Saturday, March 17, 2012

A few pictures from Mui Ne...

and I promise to write more about my trip soon. Just a little background on this. My friend Aubrey came to visit and I took a day off to visit somewhere in Vietnam with her and we ended up in Mui Ne.
Read about Mui Ne here.



Friday, March 16, 2012

My day...

Today has been an amazing day. It's not very typical but now that I know it's there I aim to make it so.

Aubrey woke me up at 7am this morning because we had a few things we wanted to before they left. Their flights were at 11:30am and we didn't have much time before they had to check in so we headed out pretty early. Early on Cao Đạt is pretty amazing. There are so many things that happen on our street in the morning. For example, there are so many more street food vendors. They all serve breakfast, some form of noodle soup, and there are so many Vietnamese people who stop for a bite on their way to work. Taxi drivers who'd rather sit and eat than accept a fare. Women in their beautiful Ao Dai's on their way to work. Xeom drivers who would gladly throw away their food in order to take you somewhere but fight with you while you negotiate a price. AND..and...a market in a nearby hem. It's amazing. There are women selling vegetables, fruits, fresh meat and cured meat, fresh fish, squid, shrimp, clothes, dishware, lacquerware. It's pretty amazing. What's even more amazing is how cheap everything is. I know I constantly say this but my mind was blown today. I bought cucumbers, a dozen limes, zucchini, parsley, chives, AND an entire red snapper. It was swimming around miserably in a tiny tank with 4 other fish so I decided to rescue it from its misery and eat it. It was delicious. For $2usd they cleaned and cut it for me, after they saw me visibly freak out when handed a freshly bashed (yes they bashed it's head to kill it) fish. Helen and I spent the entire day eating fish and watching movies. It was so simple and relaxing.

Update: As of today Monday, March 19, I'm even more in love with this hem. I took Helen there this morning. We had Bun Cha Hanoi, which is Hanoi style vermicelli with grilled pork, for breakfast. Normally each part of the dish is served in its own bowl but at a street food stand its easier to put it all in one bowl. She also served it with a cha gio (fried spring rolls with pork and seafood) and I thought Helen might die of happiness. I wasn't AS happy only because we sat on the street (almost literally because the stools were so low to the ground) and there was barely any room for my legs and I kept thinking about my pins and needles. Other than that this morning was fantastic. I bought another red snapper and a pork loin along with some carilla (bitter melon). The carilla is an entire meals worth and it was only 2000VND. I can't even be bothered to do the math to convert it to USD.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fridays are not as good as Mondays.

Picking up Aubrey Stephens from the airport, eating Burger King tater tots for the first time in months, taking a midday nap, getting a mani/pedi, taking passport photos that make me look like a model, eating green mangoes, eating phở gà, going to Ben Thanh market to see Korean tourists, eating delicious pastries at Boulangerie Patisserie, followed up by once again impressing my friends with my awesome apartment is how I spent my day. 

(Yes, I just noticed that I ate a lot of crap today.)

Why are Fridays not as good as Mondays? This is not a normal Friday. I got lucky this weekend because I have an end of course party, a review for a mid-course test and then then test on the following day so it's a pretty light weekend for me. Otherwise I would have spent all afternoon indoors and lamenting the fact that I can't just show up to school and plan a lesson right then and there because I'm not superteacher. Well, not yet anyways. :)

Monday's are better because the weekend is FINALLY over and I can spend it doing whatever I want to do, which is usually nothing. Which is always better at the pool. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The one where I catch you up on my life...

As I lay here in my bed while waiting for the roomies to get ready for movie night I feel pressure, from the guilt over not writing as much as I should, to write a new post.
Except I have nothing new to write about. Well there are new things in my life, but they're not that interesting. Unfortunately you're going to be subjected to

1) Helen and I have been obsessed with everything Korean lately. Well, I've been that way for ages and I've gotten her hooked on it. Which is semi-unfortunate because we're both 'in love' with the same actor, which leads to some really funny trash talking. For example, we're both so obsessed that we can both be found watching Korean pop music videos on the music channel at any time of the day or night. Or be found blasting K-pop from our laptops in our bedrooms. (Currently playing: The Boys by Girls Generation.) We finally finished a series that has been taking over our lives and have consequently ruined us for future relationships. I mean, yes we know guys like most likely don't exist in real life but does that deter us from making plans to move to Seoul, SK in the very near future? Nope. I'm actually glad its finished because it means we can start living life again AND move onto another, even more awesome series. (I know, I haven't learned my lesson.)

2) My friend Aubrey is coming to visit this Friday. I'm going to pick her up from the airport, spend all day getting massages, mani/pedi's, the most delicious Phổ ever...generally the good things that make me love living here. Next week I'm trying to convince her to do something else in Vietnam besides Saigon and Ha Long Bay because I think she needs more of an adventure. Maybe we'll do a two day Me Kong Delta tour. Can't wait!

3) I took a day off in March and my roommate Helen and I are planning a trip to Phu Quoc island and I'm SO excited for it. Beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, lounging on the beach all day, relaxing, and finally getting to finish The Historian...what's not to love? 

4) Our company recently built a new building and Centre 1 (my centre and currently the largest centre - 90+ teachers) and Centre 3 (the centre where I did my CELTA certification course) are going to merge to make one massive centre. I already don't know half the teachers at my centre and I'm really nervous about the move because I'm behind on hours, since I didn't receive a full schedule until after being there for a month, and I'm afraid that somehow things won't work out in the new centre (schedule wise) for new teachers.

5) That being said, I've signed up for summer school. It's intense because the classes are only a couple weeks long instead of being several months and you have less free time in which to plan more classes. This is in addition to your regular schedule. I don't really want to do it but I signed up for it so I can make my hours up. Hopefully, I can start working my way to overtime hours. Cross my fingers. I know that  back home I would work 40+ hours in a week and here I only work 80 hours in a month but somehow it's more intense here. Plus I'm still getting a feel for teaching, I'm on my feet constantly, the kids make me way more mentally wary than any crazy DAR president ever could and the pollution (and kids sneezing directly into my mouth) have me constantly sick. It's actually like one massive cold that never goes away.

6) While teaching my jumpies how to say 'please' I had two of the sneeze in my face and into my open mouth. It took everything I had not to throw up on them. The sound that the P makes is really difficult for them because 1) they can't differentiate between B, P and F, 2) they don't really have that sound in Vietnamese and 3) the combination P and L consonant sounds are really difficult for their baby mouths to make. The easiest way to teach them is to have them stand directly in front of me, watch my mouth as I form the sounds and have them mimic me. Pro: It works every time because once they see how to shape their mouths the sounds follow. Con: They're close enough to sneeze into my open mouth. So yep I'm sick...again...because they're kids and they're always sick.

7) Had my first personal trainer session yesterday and so far, so good. I'm going to continue working the machines because i really want to tone my upper body but I'm definitely continuing kickboxing because it's as close to Krav Maga as I can get. Plus, it's super fun. My boss does it on Thursdays and we're becoming friendly, which is awesome, because he seems less 'boss-like' at work. In a good way because he's quite an intimidating guy. Plus, who wouldn't like to brag that they can beat up on their boss? :D

::whew:: That was a mouthful. I'm glad there was a lot to write about.