Monday, June 17, 2013

Dead Turtles and Fish Sauce

Happy Monday! For most of you, your Monday is just getting started as mine is quickly coming to an end! It has been strange being twelve hours ahead of home. I rarely get birthdays right and have a hard time messaging others at a decent hour! Thankfully my body doesn't seem to mind it too much and I am able to sleep some at nights! I've officially been here in Vietnam for two weeks now. So weird. Seems like I've been here a lifetime but no time at all. It's been about 4 days since my last blog because so often I stay on the go from morning to evening. I'm usually quite tired by the time I settle in for the night. I'm still learning things every day. I ask more questions so I can understand things better. I also spend a lot of time just observing and soaking in all of my different surroundings. Sometimes it is overwhelming but it's always exciting! One of my favorite things is trying new fruits! So far I have tried unripened mango which is very sour but delicious, rambutan or chom chom, longan, litchi, jack fruit, and dragon fruit. They keep telling me that one day I will try durian, but I smelled it at the supermarket and it smells disgusting! I wouldn't say no though, just so I could know what taste goes with that smell. Apparently, most foreigners don't like it because they can't stand the smell. I have liked all of the fruits I've tried. Jack fruit is probably my least favorite, but I eat it still. I continue to try new foods as well as cook my own. But I will share about that as I go through my past few days.
Friday: This was kind of a slow day. We had officially spent our first night in the nice house. And it lives up to Heather's words! It is 3 stories, has a washer AND a dryer, couches, a stove top with multiple burners, an oven, and air conditioning in every room! It even has a closed in shower and HOT water! We joke about being back in America. It was Stacy's last day here and we just took it easy while Heather went to work. We walked to Carls Jr for lunch and that was the extent of our activity for the day. We left around 9pm to head to the airport and said our goodbyes. Then we proceeded to go home in the rain on the motorbike and got a little turned around. We finally made it home and I was ready for a shower and dry clothes! My rain pancho helps but my legs were nasty from all the street sludge being splashed up on them!
Saturday: Very busy day! We got up and ready relatively early and headed to a coffee shop called Salem. There we just hung out and talked with Vietnamese people to build relationships and give them an opportunity to speak in English. Pictures of this coffee shop will be posted at the end. They had a beautiful garden area there too. After that, we grabbed some food from a street stand and headed over to Truclinh's house to eat. Truclinh is Heather's good friend. She had a tiny table and tiny stools that she set up for us to eat around. She was an excellent hostess! She even went out and brought back iced sugarcane juice for me! Lao came over a little later with lots of fruit for us to eat. Sour mango, rambutan, and jack fruit. Very good dessert! After leaving there we all went out to the park and met some others there to play some frisbee. That was a fun time! After frisbee we all went to dinner together. From there, Heather, Truclinh, and I headed out to pick up some groceries. That was a fun experience! Also, one of those overwhelming moments. First, we parked in a sea of motorbikes as far as the eye could see. Then we went in to a five-story shopping mall which I had a ginormous grocery store in it. Another learning experience: I learned you can't just walk into the grocery story with your purse. They actually have lockers and you HAVE to lock your bag/purse up before going in! The store was packed and everything was in Vietnamese and I kind of just had to take it all in at first. Then I adjusted and started picking out things to buy. Did you know that you can buy milk and chocolate milk right off the shelf (no refrigeration)?! I bought both kinds and they taste great! Of course, I refrigerated them when I got home because cold milk is better than lukewarm milk, or at least that's what I think. I picked up supplies to make our own egg sandwiches at home instead of making our frequent street stand stops for them. And of course, I bought a bottle of chili sauce because I like it on everything (pretty much). I spent almost $500,000 on two large bags of groceries. Ok, ok, so actually that only equals about $20 American. As we left the store we signed up to have our groceries delivered to the house, FOR FREE! That was especially nice because that meant we didn't have to carry them all on the motorbike! They were delivered about 30-40 minutes later and then came bed! But while we waited, Heather had to feed the fish and I was chilling on the couch. She starts freaking out and I start freaking out, both for completely different reasons. It was dark and she saw a turtle floating at the top. She thought the turtle had died and was calling me to check. I was freaking out because a huge flying cockroach had just flown near me! I quickly abandoned the couch and cockroach and went to check on the turtle. Oh yeah, I said, he's way dead. She was so worried because the turtle died on her watch (remember, we are house sitting). I asked if she wanted me to scoop it and she said yes. As I scooped it, it rolled over and I saw that this turtle never was alive, it was CERAMIC! Woo, what a relief for Heather. Then I asked her to go kill the giant flying cockroach for me. We had some big laughs after that!
Sunday: It was my first time to join Heather at her church. What's cool is they also call their service the River service! I met lots of new people and we even joined several for lunch. I came all the way to Vietnam and guess what we ate! Japanese food! It was a cute restaurant. We had to take our shoes off before entering the eating area. Each table was set into the floor and we sat on pillows on the floor with our feet in the hole under the table. While we ate it started raining very hard so we had to wait around for a bit for it to lighten up a bit. Then we had to go to the grocery store to pick up a few more things because we had decided to make our own spring rolls and had invited a couple of girls from church over for dinner later. Of course, we didn't think to look up taro root in Vietnamese beforehand and neither of us knew what it looked like so we tried to ask them. They claimed this purple  sweet potato looking thing was it (we later learned it wasn't and that it actually was a type of sweet potato). Also had to pick up some fish sauce for the spring roll mix and for dipping them in at dinner. Fish sauce is another one of those things they don't expect foreigners to eat. I like it quite a bit. Adds more flavor! We got the remaining ingredients and got home just in time for the girls to show up. The cooking process was long (rolling each one and frying them), but in the end, we had spring rolls and rice and dragon fruit for dessert. It was good! And we had lots of laughs too. We ended our company time by watching the movie Rudy. They left just in time for me and Heather to sit down and live stream the River service from back home in College Station. I was excited to even see two people I know (Steve on the drums during worship and Randi walking through the sanctuary after the service). This made me happy! :o) Occasionally I kind of miss seeing familiar faces and places so it's cool that I got to stream the service!
Today (finally huh?): We had kind of a low key day. I got up and cooked egg sandwiches for breakfast for me and Heather. Then we went to an area where we did some prayer walking and maybe a little souvenir shopping along the way. Before we started our prayer walking guess who we ran into! The white Buddhist monk again! He was excited to have a new person to talk to as Heather wasn't with me when I met him the first time. We talked for a short time and then Heather and I continued on our way. We found some coffee (I really like Vietnamese coffee) and I listened to Heather tell me about different prayer walking methods. She chatted with a few women selling bracelets on the street and translated for me and then we set out walking. We ended our walk with yummy smoothies. We hadn't had one in a couple of days and you can't just walk past the best smoothie stand and not get one! I love to get pineapple-banana. Yum. We headed home and got home just before the heavy rain hit, thank goodness! The rain stopped just in time for Heather to head to work. I stayed home and waited for the housekeeper to come. The people who own the home like to provide jobs for people so they have a housekeeper come about three times a week. I took a little nap after she left and got up to start this blog. I've taken a break to hang out with Heather after she got home. She cooked dinner for us and I kept her company. It's nearly 11:00pm which is actually an hour earlier than we normally start heading to bed, but we were both ready tonight! Tomorrow is a new day and I can't wait to see what it holds!

1 comment:

  1. Miss you Cheryl and it's been a week since you've blogged :) Oh and when you get your plane ticket we will need to know the time, date and Terminal to pick you up at.