Thursday, October 30, 2008

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day...

Yesterday was one of those.  Well, it wasn't THAT bad.  It actually started out quite well.  I went to aerobics class with Karen- which is always a good way to start the day.  And of course on the way home on the moto, we stopped at our favorite ban mi opla place to get a delicious egg sandwich for breakfast.  After that we did a few errands- including a very exciting purchase: a three tiered desk shelf/organizer thing.  I know it might not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you, the number of paper piles all over our apartment is out of control with two of us teachers sharing an apartment- and I have over 300 students alone (not sure how many Maren has)... so I am PUMPED about my new little three shelf paper organizer thing- to say the least. Although it was a bit more pricey than I had anticipated.

Then we had our weekly team devo meeting... which was great, although some guys were in the back of Karen's apartment fixing her hot water heater... and they were smoking in her bathroom... a bit bothersome while have our meeting... but we managed just fine.  However, I had told a few of my students I would meet them at 12 for lunch.  At about 11:20 (forty minutes early) there was a knock on the door- and we were not yet finished with our devo meeting.  I felt bad for the interruption for our team's sake, and I am definitely still adjusting to these early arrivals- which are normal here.  One day I invited some girls over, and they showed up an hour early to find me just out of the shower!  Oh, dear.

So Maren came with me, and we began our trek to find some food with these Journalism students.  I have honestly enjoyed most of the food in VN, but this lunch was not one I enjoyed so much.  On top of my rice, I saw the insides of different animals... even pig intestines... and I couldn't do it (although it wasn't as bad as the hairy pig skin in my soup this weekend).  I reasoned with myself that my students hadn't made it- and they weren't eating everything on their plates either, so I just put all meat items to the side and stuck to the veggies!  To top it off, one of my students proceeds to tell me that most of the students in the Journalism class cheated on the quiz I gave them last week.  Our teachers warned us about this in our "Asia ESL" training... so I had even worked ahead to prepare two different versions of the quiz to prevent cheating.  And even though we were warned about it, I couldn't help but feel betrayed and upset that my students cheated.  ARG.  And I was frustrated that I didn't catch them.  What the heck!  I was watching SO closely!!!!  Hmmm...

Then after lunch one of the gals helped Maren and me with some items that needed repairing- a broken lamp, water kettle, cell phone, etc.  She was SO sweet to assist us and give us advice.  However, I was bummed because I had to get a new SIM card for my cell phone- which meant a new cell phone number... which is just a big hassle.  And none of my contacts carried over.  Yadda yadda.  Oh well.  As my brother Dave says, "It is what it is."  Nothing to do about it now.

In the afternoon, I had a question about my class schedule, so I tried to call the office, but no response.  So I tried to send an e-mail... but no response- and I was worried they might close and I needed to get an answer yesterday.  So I changed into "teacher" clothes, hiked up the hill to the office, and walked in- to find that the answer was being typed into an e-mail right as I walked in.  Stink.  I could've waited just a bit more and gotten the answer.  Oh, well.  It was good to say hello in person :)  I also found a package slip for my teammate Jenny when I went to the office- so it was worth it!  Since Maren also had a package slip, we decided to go for a bike ride to the Post Office in the center of town to pick up the goods.  Three foreigners riding bikes :)  I think that might have been the highlight of the day!  After successfully picking up the packages, we stopped at our beloved Vietnamese "Subway" (where I get 2 sandwiches because they are so small), and then we went to our favorite bakery next door (Lien Hoa) to get a brownie to share for dessert.  It was dark by the time we rode back to our apartments.

I had planned to do lesson plans in the evening, but then got distracted by Skype.  I connected with my parents briefly, and when I saw them on the webcam, I got a big lump in my throat and was instantly homesick.  :(  Then I got emotional about all of the people back home that I love and miss.  So I went out my back door to process with my team leader Karen . . . which was great . . . except that I totally locked Maren (my roommate) out of the back room of our two room apartment.  Our back room has our bathroom, kitchen area, and beds- so she couldn't go to bed.  Let's just say that was straw that broke the camel's back.  Really, it will probably be funny in a few months... but it wasn't so funny last night.  

Of course each day has its ups and downs... culturally, emotionally, etc... in Vietnam or the US or wherever.  I am SO thankful for our Father who is constant!  And I praise Him for His mercies that are new every morning.  I'm not sure how people cope with the ups and downs without Him!  No worries, things really are going well and I truly do love life in VN :)  After reading about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I hope you get an idea of how good things have been (as this was one of my hardest days- and it really wasn't that bad at all).  So let me close with one of my favorite quotes related to perspective:

Two women looked through bars.
One saw mud; the other saw stars.

6 comments:

Jenn said...

I love you friend.

Anonymous said...

Good blog, good perspective...sometimes it's hard to continue a thankful attitude for all the little things but you're doing great!! Love you so much and am proud of you. love,
momma

Allison said...

I can totally relate to so many of these issues. just yesterday my chinese tutor arrived when i was still brushing my teeth and i also found out that i had to reschedule all 6 of my classes for the second time in order for them to come to a fall party we hosted for them today! time and flexibility are definitely areas i've been stretched in too! know you're in my thoughts! :)

Janet said...

What incredible life lessons you're learning!

Anonymous said...

Greetings, I'm Scott and I was in VTF last year in Hanoi. Good stuff, good blog. Keep up the good work. I'm glad you guys are keeping the VTF dream alive. Remember, as Alexander said "Some days are like that, even in Australia (or Vietnam, or even the US)"

Ryan and Lizz Durbin said...

Let me just say, I totally get it. Been there cuz....love you! We're in this together! -Lizz