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  • Linh T. Phung

IRONIES, GRATITUDE, FLOURISH, AND MORE: MY BIG WORDS OF 2019-2020

Updated: Jan 4, 2020



I’ve been thinking of what words can best describe 2019 for me. The first three quarters of the year is already a blur. There you go, BLUR is my first big word with so many things happening in 2019: work, work, work, baby, baby, baby, travel, write, and more!


EDULING (Edu for Education and Ling for Linguistics) is the second word of 2019 because, as a start-up, it has been more consuming than anything else, including my 15-month-old baby, LOL. More importantly, it’s EDUCATION for me in so many ways that I feel so excited about. Through Eduling, I have more freedom to use my ENERGY, ideas, talent, and pluckiness to offer more opportunities to students who want to learn more and teachers who want to teach more. I look forward to going where Eduling will take me!


ACADEMICS (Teaching, Research, Advising, Mentoring, Presentation, and Publication) is pretty much something I have been trying to keep amidst the many competing demands of my day job, which describes me as more of a “non-academic,” teaching, and administrative staff. One comment that my spouse made as he listened to my struggles that has remained in my mind is “What are you? You confuse the “bleep” out of other people, trying to do many things.” My answer for now is that I have to, so that there are still doors open for me to go into different directions. But when would you have to focus on something much more intensely for better success?


IRONIES is the word that is stuck with me to describe an aspect of my work that has gone so out of proportion that it has become the only prominent word in my mind (although there are less benign versions of the word). The bright side is that I realize the dichotomy of things. Going above and beyond is not necessarily a good thing. An overused strength is a weakness. There’s a limit to what you can push others to do before your energy and good ideas cause you more trouble than what they are worth. And there’s PIVOTING from a dilemma as you feel the relief of letting something go and creating something new.


Finally, the story of US as a family. With my now 15-month-old super baby, who has been sleeping, eating, and growing so well, the year was filled with JOY, AMUSEMENT, SMILES, LAUGHTER, LOVE, LOVELINESS, and exponential GROWTH, not to count the many MEMORIES with Hallie’s grandparents on both sides, who came to visit and also stay to help. Of course, there have been COLDs shared between mother and daughter, too.


The big word here is our utmost GRATITUDE for having HALLIE in our life to grow up with. Hallie brought me, personally, a greater focus on languages, literacy, and development in its multiple dimensions. It feels as if I got a second childhood, living vicariously through my baby. We are enjoying our time together every day, but also can’t wait to see her continue to grow in the new year and many years to come.


As 2020 is approaching, there’s only one word that I can think of – FLOURISHING – like a flower blooming most beautifully thanks to the soil, water, and sunshine and its ability to bend gracefully with the wind. Perhaps, all of the words of 2019 will also be true for the New Year!

Happy New Year and Decade to all!!

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