Sunday, October 31, 2010
The menu was my favourite kind: it existed, it was in English as well as Vietnamese and Korean, it had pictures and it had prices! Most places do not offer this luxury. This was going to be so easy. And it was. Only two things that we tried ordering weren't 'in stock' (tomato juice and octopus sushi).
We ended up ordering 333 Beer, 7Up, a normal type of sushi, fried pork dumplings and salad potato. It was all really good, although next time our goal is to figure out how to order wasabi (well, that's Eric's goal, I do better without the hot food).
And the best part? They are open when we are awake, hungry and not working! Yes, friends, this is much too much to ask at most places. THIS place is open over the entire lunch time (9am-2pm) and open even AFTER we're done teaching (it closes at 10pm). As our students say to us at the end of every class, we said to the owner-waitress as we left: "See you again!"
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
As Karissa has written, we moved to our home for the year a few weeks ago. It is SO NICE to have our own place again! The hotel was okay for the transition, but after a month there, we were ready to have a little more space to live in!
A week before we moved in, we were taken on a tour of the place. It's a 5 story house, with one room on each floor. Not exactly a common design in the states! The first floor was a big empty tile room. The 2nd floor looked like this:
I would post 'before' pics of the 3rd and 4th floors, but they would look exactly the same. The layout of the house was tile room, bedroom, bedroom, bedroom, laundry/balcony. It looked nice, but it was missing some key things...like a kitchen!
Our contract outlines that our housing must include a kitchen. So we chatted with them about what floor we'd like make into a kitchen. We thought the third floor would be best because it has a built in wall desk that we thought could double as a kitchen counter. When we requested this, they landlord talked back and forth with our school rep in Vietnamese for a few minutes before we were told “The 2nd floor has the water pipes to become a kitchen, so they would like to build it here. It will take maybe 10 days.” We left the tour happy to know that we'd soon be moving out of the hotel and wondering exactly what type of kitchen you can build in 10 days.
Five days later, we got a call. “The kitchen is finished, so you will move in tomorrow.” Again, exciting but a little unsettling. What kind of kitchen can you put together in FIVE days??? At training, they stressed the importance of having low expectations. So as we took a taxi to our new home, I tried to picture as basic a kitchen as possible. Hot plate and mini-fridge basic... If we were going to be surprised by the kitchen, we wanted it to be a positive surprise.
So what did we see when we walked in to our new kitchen? A very positive surprise!
Some of the things in these pictures actually came a little later. The fridge and the table/chairs came later that day. And the cabinets were added two weeks later. Needless to say, our low expectations were exceeded by miles! Or maybe kilometers since we're in Asia...
The bed had been taken out of the third floor and some of the furniture that had been on the first floor had been moved up there. We're currently using the third floor as our 'hang out room' and Karissa uses the desk for lesson planning.
Our bedroom is on the fourth floor. This room also has a built in desk, so I use that for lesson planning. We're not the only 5 story building on the street, but we're taller than the buildings across from us so we have a view of the river from the fourth and fifth floors.
The fifth floor is half indoors and half outdoors. Our new washing machine is up there. We still have to hang our clothes to dry, but we can choose if we want to have them indoors or out. Now that the weather is cooling off, we've talked about using the balcony a bit more for hanging out. We don't have any chairs up there yet, but we may be getting some after another pay check or two. It's a pretty cool view of the city up there!
So there it is! Our new home! We're very happy with the accommodations our school found for us. Our landlords are great. We have a great location. And we have air conditioning!
Ever wonder what a typical day looks like? Well, there is variation in our days, just like there is in yours, but here's today for me.
Wake up around 8am, and putter around reading, on Facebook, talking and eating Oreos.
9-10am today I prepared for a B study later today. Extracting the Precious, by Donna Partow.
10-12am - I e-mailed my MIL about some contact lense issues I'm having and ideas for a care package. Read e-mails from people in leadership over me regarding an upcoming visit. Typed up six songs from .pdf to put into EasyW*rship (like powerpoint) later today.
12-12:30 - Boiled some eggs for a tuna salad and ate lunch. Cut open a new type of fruit, one I've never seen in America/Canada and was disappointed by the inside.
12:20-2pm - B Study here, led by V, a friend from France.
2pm-3 - writing this blog and lesson planning
3-4pm - Meeting with KB to enter songs into EasyW*rship and get a mini-tutorial on how the program works
4-5pm - More lesson planning and getting ready for school/work.
5pm-9:20pm - Traveling to and from school, and teaching two classes: Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate
9:30-10:30pm - Eat supper. Either pick up a sandwich (grilled beef and cucumber) at a foodstall or go to Oxygen, an open air restaurant within walking distance of our house
10:30--Reading, Facebook and falling asleep.
That's my Tuesday this week.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Some people can make shadow puppets. Some people can do origami. Since moving to Vietnam, I've discovered that I have a skill not shared by many others...
Vietnam is hot. The first month was incredibly hot. We were sweating in places we'd never sweat before! It's gotten cooler over the past week or two, which means that the highs are now in the 80s instead of the 90s. That may not sound like a huge change, but we can certainly feel the difference! It's still quite humid most days, but now we can take our bikes out for a ride any time of the day without starting to sweat instantly. When we go out, I often bring my backpack with my camera, laptop, or whatever else we need for the trip.
What do you get when you combine heat, humidity, a large Dutch frame, and a backpack? You get Frank, the sweat bunny.
Instead of making shadow puppets, I make sweat animals. I'm not sure how marketable this skill is, but it's good for a laugh.
Thankfully, Frank hasn't been appearing as often since the rainy season started. I'm hoping he goes away for a long time when we get a motorbike!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Our landlords are great.