Friday, November 14, 2008

What's normal?

This morning we hosted a little "Thanksgiving" party for the students in one of our Speaking classes.  My momma always said that company is good motivation- and that was SO true... last night we totally cleaned our apartment and finally got some art hung on the wall and it's such a great feeling!!  About 30 students came to our apartment, and we enjoyed mango bread (just like banana bread- except with mangos- delicious!), dragon fruit, apples, and pomelos (kind of similar to grapegruit).  We played games, explained the "Thanksgiving" holiday, and sang "Give Thanks" together.  Of course, it isn't a party without some songs in Vietnam.  It was really something to hear the students singing, "Give thanks to the Holy One..."  I was also blessed by the students each sharing what they were thankful for- although each one said the same thing- their family (parents), their friends, and their teachers- Miss Maren and Miss Suzy :)  I think most of them didn't really know what to say- so after one person shared, the rest followed suit.  However, it still made me think- how many people back home 'normally' give thanks for material things, and yet the only thing students mentioned were relationships.  Very interesting.

Our students continually look puzzled when they see two beds in our home, and ask why we don't sleep in the same bed.  That is just mind boggling to them that we would have separate beds :)  What's normal?  They also are always commenting on our knives and other kitchen utensils- brought from America... it's funny how strange our 'normal' utensils seem to them. Many students have said our 2 room apartment is very large or "high" (because the ceilings are really tall).  We are definitely thankful for our cute homes, and it's a privilege to fill it with students!  In America, I definitely felt normal- but everyday I am reminded that I am not normal with blonde hair, blue eyes, large feet (size 8.5) that do not fit any shoes in VN, and a gigantic height of 5'5''.  It also strikes them as odd if our team walks with our own umbrellas instead of sharing, or if we walk together without our arms around each other's waists.  Oh, well :)  As we do our best to be culturally appropriate and adapt, we will never be Vietnamese no matter how hard we try.  Normal is relative- and for that I am thankful!  This morning's party really got me excited about the upcoming holidays and celebrations... I even traced my hand to draw a little Turkey last night!!  Gobble Gobble.


Anonymous said... are such a life-giver. What a great idea to have the students in for the Thanksgiving party. So neat. I am amazed at all you are doing in addition to having 300 students!! Take care of yourself and enjoy some sabbath tomorrow.
Love you so much,

Ryan and Lizz Durbin said...

You are so awesome Suz - it was great to talk to you on Saturday...loved that. Miss you & so proud of all you've already accomplished. you are doing an amazing, incredible job with those girls!!! Love you, Lizz