine, our room has electricity …”
Just visited Ha’s blog to read “3 wishes”. She asked me: What would you wish if you have 3 wishes
+ First wish: haven’t to do graduation project, haven’t to do exercises, haven’t to do the exam. 2nd wish: have no idea, never mind. 3rd wishe: have 1000 wishes more.
+ 1000 wishes more, why are you so greedy?.

May 23, 2009:
After a whole night awakening (to study), this morning when Ate Mai woke up, Ha said: “Ate Mai, I’m so pity for you! Try your best, it’s gonna done soon. But when it done, another thing will come”. But Mai just said: “Go away”.
Today Ate Dung asked help from me to hatch some center lines of roads (on her Auto Cad drawing). But Ate Dung, I’m so sorry, just now I dare to say that I hatched very few, but mostly I used pline. Then when you said that I did it very fast, I were ashamed. Luckily after a while of negotiation, I changed from hatch grass to hatch solid. And with hatch solid, using pline will be faster. The center lines in your drawing are both small and long, if I hatched all of them, I would be die (consume lots of time). Because when hatching, the most effort consuming is making boundaries. Using pline isn’t really exact but when you print it, it will look very small, and doesn’t affect much.

Note: hatch and pline are two commands in using Auto Cad.

May 25, 2009: This morning just woke up, I saw lots of sticky tapes on Mai. Since she awoke whole night to stick/glue her drawings. The whole today I haven’t done anything beside helping chị Dung cut, stick, arrange her drawings. This afternoon I felt so sorry for Teacher Sơn! Our group has 14 members but non of us went to meet him. I still keep his book 3 weeks already.

July 07, 2010: These days I have lots of free time, so I think lots of things. Specially I think about 314.
So I continue to write about it. Since I’m afraid that one day, I myself will also forget about it …

I didn’t write about the historical flood of Hanoi last year. There were 3-4 days electric cut and water cut in dormitory. Huyền waded through water to buy a box of instant noodles to save the room out of hunger. Huyền, Hà, chị Trang, chị Mai went to Văn Quán lake to catch fishes, catching is litter, asking for giving is more. Then one evening, chị Mai, Hà and me teased room 416. Then our room is the first room brings all buckets and basins out to catch rain water.

(Background story: We just need to pay for the rent 140,000 VND/person/month by that time. And cooking isn’t allowed in the rooms as regulation. But the dormitory care takers just helped us and let us cook).

Then making chicken rousong, Huyền bought some chicken meat. After getting all meat to make rousong, the bone is used to cook courgette soup, after finish, use the bone to cook porridge.

I also won’t forget that on weekends Huyền, Hà, I and sometimes Thao went to Phùng Khoang market together, to buy foods for whole week. Hà usually buys fishes, and 99% is tench, price is 10,000 to 12,000 per kilo. And if she buys fish, the whole room would know, since she will make bitter sweet and create lots of smoke.

I also won’t forget a meal, there were around 6 people joined, the two who cooked don’t have to wash dishes. Then we played a game to assign people with 4 different tasks.

And it’s end of Laos and Cambodia water festival. They splashed less, Vietnamese students splashed more. On that day, Hà asked me to go to the market with her, she will share with me some fish head soups. Then Hà, em Giang and me went to Văn Yên market. We forgot about the water festival. When we reached Laos and Cambodia dormitory, we saw some people waiting there with buckets full of water. Ha ran fastly to the gate and escaped. Em Giang ran back, escaped. I were in the middle, sometime ran back, sometime ran forward. Finally, being splashed. Decide to wear the wet clothes to the market, since if go back to change, it will be wet again. Hà and me went to market together. When we were on the way, Giang called and told us she was being splashed already. When we came back to the dormitory from market, Ha was about to be splashed, she asked the guy to avoid her head.

Sometime when I ask Hà for a favor, she will say: “Let me see how your attitude is (then I will decide to help or not)”. I will say: “My attitude is good, I haven’t beaten you for long time, I’m waiting for it done then I’ll beat you”

One time the electricity was cut, and more room 414 did something really noisy. Chị Mai and Hà went upstair “to give them a battle” (maybe vice versa), Huyền and me just joined for fun. Chị Mai and Hà just entered the room, haven’t talked anything, one guy at the corner said: “Ghosts from which direction come from?” made me laugh a lot.

The time when we did graduation project together, many students visited our room to ask help from Linh, and we usually have yogurt for all members.

I also won’t forget one time room no 312 and 314 gathered, Room no 312 (8 boys) has lots of plates stolen from canteen, then they gave us some. I still keep one plate until now in my home.

I also won’t forget the common room of dormitory. It normally open by evening time. 7pm – 8pm for the students to watch news, 8pm onwards for students to study on their own. When I study in that atmosphere with others, it’s so effective. Then in football season, many guys stood on the tables to watch football, then beat the table to make sounds. I’m not a fan of football, but in that atmosphere, I’m so excited. And then when Vietnam team won, I hold hands of a girl next to me and we jumping around, even I don’t know who is she.

Our contribution: In the dormitory, our room was the first room have internet connection. Trang was the one who connected with Internet provider, and I were the one who asked permission from University management board and Dormitory Management Board.

I can’t be not mention about people who contribute to our interesting life. Want to send my thank to Dormitory Management Board of Hanoi Architectural University. Thank Tita Mai, Tita Hiền, Tito Bầu, Tito Hòa, Tito Hợi, “boyfriend of Thao” and “close friend Linh Cẩu” which even don’t say, everyone knows who is that … I also want to say sorry to all of you, now I already found parking ticket no 44, and I also found lots of other bicycle parking tickets. I also want to report that: each time when Tet finished, there is a big calamansi tree, I only harvested few of them, the rest other rooms harvested. I also want to report that: previously, when you didn’t allow us to cook, we put our rices, foods, gas pots into bags then brought into the dormitory.

I also want to express my thanks to close friends of 314, people who visited the room the most and brought lots of happiness to the room. Thank chị Vũ Kim Quy, chị Đào Thị Dịu, chị Oanh, chị Linh, anh Phạm Sỹ Bình, anh Ninh Ngọc Kiểu… class 04M, anh Hải, anh Vũ Trọng Cương, chị Nguyễn Châu Loan, chị Huyền, chị Bình class 04D1, chị Thuận lớp 04D2, bạn Hồ Ngọc Minh class 05K4, “together backward” friend of Chi is Giang class 05K7. Thank for members of 05X4, class leader Trần Quốc Việt, bạn Thanh (male) – Thanh (female), bạn Trang, Bảy, Phượng, chị Sinh, chị Điệp, bạn Lợi, Trung, Chi, Ý, “great grandfather of Huyền”,… Thanks to friends of class 05N1: Ánh, Hiền, Huệ, … Thank to Quyên – younger sister of Trang, chị Liên – close friend chị Dung, Hà, Hoài Anh, Trang – close friend of Hà, Nhung – friend of Thao, Hồng, Hương, Hải, Lý – 4 my close friends … And many others which I’m not able to mention all.

Thank anh Hoàng Trọng Tuyên for sometime come over to our room to help me to set up Windows,
repair the computer.

Thank bạn Lê Hải Minh sometimes visit me in the room when I’m sick, lent us lots of movie DVDs, (include Harry Potter).

Thank for all people in dormitory who we can ask help anytime anywhere!

(Note: In Vietnamese chị means older sister or older female, anh means older brother or older male,
em means younger brother/sister or younger one).

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