Friday, August 13, 2010

A Full Month and a Crazy Week

by Eric

Training is done! We have our final commissioning service Sunday morning, but other than that, it's time to pack up and get ready for Vietnam! We fly out Tuesday morning.

It's been a wild month. The first few weeks of training are designed to be intense. Someone referred to it as the 'Toothpaste Time'... What comes out when you get squeezed?
Our schedule was intense:
7:30 Breakfast
8:00 Discussion groups about the day's topic
9:00 TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Training
10:30 Continuation of TEFL stuff, but split into regional groups to learn about teaching in Vietnam
12:00 Lunch and a break
1:30 Large group session on the other aspects of life overseas. Team dynamics, dealing with emotions, conflict, depression, etc.
2:30 Language and culture. Preparing for the specifics of life in Vietnam and learning some language cornerstones and survival phrases for our first few weeks.
4:00 Practicum prep. Four nights a week, we teach a group of Chinese Americans. We find out who is teaching in the afternoon and then those who are teaching have about an hour and a half to get a lesson prepared
5:30 Supper
6:15 Leave for practicum
9:15 Get back debrief with your city/team
10:00 Done for the day. (Unless we have homework)

Things slowed down a bit in the third week, and most people had a less eventful week four. But we're not like most people...

This last week had a lot of surprise twists and turns for Karissa and me. We started the week figuring we'd be teaching in Ho Chi Minh City at an English center and that there would be another team of two in the city with us. Unfortunately our school backed out on the contract and our director had to start checking out other options for us. For the next day or two, it looked like we may be teaching at a high school/middle school in HCMC. But once we started finding out more details about the school and the teaching schedule, that option started to look less and less appealing. After that, there was the potential of working at a school in a sister-city of HCMC. But our director isn't familiar with the school and agreeing to work at a school and live in a place you've never seen isn't a wise thing to do. Currently, our in country director is pursuing a fairly solid lead in a different city where we have teachers serving.

So yeah, it's been a challenging week. It's tricky. I feel okay when things are unknown, but it's been hard to deal with the changes. As things were unfolding, I'd let myself think "We're probably going to be teaching in _____." The first change was a bummer because we really liked the situation we had in HCMC. But you roll with it and you pick out the positives of the new situation and think "This won't be so bad. In fact, I kinda like this." Then the situation changes again. And it's a bummer again because you had just found things you liked about that possibility. So again, you look at the next possibility, find the positives, and think "This won't be so bad..." And then it changes again.

The best thing is that the changing situation has kept us dependent on Him. We've joked saying, 'I thought we were flexible before!' With all the changes, it has been an emotionally draining week. But we still have a peace about the whole situation. We're not sure where we're going to end up, but we know He has a plan for us! We know we'll keep doing our best to follow that plan. And we know we're flying out on Tuesday!

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