San Jose, CaliforniaThis is the first of several blogs on an adventure I am about to take with several of my Intel colleagues, as part of the Intel Educational Services Corps. (See the Introduction blog of the IESC from Julie Clugage here.) I wanted to capture some of my thoughts up to now, as I know there will be many new ones competing for my mental bandwidth in the next few days. I have called it the Opportunity of a Lifetime. Where else could I have a chance to do something for less fortunate people in another part of the world, and still be an Intel employee? I have enjoyed volunteering at Intel, so much so that Rita Holiday and I are on a first name basis. When word of the chance to teach orphans in Vietnam came into my Outlook Inbox, I quickly completed the application process. I emphasized my passion for technology, teaching, and volunteering. Having been an Intel employee for almost 22 years, and being part of the startup and closing of D2, I was hoping something new would come my way, as the Jobs Online process wasn’t leading to much. I was thrilled to learn I would be part of the US team, including two other employees from F12: Todd Carroll and Sovinti Johnson. We will be joined by three Intel Vietnam employees: Thi Kim Nguyen, Trang Nguyen, and Nga Nguyen. (They will obviously be a big help in helping translate the lessons among other things.) The Journey begins tomorrow, Labor Day in the US, where my job will be to get to SFO, meet up with Todd and Sovinti, board a non-stop United Airlines 747 to Hong Kong, and change to another flight to Ho Chi Minh City two hours later. We will get in around 10PM local time on Tuesday. Besides the fun part of teaching others, I hope to take advantage of the very types of modern day internet tools to share my experience with my friends, family, and colleagues back home. I enjoy writing, especially about new things that I experience. I hope to bring some of the fun, adventure, and feelings of a part of the world I have never really seen other than those nightly flashes on the news that most of us Baby Boomers experienced during the 60’s and 70’s. Vietnam is a very much a mystery to me, so to help ramp up my understanding of the country, I did what many people would do. I “Googled” travel sites about Vietnam, bought a phrase book, got shots (Hepatitus A, B, Flu, and Tetanus), armed myself with mosquito repellent, picked up a prescription for Tamiflu just in case I get the H1N1 flu, and generally tried to familiarize myself as best I could in a limited amount of time. Our team’s first official business was having a face to face in Santa Clara WW35, with Todd and Sovinti on site, and the three ladies from Vietnam on the bridge. This of course necessitated meeting late in the day to accommodate the time difference. Our two days were filled with hands-on practice with the “clamshell” version of the Classmate PC pictured here (www.classmatepc.com), reviewing the logistics, getting a little cultural training (e.g. showing the bottoms of your feet to others is not a good thing), and developing lesson plans. Thanks to Julie Clugage, Joya Chatterjee, and Eric Gardner for the materials. We also got some insight on what it means to blog at Intel, as this is a first for me. Steve Johnson also had some great ideas on how to help get things rolling. So now, I am down to the last day at home, packing and weighing bags, checking to see if I remembered everything, and figuring out the best way to get to SFO tomorrow without paying $14 a day for parking. A few more things to do around the house on this beautiful day, and off we go! Next stop: Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, as we used to call it.
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