Friday, July 26, 2013

He's got a Rolling Stones Tee but he only knows one song. They think they're from the 60s but they were born in 1991.

July has been the month for big decisions. I am now biting the bullet and officially staying here until the first day of June next year. Ten more months in Vietnam. Staying until next year rather than leaving in December is the most practical decision. I'm no longer in my 'early twenties' so it's time to act like a grown up. I am really lucky in my job: I adore the kids, my boss and colleagues are great, and it's usually a pretty laid back workplace. That's reason enough to stay until June.

I have actually started to feel a bit more comfortable here lately; I've seen some more of the city and countryside, found some new restaurants, and I'm starting to enjoy my area despite its distance from the centre of town. The weather is still ridiculous - hot and humid every day - but I know that come October I might actually get to wear my favourite jeans again so I can soldier through the sweaty summer. Seriously though, it really is intense, the other day I tried to wipe my sweaty face with my sweaty arm - which was gross - then tried to fix the problem by wiping them both with my sweaty t-shirt. There is no beating it. Someone should invent an air-conditioned bubble suit for Westerners who can't hack the humidity. I would pay for that shit.

Yesterday we took the summer school kids on excursion to the ASEAN Cultural Village. We drove into the country and then took a 40 minute boat ride down a river to the 'village'. It was crazy humid and by the time we even arrived at 9:30 everyone was so sweaty it looked like we'd all taken a dip in the river. ((Side note here to say that Vietnamese kids seem to give no fucks about littering - I told off more than one kid for nonchalantly throwing empty drink bottles into the river and they just grinned at me)) We were then taken around a few of the buildings and the guide spoke to the students about their significance; five out of forty children listened to her, it was embarrassing.  I stood there silently looking at the guide, when I wasn't telling off disrespectful children. One of my students said ' You can't even understand but you still listen!' and I said ' Yes, because unlike you I'm not rude'. He had a point though, I had no idea what was going on until one of the older kids came over and offered to translate for me - renewing my faith in my students. After a couple of hours even I had had enough. One of my year 7 students made me laugh out loud when he came over and whispered to me ' No 1 currrr'.  It was too hot to function.  I was even considering throwing myself into one of the many filthy looking lakes just to wash the sweat off. One of the year 10 students offered me the first sip of his iced tea and then took a sip himself and said ' that was a kiss'. AWKWARD! I rolled my eyes.

On the way back to Hanoi we stopped for lunch at a very traditional Vietnamese restaurant. What I thought were chicken wings were apparently frog legs. Sometimes I am very glad to be a vegetarian. Afterwards we sat around for ages waiting for....well, I'm not sure what we were waiting for as the Western teachers sort of just follow the pack on excursion...but we were treated to numerous displays of early-teen flirting. Oh, so much slapping and kicking and screaming and insults. Fascinating.

After lunch we stopped at the ASEAN Resort so the kids could use some of the rides and games they have there but it turned out that they all required expensive tickets, so the students just sat there for an hour playing on their phones. There was a jumping castle which I wanted go on so badly; sometimes being a grown up sucks.

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