The First week
I slept well during the night and was refreshed and excited as I headed to the airport for the second time in less than 24 hours. My luggage was overweight for Vietnam Airlines, but it only cost me a whopping $10.00. The flight was smooth and because the airport was small I basically walked in, picked up my luggage and walked out. Mrs. Thao called out my name and I was so happy I gave her a big hug. We had talked on and off for the last 8 months but I had no idea what she looked like because her Skype video portion never worked, although she was able to see me when we had Skyped. She told me that I looked much younger than what she had seen of me on Skype (bless her soul). Mrs. Thao had also brought one of the teachers from the school to meet me. Her name was Iris. I was also introduced to Mrs. Thao’s brother who was the designated driver for the trip to back to Quang Ngai. On the ride to town, Mrs Thao advised me that she would be putting me up in a hotel for 5 days as the teachers would be moving to a new house and it didn't make sense that I should unpack and then have to pack up again. Made sense to me. I have to tell you that when I arrived it was dismal, overcast, rainy and not too warm. It was the coolest day I had yet to experience since arriving in Asia...and I rationalized in my mind that after all, it was the winter season and quite frankly I didn't care! As we were driving into town I saw farmers working the rice paddies and I knew in my heart of hearts that this is where I needed to be at this point in my life. As we got closer to town Iris and Mrs. Thao were busy on their cell phones arranging a special luncheon for me. You see, with the rainy weather conditions they were not sure if my flight would take off from HCMC. When I arrived at the school I met the two other teachers. Sienna is from the Philippines as is Ms. Iritis. Sienna and Iris started working at the entire around the same time. Kristina is an American living in Australia but she will be leaving at the end of January. I also met Mrs Thao's children and her sister-in-law. and Mrs Thao's daughter and son and husband. What a beautiful feast they had prepared for me .
It was delicious. Amazing Springs Rolls, several types of fish, bread and I was politely given a spoon as the chopsticks were a challenge. Mrs. Thao’s son David tried to show me how to use chopsticks as he is also left handed. Apparently learning to use chopsticks is more difficult to use if you are left-handed. After lunch I was driven to the hotel where I would be staying. Later on I joined Kristina, Iris and Sienna for dinner a nearby restaurant. This was the first time I ever ate goat meat and it was delicious. We ate the goat meat as a wrap. First you pick up the rice paper and then add some vegetables and mint onto the roll and then put on the goat meat and then dip into some sauce if , which I did and it tasted incredible. That night I had my first local beer, Dung Quat, a lager beer which I really enjoyed. When I buy a can it usually cost me 50 cents. The teachers walked me to my hotel and then I settled down for the night, watched a bit of TV and then headed over to the school first thing in the morning (we usually referto the school as the centre) which is just around the corner from the hotel. I’m shown the nearby café and for the next few weeks. I go to that café almost daily for breakfast which is usually a french roll with spiced meat and Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk.
I learned that I will start teaching on January 15th as one of the teachers is leaving on vacation and for the remainder of the week I job shadow which is very benificial. I will be very busy as I will be working 36 hours a week and then I have to do lesson planning on top of that. Every evening we go to the centre and eat between 5:00 – 5:30 for dinner which is very inexpensive. I use the times that I am not job shadowing to go for walks around town and take pictures. During the first couple of week the weather is cool and rainy (but still way warmer than in Canada. These pictures were taken during my first week in Quang Ngai. By the way, everyone here thinks I'm crazy walking without a coat on...some of the people are actually wearing winter coats.