And that's just what they do!
I am not sure if I have ever walked so much in my life, and the year has just begun. I really am thankful for the exercise, but I have definitely noticed how tired my legs are at the end of the day. It takes about 10 minutes (minimum) to walk from our apartment on campus to the nearest food shop, market, little store or post office. I cannot get a moto (since this is my first year in Asia), and I have not yet braved the one team bicycle. There is definitely a major sense of losing independence- I miss Charlie (my Chevy Cavalier), and I miss the bus system in Hanoi. There are taxis available here- although it is pricey ($2.00 on average one way to the center of town). Ok, definitely not expensive compared to the States, but it adds up here :) I also have to think ahead more about what I want to accomplish on my outings, and give myself a big chunk of time to get things done. Everything takes longer here- errands by foot, cooking from scratch without a stove or microwave (just one gas burner), dishes without a dishwasher, laundry drying on the line, you name it.
Yes, there's a lot to adjust to. However, I think there is a beautiful simplicity to this life. The days are definitely full, but they do not feel so hectic or busy. Maybe that will come with time as I get to know more people here, we'll see. I am also taking in the community atmosphere of life here. I am SO individualistic in my life, so it has been a great learning experience to watch how the Vietnamese people do every part of life together- whether it be students crowded together under umbrellas, friends of the same sex walking arm-in-arm, guests crowding our bathroom to wash dishes together, or four people together on a motobike. I think so many countries understand and live out community as the Father intended us to live life together. I'm exciting to continue on this learning journey.
Anyway, that was quite a tangent... back to my point about walking...I walk everywhere unless our team leader gives me a ride on the back of her moto- which I thoroughly enjoy. For the most part, the traffic is not bad at all here in DaLat. I am EXTREMELY thankful for my chacos... they are comfortable, sturdy, and perfect for walking in the rain.
Speaking of which, I am also getting used to taking my umbrella with me every time I leave the house. It's quickly become an essential. I never used to carry an umbrella back home, but it is now part of life. A student told me today that my umbrella seemed small. It is a simple blue/white/red plaid... but it brings me joy to use it because it was my grandma's umbrella. She passed away last year, but I think she would love to know that I brought her umbrella with me to Vietnam.
Before I give these tired legs a rest for the night, I wanted to share a picture taken outside my apartment from my first day of school (9-15-08)... this time as a teacher!
PS- I would appreciate your thoughts regarding finding a good language tutor soon!!