On the sleeper bus back to the college, I remember Quyen, one of the coordinators at the college, telling us that there will be fifteen new volunteers when we got back. Fifteen! Our group has become a pretty tight nit, especially after this weekend, and the thought of coming back to the dorms full of strangers, invading my territory got me a bit anxious, yet excited. If you recall, I had the same thoughts when I became close with my group of volunteers during my first outing in South Africa; then Lucy arrived two weeks later along with a few other strangers, who quickly became part of the family. There were ten new girls and five new guys coming to the college. Tom and I would fend for ourselves against the new guys in our dorm, as Peter and Shane, as well as Nancy and Steffanie, would be leaving to go back home. The girls had more rooms so they were able to space themselves out.
When we arrived at the college that night, no other volunteer was present. It seemed all the newbies had gone out into town. When Tom and I entered our room, we saw that all of the beds had been claimed, including his! Someone claimed Tom’s bed which I thought was hilarious! Mine was untouched. Tom swiftly moved the strangers luggage off his bed and put it onto a new one in the corner of the room. One of the people in my group found that their pocky was missing out of the fridge. I say “one of the people” instead of using their actual name because this is a big secret that at the time of this post, the newbies still don’t know about. We’ll just refer to this mystery person as “Batman”. And I don’t know what a pocky is but I guess it’s a dessert of some sort. Anyway, Batman discovered that one of the new volunteers ate his pockys. So Batman took a fresh, new, unopened case of pringles from the new girls room and left this note:
Soon after, two taxi cabs full of fresh faced volunteers pulled up to the college and made their way up to our floor. “They’re coming! They’re coming!” shouted Sophie as she ran about. I hope whoever’s stuff we moved from Tom’s bed isn’t going to be upset. And I hoped everyone, for the most part, was cool. Turns out, most of them are! At the time of the writing, I still can’t tell you everyone’s names but some standout ones are Tian (Chicago, US), Will (Sydney, Australia), Ike (Las Vegas, US), and Alice (UK). Will is the culprit who unknowingly stole Tom’s bed and when we politely told him, he felt sorry and was super cool about it. Ike is actually originally from my area, Metro Detroit. As a matter of fact, we were born in the same hospital! Crazy, small world huh? Alice, along with Will, are the only two of this new crop who will be teaching with me. Tian actually came to the college a couple days earlier so we met her for a bit already. The new girls came out of the room, asking us who left the note in their room and who stole their pringles. We all played dumb. I’m sure if any of them reads this, the mystery of who stole the pringles will resurface.
This week, we said goodbye to Tara, one of the first volunteers I met here in Vietnam. Her mother came to Vietnam to meet up with her. Tara invited us out for dinner and we went for ice cream right after at a place called ‘Fannys’ in District 1. Later on the next day, Macu and Bone were waiting for me by the field so they could take me on a ride on their motorbike. We headed to the cinema to get tickets for a movie they wanted to see called “Now You See Me”. Unfortunately, tickets were sold out so they promised they’d take me next week. These guys are so friendly.
This week, Elisa, Alice, Will and myself taught the hotel students. In one of the classes, us volunteers pretended to be upset hotel guests who wanted to make complaints, as the students figured out the best way to administer the situation on the spot. The teacher instructed us to be angry westerners and make up a complaint for the students to handle. I based my complaint on something I heard about earlier during my time here in Vietnam. It’s a little past ten at night. I’m a westerner on business and I want to bring my cute Vietnamese friend I just met to my room for a bit. She’s not staying the night, we just want to talk. I could be lying. In Vietnam, it’s illegal to bring anyone not registered to a room, for a visit past ten p.m. I get fussy and ask why that’s a policy. I also pose the question, “What if this was my wife who’s flown in to meet me, or what if it was my sister?”. “What if we went up to my room at separate times without even stopping at the front desk to ask for your permission?”. All questions that I would ask if this were real life. Some students stood their ground and handled the situation well. Others, let me go up to my room with the random Vietnamese woman after I convinced them we would just be up there for five minutes. Illegal!
Elisa and I also dealt with the ‘cooks in training’ in another class. We had to be picky guests at a restaurant and ask our waiter/waitress a bunch of questions they would be asked in real life. Poor students could barely understand me! They would order my drinks, food, and dessert at the same time, which is very wrong. I pretended I had an allergy to seafood and one student told me that this seafood won’t make me sick. What?! Haha, I couldn’t help but laugh I told him never to say that! These students need a lot, A LOT, of polishing but I gave them a bunch of tips that hopefully will stick with them.
On Friday morning, I drank a lot of water and prepared myself for the biggest event of the summer! I’ll tell you all about it next.