Saturday, October 29, 2011

My first class ever!

And I got presents. Sure it was probably meant for their regular teacher since I'm a cover teacher. Okay. it was most definitely meant for her. But the TA brought me the lychee and said "it's a gift for you from one of the parents", so I accepted it.

It was a pretty awesome first day. One of the little girls hugged me and said "Awww teacha's fat." Ya. They say stuff like that. I mean its true but they're just very...forthcoming with the things they say and they're not mean about it. She was hugging me and trying stand next to me in our picture and just said it.

Ready for my first day!


Friday, October 28, 2011

My first day as a teacher!

Class starts in two hours and I've already been up for two hours. Thank God I only have one class today and after I plan tomorrow's class I can come home. I woke up because I was hungry and then couldn't go back to sleep. For once I didn't have stress dreams or nightmares like I normally do before a huge event that I can't stop thinking about. I had good dreams. I'm nervous, which is normal I think, but mostly excited. The class I have today and tomorrow and next weekend is a cover class. They're Juniors at the 3rd level which means they're between the ages of 7-9 but will know more English. We call them J3A's. Meaning Juniors, 3rd level, first half of the book. B's are the second half of the book. My permanent class starts on Tuesday and they are my J4B's, but there are only three classes left. So my first class is a revision, my penultimate class is an exam and the final class is a party. If only they could all be that easy. :) I definitely got lucky with my schedule. I'm slowly being eased in and I had a full week of induction. Most of my mates from my CELTA course who accepted jobs with ILA were thrown into the deep end and told to swim. (Side note: Induction week is where they acclimatize you to the school, it's procedures, location of materials, books, games, stickers (super important), etc in the centre.) I'm at Centre 1 in District 3, which is the largest centre that ILA has. There are A LOT of teachers there and luckily 3 out of my 4 future roommates are also there. You'll 'meet' them in a later blog post. 
My alarm just went off letting me know that I should start moving about but since it only takes me 10 minutes to brush my teeth, do my makeup and get dressed I might be lazy and lay in bed for another 10 minutes. I'll then pack my bags, which are kinda already packed, and then get some breakfast. I definitely feel like a kid on the first day of school. :D As long as I'm at school by 6:30 then it's okay. That should give me enough time to snag materials before they disappear for the day, print my worksheets and games for the day and then prepare the room. Or work out any last minute nerves with a breathing exercise designed for the students and to eat up time but to help me relax. 
The second alarm is about to go off so I'll end this now by saying that even though picking up and moving to Vietnam may have seemed like the most drug-induced, insane thing I could have done, it was also one of my best moves. Sure bad things have happened but they could have been worse and more good things have happened since then. The Vietnamese people are awesome, my friends are awesome, my support system is awesome and life is generally awesome here. Hopefully I can soon add "my job is awesome" to that list.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali

It's always strange and a little overwhelming to spend holidays alone while you're away from home. Overwhelming in terms of feeling homesick and wanting certain things that you only get when you're at home. It wasn't as bad when I was away at school because I was still in the USA and I had a car and people spoke English and I knew where to find the things that I wanted. Vietnam obviously does/has none of those. Yet it's not as bad as I thought it would be. There's a vegetarian restaurant near my guesthouse so I didn't starve over the past couple of days. I managed to get home in time to shower and get everything set up. I'm sad I didn't have incense or a candle to light because I had no idea where to find those things or the time to search for them. Also, I started walking again on Monday and that was also the start of induction week at ILA. I'll write about that in a later post. 
I'm lucky that I'm living in guesthouse because there's a girl, Mai, who cleans the rooms. So I arrived home at 5:30 to a clean room. I showered, found clean and appropriate clothes, found a Mahalaxmi Aarti on YouTube, figured out which direction was east and settled in. I sang along to the Aarti, said a prayer and that's how I celebrated my Diwali. I also have some Vanilla Coffee candy and that was my bit of sweet for the evening. I had pastry in my room but I figured there's egg in there so I skipped that.
Have a Happy Diwali everyone! I'm off to dinner! Promise to take pictures of the amazing things I'm gonna eat. :D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sing this to the tune of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer...

...and in case you don't know the tune here's the song so you can acquaint yourself. Although, if you don't know the tune I seriously have to ask which rock have you been living under for the past three decades.

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Nadine got run over by a motorbike
Walking to the salon after her last TP
You'll say there's no such as thing motorbikes
But you haven't seen Saigon and the Vietnamese

Okay, it's not the most brilliant thing I've ever written but I think it's pretty darn funny. Enjoy!

(Many thanks to Kat H. for the inspiration.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Early explorers...

As a Historian in Training, or a HIT as I like to call myself, I've always been fascinated with stories of the past. Have you ever wondered who those brave men were who were the first to sail the ocean blue? People who dared to think outside the box and challenge the known world? What pushed these people to travel into the unknown and discover new lands? What kept them going when fear took over as they were traipsing through the jungles infested with unknown diseases and wild animals looking for their next meal? I have no idea. An entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit maybe? Maybe a fierce determination to bring honor to their homeland? Maybe a thirst for riches and untold fortunes? All I know is that after traveling down the Mekong River on the high speed hydrofoil this past week and seeing the dense jungle that lined the river banks, I could never be one of those early explorers. No matter how tough I am (and I am tough, mom) I couldn't be the first one to discover a place. I more of a 'have someone else discover it for me and then help them start a colony perhaps after a suitable amount of time had passed' type girl. Also, I just saw the first two episodes of Off The Map, a show about 3 young doctors who go to the jungles of South America to work at a free clinic there. One of the challenges they face is a 12-foot anaconda who attacks a nature photographer. Blech! I couldn't even look at the screen.
Anyway, these are all thoughts I had on my way down to Vung Tau to relax on the beach. Thank you to those early explorers who figured out which tributaries on the Mekong Delta led to the coast and that fantastic beach town. Now Vung Tau is definitely not the best beach I've been to. There are no white sands and turquoise waters, Instead there a rocky and shell filled beach and the water was just clear enough to see if a shark was going to attack me. After all it is the South China Sea and there are about 110 different varieties of sharks or so says the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Despite all of it's obvious lack of beauty I had so much fun. The ride down on the hydrofoil was pretty insane . I'd heard way too many horror stories about it but we went to and fro without any problems. I slept and sweat the entire way down because I didn't realise I could poke my head outside. I took advantage of it on the way back though. I now know why dogs stick their heads out the window in the car. The wind rushing through my hair as we sailed down the river was exhilarating.
Upon arriving, like the old pros that we've become, we ignored all the cries of "TAXI" and headed straight for a taxi service that we trusted. I handed the address to the driver and off we went. In comparison to Saigon, Vung Tau was quiet. To be honest Vung Tau seems like it's always quiet. Getting away from the insanity that is Saigon was so necessary. Vung Tau has wide, clean roads that has absolutely NO traffic on it. My favorite joke of the trip was "Oh man we'd better cross the road quickly before that motorbike 5 miles away gets here."
Not only did I love the roads but I loved the beach and the water temperature, I loved the mini crabs running everywhere, I loved the mysterious island not too far off the coast, I loved the Statue of Jesus on top of Mount Nho even if I did have to climb 133 steep, not evenly built stairs to get there, I loved the little song that the ice cream carts played, I loved sitting on the beach chairs while the water rushed over my feet during high tide, I loved watching the bridal photo shoot during sunset, I loved walking on the beach in the rain. I'm a true nature's child and and feel happiest when I'm near water. I'm seriously contemplating moving to Vung Tau because ILA has a training centre there. If it's in a slightly busier area with better tasting food I'd seriously contemplate it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I know I should...

...but I'm too tired. Sounds like the story of my life. I know I should get up and go to the pharmacy, but I'm too tired. I know I should eat lunch, but I'm too tired. I know I should write a blog post about the beach before I never ever do, but I'm too tired. So rather than do what I think I should do I'm just going to do the easiest thing. I'm going tell you what I'm going to do in the next 30 minutes. It's thirty seven past midnight. Before I conk out I'm going to clean my infected wound again (I'm finally getting it lanced tomorrow), then I'm going to eat all three of the mango's I bought earlier (FOR 1USD!) and then I'm going to watch some Korean pop videos before I pass out. Try to contain your excitement folks. 

ALSO!!!! I found City Hunter online. It's the Korean drama I was in the middle of watching before I left the States and due to the lack of international copyright laws in Vietnam I'm unable to access so I was left stranded in the middle of a REALLY good story line. However a few days ago inspiration struck and I searched for it on YouTube. Lo and behold, some generous soul spent all their time uploading the entire series online. I LOVE IT, even if each video is in increments of 15 minutes. Sorry, random and no one cares but it's the little things in life that make you happy and right now I need everything I can get.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vung Tau...

Just got back from Vung Tau. Will post something infinitely longer (sorry) later but as the internet's being so spotty lately I've decided to just post a few teaser pictures. 

Beginning of the trip!
 The Jesus Statue. Getting up there was kinda like what walking to heaven would be like.
 The mysterious island that I really, really wanted to find out more about.
 Good words of advice.
Kind of a rocky beach but such it reminded me so much of Trinidad that I couldn't help but love it.
 HUGEEEEEEEE jelly fish. Just in case you couldn't tell.
 Dragons guarding the entrance to the temple.
 Picture with the mysterious island! Halfway to heav...ahem...the Jesus statue.
Stairway to heaven
 A billion stairs later.
 View from the top!
Beautiful winding roads.
 The Mysterious Island at night!
 Photo shoot on the beach. T'was so cool!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Freak out much...

As great as my room is it does have its downsides. First, my refrigerator makes the MOST annoying noise all night long. I could write an entire book on how annoying this refrigerator is but I'll digress. I walked into my room today and smelled a burning smell which immediately sent me into a tizzy. My first thought was "Oh god, I can't take anything else." I went to each plug in the room and sniffed it. I turned off all my appliances and left it for a while but the burning smell continued. Finally I decided to open my balcony doors and check to see if the smell was coming from outside. Genius! I could see the flames from the can right outside my window. I'm not sure what the point of the burning cans are because I see them everywhere but there they are. There's stuff, in cans, burning merrily away. I used to think it was trash but there's a pretty nice odor to it so I had to rethink that. Unless it is trash and there's something wrong with me? Who knows because that's probably true too.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I have a job...

Well technically I have a job offer which I still have to accept but I'm pretty sure I'll accept it. I mean it's a full time position with the same school I did my CELTA with. I get a sign-on bonus, one month's paid vacation, a pretty good salary and the most important thing of all, health insurance. God, I'm excited about health insurance. After the last post I'm sure you all realise how important it is that I have something.
I have a one week induction workshop starting on the 17th of October and I officially start working on the 22nd of October so I have a few weeks to find an apartment and maybe travel if I want. Ha, who am I kidding? I definitely want to travel. I'll probably stick to Vietnam for the time being. I'm thinking a nice beach town for a few days.
Other than that I don't have much to report. I've just been sleeping a lot lately. Trying to help my body heal faster. I think one of the wounds might be infected so I'm definitely going to see a doctor tomorrow. I'm not taking any risks. Especially in Vietnam.
That's all for now folks. I hope you all are doing well on your side of the world. Miss you all but not too much so don't worry.