Suón Tiên- A Vietnamese Amusement Park

“Do you want to go to Harry Potter world and go go-karting?”

What an offer. And to think I almost didn’t go. I am so glad I did!!! There is an amusement park about 15-20 minutes from where I live. It’s not one you hear very much about and I only knew about it because I had a friend who went go-karting there. What sounded like a weird invitation ended up being such a fun day!

(As you scroll through these pictures just picture Disney music playing. No joke!)

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Head tilt- “That;’s interesting”

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When exploring a weird amusement park, one must take fun photos!

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Unfinished walk ways
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Harry Potter world

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It ended up being a really dark Harry Potter haunted house.
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With all the construction we thought this was a fairly new amusement park. Nope, it’s 23 years old.
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Giant Chicken. And yes, that man is riding a motorbike in the park
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An actual temple. I’m having serious flashbacks of the opening scenes of Aladdin!

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I was born in the year of the rat

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We decided that this was a wishing tree
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I’m ready to go go-karting on a not-so-safe, no seat belts, helmet required, really fun track!
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Seatbelts…. who needs seatbelts? (Honestly, I’m so used to not wearing a seatbelt at this point that I didn’t even realize there weren’t any until afterwards when a friend pointed it out.:/)
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What’s 12D?
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Hammocks to rent if you need a rest
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Can you see us?

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You could have your feet cleaned by little fish
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This guy was welding as the roller coaster was running. 
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No words…
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Sure. let’s pour some concrete in the middle of the day on a main walk way. Why not?
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We did not realize how amazing this snow castle would be
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I wasn’t sure what to expect when they handed me this to wear. And the boots were wet inside, so that was gross.
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And then we walked into this. An indoor tubing run! What?!?  Cue excitement!

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Things I did not get a picture of;
Alligator park (which left the gate open at one point)
Water park
Four-wheel/dirt bike area
A garden
8,000 VDN (.35 cent) ice cream – we had two
Rides and games that weren’t running. We think they turned them on if you wanted to ride.
Dolphin show- figured this wasn’t going to be ethical so we didn’t go
Giant fruit sculptures

We paid to get into the park and then paid for the things we did. It was all very cheap.

Seriously, one of the most fun days I’ve had in a long time!

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. 😉

 

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is a little island off west coast of Vietnam in the gulf of Thailand. It’s a quick 45 min flight from Vietnam that will cost you less then $80 USD round trip. A few weeks back my friends and I were discussing going to the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Christmas Gala. We looked up the price and jokingly said that we could have a whole weekend in Phu Quoc for the same price. So, we book a weekend trip to Phu Quoc and it was such a nice and much needed weekend away.

Phu Quoc is a quiet little island right now, but there was a lot of development going on. Give it a few more years all there will be a lot me resorts which is good or bad depending about how you feel about development.

We stayed a place called Richis Resort.  The people were so kind. Airport pick up and drop off was included in our stay. The staff was very helpful. They let us store our luggage on Sunday and use the showers at the spa once we’d checked out of our rooms. And I asked them at one point what the name of an essential oil was that they were using and the gave me a small bottle of it to take home! (Still don’t know the name though. Ha ha!) 9329AA39-AC14-40EB-84CA-EFED84EF8D29

The buildings looked like they came from a southern plantation. The whole property was gorgeous! Check out the pictures below:

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Our room

 

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The view from our balcony! I’d love to wake up to this every morning!

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Their free breakfast was delicious!

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Saturday  was spent lounging around the by beach and the pool. You could see the beach from the pool so that was pretty awesome!

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Christmas at the beach

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Sunday we went snorkeling.

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Driving through Phu Quoc
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Umm……  Thankfully we did not see any jelly fish
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View leaving the harbor

 

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Floating  houses for the fishermen

First stop of the day was to do some snorkeling (I’m the one with my hand up). Unfortunately, there wasn’t much life in the reef.

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I look like I’m getting ready to punch something. Ha ha!

After lunch we had out second stop of the day.  Here we had the choice to either snorkel or take a small boat to an island called Fingernail Island. We opted for the boat to the island.

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We ended our weekend with a beautiful sunset.

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I needed this weekend! I needed to get away from the hustle, bustle, noise, and pollution of a big city and just relax by the ocean with friends. It was so nice! Phu Quoc is a place I definitely plan on visiting again!

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. 😉

Losing track of time

One of the hardest parts of living in Vietnam is that I have lost all my awareness as to what time of year it is. I feel like I’m living in a perpetual state of Mid-June. Last week I was at a training and happened to glance at the computer of the person sitting next to me. My reaction was “Wait, it’s November 20th?” and I proceeded to check my watch and phone. November… almost December… how did that happen. The funny thing is, I always know the date. I think I just forget that it actually is November. Not having seasons is a weird thing. (Yes, I know San Diego doesn’t really have seasons but there is a temperature and light differences that happens as you go into winter. Here it’s 80-90+ degrees and dark by 6pm everyday.)  It’s not even really the seasons, it’s the sunlight. My brain is used to less light in the winter more in the summer. It really messes with my head sometimes.

That being said, Thanksgiving snuck up on me…. Kinda. Myself and several people having been talking about a Friendsgiving since the beginning of school. I work with several people who have never experienced Thanksgiving or pumpkin pie. (Take a minute and let that sink in!) So, we planned a Friendsgiving. Even with all the talk it still snuck up on me and before I knew it, it was here!

I love Thanksgiving. Hands down, my favorite holiday. I have really fond memories from my childhood of waking up the to smells of food cooking, my grandma making a pie for each of us, helping at a soup kitchen, and eating way, and I mean way, too much jellied cranberry sauces (I’ve grown up now and make my own. ha ha). Thanksgiving just feels less stressful to me then Christmas.

I’ve spent Thanksgiving away from my family before, but this Thanksgiving I had to work.  Not going to lie, I was a bit sad and bitter, but I made the best of it. I decided to dedicate the whole day to teaching my students about Thanksgiving. Most of my students had never heard of Thanksgiving. We made Thankful turkey hats, our buddies came and made hand print turkeys with us, I made cranberry sauce for me kiddos to eat, and read many Thanksgiving themed books. The kids loved it!

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The orange feather says “I am thankful for my teacher.” ❤

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Then, during our grade level meeting we had a bit of a Thanksgiving feast!

9D86F2A4-1BC5-4AC8-BBA5-24C27DEB5153Best meeting ever!

That night I ate at the cutest vegetarian restaurant. It was hard having to work and being away from family, but I think the day turned out well.

Black Friday. It’s a thing here! I went to use the ATM at the mall and it was insane! Not America insane, but still pretty crazy. The sales here start in the evening after everyone gets off work. It was an eye-opener for me because I’ve always thought of Black Friday and an American thing.

We held our Friendsgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving because most of us were at a training the Saturday before. That morning was our schools Festival Bizarre. I volunteered to be one of Santa’s helpers and then checked out the shopping before I headed home to bake my pumpkin pie.

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I bought a “living coaster.” The condensation from my cups waters the succulents!

For Friendsgiving, I was in charge of the pumpkin pie and the cranberry sauce.

Turkeys aren’t easy to find in Asia so we ordered one from a restaurant, which was such a good idea! It came already cut up!

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Turkey in a box

The food was great and the company was better. It was fun sharing Thanksgiving with friends who had never celebrated it before.

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Now that Thanksgiving is over I’m trying to get into a Christmas spirit My apartment complex put up a Christmas tree, then took it down, then two days later put it up again with decorations. I started listening to Christmas music and watching cheesy Christmas movies, but I feel like I’m cheating. It’s too hot and just didn’t feel like Christmas. Thankfully in less than three weeks I’ll be in snow.

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Holidays away from family are hard and I hope they always stay that way. I don’t want it to ever become my “normal” that I’m not with my family.

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***)

 

 

 

 

 

AQI

AQI…. Air Quality Index. This is an acronym I have become very familiar with. Living in SE Asia means you live with air pollution. It’s just a fact of life. I thought I knew what air pollution was, I mean, I lived by LA, that’s air pollution, right? Boy was I wrong.  Most mornings when I look out my window there is a heavy haze over the city. It looks like fog. I love fog. I wish this haze was fog.

AQI is color coded.
(This table is from Air Now).

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My school uses three colors and this is how I like to think of them Green = woo hoo! Go outside, take a deep breath, and enjoy the day. Yellow = not so good, but you can be outside. Red= Students aren’t allowed out for recess and you should avoid exercising outside. Since I have lived here we haven’t gone over red. If you want to see what a maroon city looks like check out what New Delhi is currently going through.

We graph the air pollution in my class instead of the weather because the weather doesn’t have much variance to it. Last month we had 1 red day. Last week we had 3.

October graph vs. November graph

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AQI sign when you walk into school.

So I finally did it. I bought an air pollution mask. (Well, to be completely honest I accidentally bought 10.  Ha ha! I bought them online and thought I was buying one nice one but in reality I got 10 disposable ones. At least they are the best disposable ones you can buy! 🙂 ) The pollution makes me dizzy and gives me head aches. Some mornings you can taste it. I’m not exaggerating either. It’s gross.

Below are a few pictures of what the air pollution looks like.

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Yesterday’s AQI-Just to put it into perspective.

View out my apartment window. Red Day vs. a Green Day

 

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Walking to work on a red day

I’ve been told the air pollution is from several different things; factories burning at night, construction, motorbikes, and wind blowing it in from other places. Where ever it comes from its gross. But, ever city has its downside. Right now, air pollution just happens to be Saigon’s.

I feel like Bane from Batman, but at least I’m prepared for more red days!

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***)

Fall Break: Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay

I’m super lame and started this blog three weeks ago. Then, I got food poisoning and was sick for five days. I even tried to go back to work and they sent me to the doctors. It’s was miserable and I’m not sure where I got it from. I did realize that I had stopped taking my probiotic because during my trip. I had just forgot about them and then forgot about them when I got back as well. So I partially blame being sick on that. Anyways, I started, I got sick, and then I forgot to finish this blog. So here I am, almost a month after my Fall Break trip I am finally writing about it.

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Fall break happened the first week of October and I, with two of my friends, spent 7 days in Northern Vietnam. I need to emphasized that pictures do not do justice to the places we went. They were stunning!

We decided to book with a tour company (Halong Bay Tours) because in all honesty we were too tired to try to figure everything out on our own. It wasn’t like we were on a tour, it was more that they booked everything for us so we didn’t have to worry about anything. Best money spent! Especially when things went a little sideways while we were in Sapa.

Day One

We flew into Hanoi on Saturday and were picked up at the airport and dropped off at our hotel which greeted us with welcome drinks (aka Tang). We spent the evening walking around Old Hanoi and the night markets. Hanoi had so many more tree then Ho Chi Minh!

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Night Market

Day Two: Hanoi City TOur

Sunday morning we were picked up for a day tour of Hanoi. We started out tour by seeing  Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the first president of what is now unified Vietnam. His mausoleum holds his embolden body. We weren’t allowed in because his body is currently not there. For two months out of the year is shipped off to have “maintenance” done. We toured the ground and then went to see how lacquer painting was done.

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Presidential Palace

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Ho Chi Minh’s House on stilts
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A pagoda

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Lacquer painting

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After the lacquer painting we head to the Old Quarter for some yummy lunch.

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Old Quarter

Next we went to the Museum of Ethology.

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House on stilts at the museum of Ethnology

After the museum we went to the Temple of Literature which was Vietnam’s first  National University.

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Temple of Literature
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These stones had names on them of the people who passed the University Exams
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There was some sort of graduation going on.

And last, but not least we went to Chua Tran Quoc; the older Buddhist temple in Hanoi.

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After our tour we explored Hanoi a bit more and had dinner before catching our night train to Sapa.

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Fake North Face anyone?

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View from the restaurant we ate at

Day Three: Sapa

Sapa is a mountain town in Northern Vietnam along the Chinese border. It is surrounded by tiny villages and mountains and mountains of rice fields.

Sunday night we took a night train to Sapa and arrive around 5:30 AM.

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Our cabin on the night train

I didn’t think the night train was that bad once it started going. I was also on the bottom bunk so that may have helped.

We were picked up at the train station and driven to our hotel. Although we were unable to check-in the hotel had showers and bag storage we could use. Our guide picked us up from the hotel and we went on our first hike to the Cat Cat Village. This village is more of a tourist village then a local one.

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Sapa is gorgeous! So green!

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There were a lot of little shops on this hike.

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View from where we ate lunch

After our hike we decided to walk around Sapa and have smoothies at one of the brand new hotels

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This view

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Day Four: Sapa and Hanoi

It’s rained! And not just a little rain. It rained enough to cause landslides which then caused the train to stop running (this is where things went sideways.)

When our guide picked us up she recommended we rent rain boots. They were every penny (we only paid USD $1.50). Life savers! It poured on and off the entire hike. We hiked through the rice fields and down to a small village for lunch. About an hour into the Spanish couple  with us got a call from their travel agent explaining the situation with the trains and informing them they would have to take a bus back to Hanoi. This meant we would not be able to hike after lunch and would instead need to a bus back up to our hotel. At first I was bummed but as the rain continued and the paths got more and more slippery, I was thankful to be done at lunch.

 

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Rice fields cut into the side of the mountains
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Walking through the flooded rice fields
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Water buffalo

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This is one of the ladies who followed us down the hike. They are not hiking guides. They are local women who live in the hill villages. They help you down and in return you buy their hand-made goods.

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Our lovely guide, Sue.

Our tour company ended up booking us a sleeper bus and sending us the details.  I am so glad we didn’t have to figure this out on our own! Sleepers busses are not as grand as they may sound. I’ll take the sleeper train any day over the bus. Thankfully though we got back to Hanoi at 10pm, were picked up by a driver, and brought back to our hotel.

Day Five: Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is in the Northeat of Vietnam and is know for it’s 1969 limestone islands.

We were meant to leave Hanoi at 8am on a bus to Ha Long Bay. We waited.. and waited… and waited…
After contacting our tour company it turned out the bus forgot to pick us up! The tour company sent out one of their employees to pick us him in his SUV. We thought that he would be driving us all the way to Ha Long Bay. That didn’t exactly happen. He sped through traffic in the rain, spent more time on the left hand side of the road then they right side, and eventually  caught up to one of the local busses. It was a bit confusing as the what was going on. We had ask to use the restroom and he pulled over and then ushered us to the bus. This bus was not the bus the tour company had booked and everyone on the bus seemed a bit confused as well. But, we made it to Halong Bay where we caught our boat.

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Our boat “Lavender”
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View of the top deck
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My room
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We were told you don’t often see blue sky in Ha Long Bay.

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We had lunch and then went kayaking and hiked to the top of Ti Top island.

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Safety first

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Through the cave…
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……and into a beautiful little cove where we saw monkeys! 

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Getting instructions from our guide
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Hiked up a bunch of stairs in the rain to get to the gorgeous view.

When we got back we were given a lesson on how to make spring rolls. Which then turned in to a race of who could make spring rolls the quickest.

 

Spring rolls have become my favorite Vietnamese food.

I don’t usually take a photos of my food but the presentation of our dinner had to be documented!

They were vegetable cutting artists!

Day Six

We went to the largest cave in Ha Long Bay and then did a little hike before heading back to the main land.

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Not a bad view to wake up to.
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Local fishermen

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Largest cave in Ha Long Bay.
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Inside the cave.
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Inside the cave.
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So many tourist boats

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James Bond Island where one of the James Bond movies was filmed
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It was hard to say good-bye to this view!

When we got back to Hanoi that night we ended our trip with a nice dinner and a beautiful view!

 

 

For our last night in Hanoi we stayed at the Hanoi Trendy Hotel & Spa. It was a cute little boutique hotel in the old quarter that was really hoping for good reviews on trip advisor. (They told us this! Ha!) They welcomed us with fruit and beverages, breakfast was fun, there was a spa on site, and when we left the staff came outside to see us off. I’d recommend them if you go Hanoi.

Just for fun…..

Things on motorbikes in Hanoi!

 

Sorry this post was so long. Next time I’ll be more on the ball and spilt it up!

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. 😉

 

 

 

Moon Festival, Celebration of Cultures, and End of Term…. oh my!

Yesterday was officially the end of first term. What? How did that happen? These last eight weeks have felt like whirlwind and I can’t believe we’re already a quarter of the way done with the school year! As I reflect back, I’m not going to lie, these weeks have been hard. I’ve felt like a new teacher again learning the PYP system and not understanding the jargon people have been using. But, they’ve been fun. I’ve really really enjoyed being back in Kindergarten again.

This week in particular was busy because we celebrated two major events: Moon Festival and Celebration of Cultures.

MOON FESTIVAL 
Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival) is Vietnam’s harvest festival. (Other countries in Asia also celebrate the Moon Festival.)  It is celebrated with lanterns, moon cakes, and traditional Vietnamese games. It’s a festival geared toward children. You can read more about it here.

My students have been preparing for Moon Festival for over a month. My TA, Linh, helped the students make lanterns and taught them a lantern dance. On Tuesday our class performed this dance to three different classes. It was super cute but do to student privacy I can’t up load the video. Just imagine little kids swinging lanterns, while dancing in circles and three dragons dancing around them. 😉

Funny cultural side note: I had asked parents to send their students in “fancy dress” for our performance. To me that means something nice. To most of the parents that meant some kind of dress up costume. Thankfully it was clarified before Tuesday!

On Wednesday the whole primary school participated in a Moon Festival assembly and Moon Festival games.

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The lanterns were my favorite part of the moon festival.

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Moon cakes. The first picture I took from the internet to show how many of the moon cakes have a dried egg in the middle to represent the moon. They come in beautiful boxes and the designs on them are fancy. I personally, was not a fan of the way they tasted. I tried two different kinds, a pea moon cake and a lotus flower. The texture is almost gummy in the inside.

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My class dressed up in the traditional  áo dài (pronounced “ow die”) and playing Vietnamese games.

CELEBRATION OF CULTURES

Yesterday was our schools Celebration of Cultures. Everyone in the school community (teachers, students, parents, and staff) dressed up and walked in a parade with their country.

IMG_8659 I was told I was not wearing enough red, white, and blue so this summer I plan on buying the most obnoxious America shirt I can find. Ha ha! My fellow Californian teacher appreciated my shirt though! 😉

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Getting ready for the parade!

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Then there were performances by different cultures. These were entertaining! There were dances and skits! It was fun to see how different cultures view and represent themselves. America did a “road trip down route 66.” It was really clever.

It was a busy and fun way to end the term and I’m now off to explore Northern Vietnam with a couple of friends for a much-needed week off!

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***)

 

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. 😉