I had my first class on Friday. I didn’t realize that the majority of the students were second-year English learners, so I felt quite embarrassed when I told them to copy the “Days of the Week” chart that I had written on the board. What I’ve noticed about Vietnamese students is that they know quite an extensive amount of the English vocabulary. Putting their knowledge to use, though, is the difficult part for them.
Since it was my first day and half of my students didn’t have their books, I spent the majority of the session getting to know them better. I asked them each to write five sentences about their life as a student. I learned that many of their families are hours away. They live in boarding houses during the school year with other students. More than a few had written “I miss my family very much” in their five-sentence description of student life.
I ended class early and got a drink with three girls and one boy, Jack. That is not his Vietnamese name, but for my sake, that’s what he goes by in English class. They also took me out to lunch afterward. And when I say took, I mean they paid for me as well. When I protested, one of my students said that it was a traditional thing in their culture to pay for a foreign visitor’s meal the first time you meet them. I said I would accept it this time, but next time was on me. They just giggled at that, which is what they seem to do every time I say something to them outside of class.
It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, but Christine and I have much to look forward to this week. We’ll be flying to Hanoi on Tuesday and coming back Thursday afternoon. It’s only a two hour flight from Can Tho, which seems like nothing after it took a day just to get to Asia!
Wednesday is Vietnam’s day of Independence, so Hanoi will certainly be busy and lots of fun. Apparently there will be lots of fireworks and celebrations everywhere. I was hoping to hear that it would be a bit cooler in Hanoi during this time of year, but supposedly, it’s even hotter than the South! Right now is the rainy season for Can Tho, and in Hanoi it’s dry. Oh well. At least our hotel will have air conditioning. Hopefully.