Hard to believe it has already been a week since my last entry. I have tried to fill my time up with things of Vietnam since my time is almost over. That meaning that I fill my time with coffee shops meeting new people, English lessons, hanging out with new friends, and deep conversations with Heather rather than get on the computer and waste hours being distracted with anything and everything instead of being fully present here! My days have been very full so I will do my best to remember them and present them in some organized fashion without overwhelming you with too many details! That being said, I'll start with a week ago Friday.
Friday: Up and ready early to go to District 11 and teach a few kids there English class. I've enjoyed this activity a lot. The kids are so funny and eager to work with me! Heather divides them in half and rotates them in working with me or her. After finishing their lessons there, Heather and I headed out to meet Erin and her brother for a Vietnamese lunch. On the way there, we stopped and bought some Lichi and Mangosteen. I tried the Mangosteen for the first time and it was delicious! Loved it! It is Heather's favorite fruit. At lunch I got a type of combo plate which had a few different items on it. I had a sunny-side up egg, rice, quiche, pork, and a spring roll.Very good and flavorful. Erin then wanted us to go bowling with her so we did. Very fun. I think their bowling shoes may have been one size fits all because they just brought four pair and dropped them at our lane for us. We had a great time! But time ran out and we had to say our farewells so Heather could drop me back home and go to work. I may or may not have spent the evening at Master's Cup again, but can't remember.
Saturday was an early morning. But it was a great day! I went with a group from Heather's church to an orphanage to hang out with and love on kids! It was so much fun! They would just cling to you like their life depended on it. They never wanted to be put down and they would cry if you did. There were times when I had three in my lap at a time while sitting. They were sad when I'd be standing and could only carry one. I had a little girl lay claim to me after we colored. She sat in my lap or rode on my shoulders as we walked and even had her snack in my lap. She was not leaving it for a second because she knew if she did, she'd most likely lose it to another child. Towards the end of our time there and their lunch time she fell asleep on my shoulder as we walked to the cafeteria. So sweet. Absolutely loved my time there. After helping to feed the children their lunch, we got them back to their rooms for showers and nap time and we headed home. That night we cooked spaghetti and had Luan, one of Heather's roommates, over for dinner. That was a yummy meal!! Well, yummy until we broke out the Durian! Tried Durian for the first time and I did NOT like it. Smelled terrible and didn't taste much better. Also looks pretty gross! I let Heather finish that and I got ice cream out for Luan and me to enjoy!
Sunday: It was my last Sunday at Heather's church before I leave. This weekend we are going out of town and won't be back until Sunday evening. I really enjoyed the message. It was a good one as was worship. Unfortunately, we were out Sunday evening so I didn't get to take part in the River service back home. Me and Heather had a relaxing afternoon at home before meeting Truc Linh for dinner later. We went out for hot pot. Not just any hot pot, but goat brain hot pot. Hot pot is fun because you cook the food at your table and mix in your ingredients to your liking. In our hot pot, we had a goat brain and bone marrow along with lots of fresh greens and noodles. If you haven't seen the pictures yet, just wait. I'll include some at the end of this entry. It looked pretty disgusting, but tasted good. The texture was a little squishy, but like I said, it didn't have a bad taste. After dinner we went to the night market and walked around for a bit and hung out. After leaving there, Heather and I went to a yogurt place to meet Lao. She was wanting him to install some stuff on her computer. We had a yummy fruit and yogurt cup and chatted for a while with him. Finally, we realized how late it was so we headed on home for bed.
Monday Heather and I went to Grace Cafe. We hung out there for a few hours talking with the owner and then one of his employees. She really enjoyed our company and was very sad to see us go. She wanted Heather to leave me there. If the coffee shop hadn't been so far away from home, we probably would have done so, but it was well over 30 minutes away. Too much driving for Heather to make the trip twice. I'm not sure what happened after that. We were going to go to Master's Cup, but then realized it was closed on Mondays. I'm not sure what the rest of the day held. I think we may have just had an afternoon at home. Oh yes, that evening we went to celebrate Thanh's birthday! We went out for smoothies and then karaoke! Their karaoke is quite a bit different from karaoke back home. Here it's just your group that gets put in a room with two tvs and two mics and you spend your time taking turns singing songs! It was fun! We even managed to sneak in a few English songs mixed in with all of their Vietnamese songs!
Tuesday was Oasis (Bible study with the women from Heather's church). We talked about the miracles found in John. Very interesting conversation. After that, we headed over to Highlands Coffee to meet with Emmy and Michael to plan youth Bible study. I always enjoy being a part of those planning meetings. We have a good time as well as have good conversations about the lesson and such. We left for home so Heather could get ready for a few hours of work before English lessons at her home that evening. English lessons were fun. Except that oy, I do not pronounce a lot of my words the way they teach them to say them so I was having a harder time than the learners were with the work!! We definitely had a lot of fun with it though.
Wednesday was back to District 11 to teach English again! We had a great time again together. Heather says they will be so sad to see me go. We were supposed to go there today, but Heather ended up having to take her bike to the shop to get her tire and handlebars fixed. But we rescheduled class for Monday so I won't miss any time with them! After class, we got drinks with two other teachers and we had a great time chatting, eating fried pineapple and fried taro, and even playing jenga! They are very fun to hang out with! And they know English very well so I don't struggle to stay involved in the conversation! After leaving there we swung by Texas Chicken and picked up some spicy chicken strips to take home. We made some pancakes to go with the strips and it was soooooo delicious!! Heather left for work shortly after that and I went to Master's Cup to hang out and meet people and talk. It's always interesting to hear what the Vietnamese people want to talk about! Never a dull moment! I picked up some biscuits from Texas Chicken on my way home to go with our leftovers dinner night and waited for Heather to come home from work! We had a very random meal of odds and ends and enjoyed every bit of it! And as time has allowed, we stayed up late enjoying real and deep conversation! Wow! I love that! It's great getting to spend time with someone who feels comfortable to stay in the depths of conversation with me every evening!
Thursday was rock climbing day! I went with the youth leaders and two of their youth to climb this massive rock wall. We had a great morning spent out there doing that. I never made it to the top, but I tried a couple of times. I was just too tired and would reach a point where I just couldn't reach high enough up for the next handhold. Heather was awesome! She made it to the top twice!! After rock climbing we had lunch at KFC before saying bye to the others. Heather and I went to the day market to wander and be overwhelmed by all of the crazy shopkeepers throwing stuff in your face and trying to make you go in to their shop! Wow. So crazy! We left there and headed home for Heather to prepare for work. That evening we had English lessons back at her house. Another fun night of learning and practicing English skills while they presented their homework to the group! While we were all sitting there on the floor, a rat even peaked his head in at us until I yelled RAT!! The rat ran as the others turned and scooted away from where I was pointing! Hahahaha. It was a good laugh! There are lots of rats here in Vietnam. It's kind of fun to watch them scatter as you enter the alley to ride out on the motorbike! Fun in a gross kind of way... We had a rough trip back home, but we made it safe and sound and just kind of hung out for a few hours chatting. We knew our Friday had opened up due to Heather needing to take her bike to the shop so we stayed up late and slept in this morning.
Today has been slow. Kind of sad not to go see the kids in District 11 and also sad that our lunch plans for Pho with the other teachers were canceled too. But I slept the latest ever since being here! Got up around 10am and have just enjoyed a leisure morning sitting around the house. Heather has left for work already and I'm planning to head to Master's Cup to hang out for a bit. She has youth tonight too, so that means I have a lot of free time. What better way to fill it than meeting new people over coffee and letting them practice their English on you?!
Tomorrow we get up early for a 3 hour road trip on motorbikes with a group of friends to visit another town, Lao's hometown. I'm looking forward to the trip and to seeing more of Vietnam. After some sightseeing we'll all spend the night there and go to church together Sunday morning. It sounds like it's going to be very fun! My time here in Vietnam is quickly coming to an end and it makes me sad. Not that I don't miss home, but just because I feel like there's still so much to do here! But I will be so happy to see my Lucy once I do get to my parents' house on Wednesday! I've missed my Lucy so much! I also can't wait to see all of your faces again and get to talk with you and be in community with you again! See you soon!