Do you have a rainy season?

Today was parent -teacher conferences. A day dreaded by most. I had several teacher say “good-luck” to me this morning and while, I like most teachers, don’t necessary “enjoy” these days, today was a wonderful walk in the park. Let me explain way:

Last year, while teaching special ed, I held 50 IEP meetings. There were some weeks where I had one a day. I also sat in on SST (Student Success Team) meetings and when I became the SST chair held 50 SST meetings in 3 months. If you’re keeping track, that’s 100 parent meetings I personally facilitated. That doesn’t count the meetings I was part of and didn’t facilitate. IEP meetings and SST meetings run anywhere from 30 minutes -2 hours (and on the rare occasion have to be split between two days because they go so long). They are hard meeting talking about kids who are struggling or discussing psycho-educational testings, they aren’t fun, and they involve a tone of paperwork. But man, can I rock a parent meetings now. Nothing really scares me anymore because I’ve honestly seen parents express every emotion. From yelling and screaming to tears of joy. Today my conferences were 20 minutes long, most of my students showed up and participated in the meetings (not something they had to do but I encouraged it), and I was able to tell parents how great their kids are doing. I didn’t have to have any “hard” conversations. Nobody cried or yelled. I didn’t have to worry about paperwork or signatures. I was able to just have normal conversations. It was glorious! I even got a thank-you email from a parent after my day was over! How awesome is that!

Annnnyyyway, I completely digressed from what I was going to write about. During a break in the conference my teaching assistant and I had an interesting conversation. The sky had started to get dark and I was commenting that it was probably going to start raining. It rains pretty much every day now.

Linh: Do you have a rainy season?
Me: Yes, no, ahhhh, I mean … it usually rains more during different times of the year.
Linh: Really no rainy season?
Me: Well in Texas it would rain a lot in the summer, in California more so in the winter, but it just rains when it rains. Plus, I’ve lived in places where there have been in droughts recently.
Linh: Hmmmm, interesting. It just rains.
Me: Yah, it will just rain whenever it wants to.

Linh is from Vietnam and I got the impression that she finds it weird/odd that I’m not used to a rainy season. Another cultural difference that I hadn’t really thought about.

I’m beginning to love the rain here (aside from my constant headaches caused by the pressure changing) and I mean really love it. I ride my bike most places so I don’t have to walk in the rain which is adding to why I love it. The rain here does not mess around. There is thunder, lightening, and it pours in a way I’ve never experienced. I wish I had good photos or videos but they never seem to turn out or really don’t do justice to how much it rains.

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This is what it looked like when I left school today. It had been raining for maybe an hour. That’s nothing in the terms of flooding.

But people keep going. They stop take out a umbrella or poncho and get on with whatever they were doing, even if whatever they were doing was riding a motorbike.

Women riding scooter in the rain. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This is a picture I took from the internet because I’m horrible at trying to take pictures in the rain.

And so that’s what I do too. I have two very nice rain jackets I brought with me when I moved. I wear them when I walk, but most days I end up wearing this (see picture below) because I ride my bike to school and it keeps me drier and covers my backpack.

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I know, you’re super jealous right now, aren’t you? 😉

I love the rain because it cools everything down, it makes me feel a bit cleaner, and it’s fun to ride ones bike it. Who doesn’t enjoy riding  a bike through puddles and watching lightening crack across the sky?

*If I ever get a good video of the thunder and lightening I’ll post it because it’s awesome!*

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉
(***because I’ve mentioned the school where I’ll be teaching I should probably mention that everything on this blog will be my thoughts, not those of my employer***)

 

 

 

The Chainsmokers

It’s not very often bands come to Vietnam, so when they do, you go. This past Thursday The Chainsmokers came town and while I could only say I knew two of their songs (I actually ended knowing more), I went. We bought tickets for the front sections and it was cheaper than anything I would have paid in the States.

The night before we had a pretty big storm which meant part of the field was muddy, so flip-flops were not the best choice of footwear (lesson learned). The concert started at 7pm but the Chainsmokers did not begin until 9pm and in true Vietnam fashion they promptly lost power! Ha Ha!

We ran into people from work, danced, laughed, and over all had a really good time! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a band that mixes in the intro song to the Lion King into their set! 😉 Below are a few pictures.

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Ran into work friends in line
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Indira and I
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Double fisting water and sprite. They poured it out of small bottles into these cups :/ #killingtheevnvironment

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Close enough to feel the heat from the fireworks they were lighting off

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First experience with a squatty port-a-toliet. There were little frogs in there as well!
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My feet at the end of the night

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(I had planned to write this blog last night, but I got sucked into season 3 of Narcos. I love and hate Netflix for uploading full seasons at a time! Ha Ha!)

September 2nd was Vietnam’s Independence Day, also called National Day, and was celebrated with a 3-day holiday. (You can read more about National day here). My work held a 2-day professional development conference on Friday and Saturday so we got Sunday-Tuesday off instead of Saturday-Monday. This was also Labor Day weekend in the States. I was talking to a friend about how if I were in the States I’d probably just stay in San Diego and got to a BBQ. Living in Asia I feel obligated to travel and see new things, so that is what I did (with two friends).

After work Saturday we hopped on a short 45 minute flight to the beach town of Nha Trang.

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This picture is slightly hazy because there were white vapors coming out of the air vents.  I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Super odd and it went on the whole flight. I looked it up later and it was water vapors from the AC.

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As we flew over Vietnam we saw large illuminated rectangles. They were larger than a house. UFOS? Some kind of power plant? Lit up city blocks? Nope, they were dragon fruit farms. I thought that was kinda of cool.

We book our hotel based on the recommendations of my friend’s friend. The name of it was Liberty Central and it was about a block from the beach. It ended up being fantastic! We booked a room with two twin (TWIN! umm…. never seen that before) and asked for a roll-away bed. It worked out perfect.

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Two twin beds and a roll-away
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Enjoying the free robe and slippers
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Our ocean view
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The free breakfast buffet was huge!
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Hotel pool with a view of the ocean
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Panoramic view from the hotel’s rooftop bar

Day One: Relaxing at the beach
Lessons learned:
1. You CAN get sunburnt when you have sunscreen on AND lay under the shade of a beach umbrella all day.
2. Don’t buy a coconut from the lady on the beach it’ll cost you 5 times as much as everywhere else.

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Beach views
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Beach views
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The view from my beach chair
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Lady selling fruit. (Not the coconut lady) She would cut it up for you when you bought it.
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Out lunch view from the Sailing Club restaurant
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Giant plate for my salad

Day Two: Culture
Lessons learned:
1. Carrying an umbrella for shade is a life saver!
2. Buy the coconut at the top of the giant Buddha. 😉

The pictures below are from Po Nagar, a Cham temple tower founded before 781. (Wikipedia article here). It was really neat to see and crazy to think about how old this site is.

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Next we went to Long Son Pagoda, a Buddhist Temple. (Wikipedia link here ).

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Long Son Pagoda
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View when you first walk in
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View of the temple

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Monks inside the temple
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Inside the temple

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View of the court-yard from inside the temple

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152 to see the giant Buddha

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Giant Buddha
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I wish this picture captured how hot I was… dying…
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Cemetery
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The sleeping Buddha was closed so all I could get was a picture of its feet
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The roots on this tree were really cool

Next up: Mud baths!

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This is a real place!

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I felt like I was sitting in warm chocolate milk
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Pool area
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You can’t really tell, but that’s a waterfall
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Goats on the road back to the hotel

Last, but certainly not least, we ended day two with some more beach time and a nice Spanish dinner.

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This is what happens when I’m scared of getting even more sun burnt. ha ha!
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Vinpearl- It’s said the be the Disneyland of Vietnam. You have to take a gondola over the ocean to get there.

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This dinner was delicious!

Day Three: Last day to enjoy the beach
Rented a beach chair and had food and drinks delivered to me all day for a total cost of less than $20 USD!

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Take me back!
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Not a bad lunch view!
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One last sunset from the hotels roof top bar before heading to the airport
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As much as I enjoy traveling by myself, it was so nice to have friends to share this trip with!

And now that I’ve spent two hours on this blog (internet was super slow tonight), I’m off to bed!

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉
(***because I’ve mentioned work I should probably mention that everything on this blog will be my thoughts, not those of my employer***)

 

A little piece of home

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Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!

Eight weeks later, my home goods have arrived! I’m happy to report, aside from the latch on my crockpot, nothing was broken or ruined! The weird smell of the UPS boxes (cardboard vomit is the only way I can describe it ) was still very present so I quickly unpacked everything and chucked it into my spare room. I’ll deal with it all after the long weekend. While I was doing this the security guard came and yelled at me for putting the empty boxes in the hallway.  Opps! Ha ha!

It feels like it’s been longer then 8 weeks! Crazy to think about how much has happened since I dropped those boxes off in Long Beach! And yet, there are still days where it feels like yesterday. When I started unpacking those boxes two things happened:
1. It felt like Christmas morning because I had forgotten half of what I had packed.
2. It made me weirdly emotional. It really brought home that this where I live now and it’s not just a vacation. Don’t take that in a bad way. I’m happy here. I think that response is pretty normal when you move across the world.

Those “awesome” holes and green tape were from US Customs. (I’ll keep my opinions about that to myself) Thankfully, nothing fell out, was ruined by weather, or eaten by bugs! Vietnamese customs didn’t even open my boxes.🤔 This surprised me because I have been told not to have thing mailed here because of customs.

Needless to say, today was a good today!

*I originally wrote this post saying it was 7.5 weeks since my goods had been shipped but I went back and looked at an old  blog and it’s actually 8 weeks… to the day!

Blogging is not something I’m necessarily good at and autocorrect and I have a love/hate relationship, so please ignore any typos, misspelled words, or all together wrong words. 😉