If I could describe the new batch of volunteers here in one word, I would describe them as “squirrelly” . They’re a squirrelly bunch. Some are here, some are there, some are all over the place, but usually you can find them at one of the many backpacker pubs in District 1. If not there, they’re somewhere a little more expensive having the times of their lives! They are a savvy bunch of people that I enjoyed and spent a lot of time with here.
But first things first, I MUST go to the US Embassy to add some more pages to my passport. I had the option of adding 24 or 48 pages, both for the same price of about $82. My passport expires in three years and it took me seven years to fill this bad boy, so I thought 24 pages would suffice until then. (I did a lot of traveling before I ever began blogging!) But now with that taking care of, I resumed my usual teaching duties alongside Duc.
It was a little odd introducing myself to the volunteers here. I had to explain that even though I wasn’t part of the Green Lion organization like they all were and that I wasn’t staying in the dorms, I would still be helping out the school teaching whenever they needed me to.
“I volunteered here last year and decided to visit again!”, I would always say.
There are quite a few of them and there’s a handful that made an impression on me, including a few even newer ones that arrived a few days after I returned. One night I went out to get some Indian food with Anand (India), Josie (US), Marissa (Canada), and a few others. Anand has been all over the world and has been wandering where ever he feels like at that moment! I’d say the most down-to-earth of this bunch. Josie and Marissa are close friends that met here in Vietnam. They’ve been here for over a month already and have plans on heading north in Vietnam after their time here is up. Marissa also writes a blog very similar to my own. She even has her own bucket-list which is pretty much the same idea as my personal ATLAS. You can find her website here. That same night, we went across the street to a pub to join up with a few other volunteers who just so happened to be in the area. Another standout is Aaron (US). He hails from California and is soaking up his first big trip out of the US. He even extended his trip from just a month to just before Christmas! Smart move I’d say.
Later on I met a few of the fresh meat volunteers who just arrived. Naykul (India/Australia), Becca (Canada), Roos (The Netherlands), and a few new faces. Then you have Pablo (Mexico), Sarah (Aus), Maddie (Aus), and Norris (Netherlands). There really are a lot more and all of them were very friendly and here for the right reasons. This group was completely different from my original Vietnam group but still a great crew! I could talk about all of them for miles but then this would end up being a very long post.
One evening, my friend Duong invited me to her home for a homemade dinner. She lives about 15 minutes away from my district in a simple, yet cool urban style apartment. She made rice, chicken, salad, and mushrooms with seaweed in it. The chicken mix had every part of the chicken in it; head, beak, talons, and all. She did a great job and everything tasted really good! Thanks Duong!
Duong is in charge of the garden project at the college. She ran the idea by the principal and he agreed with the prospects of it. Many other people she’s met have been helping her turn her idea into a reality and it’s shaping up to look quite nice.
The garden is situated on the roof of the college above the classrooms where they I teach English. Some of the students in those classes can speak exceptionally well and some of them can barely understand a single word. Teaching another language takes patience and practice. I’ve been speaking slower and have been speaking proper English lately. As a matter of fact I’ll be teaching English for the remainder of my trip so I may say my words a little bit differently when I come back home. The students here told me they understand the American English accent better than the Australian and British ones, and I couldn’t help but agree with them. My English accent is pretty flat and straight-forward for the most part.
Being in Vietnam again brought upon a wave of nostalgia. My old room used to be the sole boys room, now the girls have taken over.
The food still tastes pretty good and PR restaurant is pretty much the same as when I left (minus the ice cream stand). I had a great tenure here last year and was able to give some of the new kids a lot of advice concerning excursions and things to do over the weekends. A lot were impressed with my Vietnam pictures and I was glad to have motivated them to get out there and explore!
Much of my time in Vietnam has been teaching and hanging out with the locals and volunteers here, so not much to report to you all. I was able to relax and unwind in preparation for my next venture into a brand new country:
I’ll tell you all the game plan next.