Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cabin Fever

So I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I can’t WAIT for school to start tomorrow. Christine and I have only taught two classes each so far, and that is not NEARLY enough to keep ourselves focused on our jobs at Can Tho instead of obsessing over our current physical conditions. We both look like lepers with the amount of mosquito bites we have. There’s no internet in our house, probably never will be. We’ve tried four different Vietnamese internet companies and all have refused to give us access. They don’t “believe” that we’re here for as long as we say we are. They won’t sign contracts with “foreigners” because we might just up and leave. Even a signed contract from Can Tho university by the HEAD of the Education department won’t cut it for these people. They just don’t trust us. Is it because we’re white?!?!

Every time I get fed up with the heat, or the slowness of the people, or the bugs, or anything else, I just have to keep telling myself one thing: I CHOSE to come here. I knew what would be in store for me, so I can’t feel too bad for myself.

Oh, and more about the bugs: mosquitoes suck, but I have cream to defend myself from their attacks. Little geckoes roam free on our walls and ceilings, but they never end up in my bed, so they’re presence doesn’t irk me too much. Also, they eat mosquitoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner – HUGE bonus! However, I thought we would be centi-and millipede free. Guess what? We’re not! Upon arriving home from the post office about twenty minutes ago, I saw a dried-up, hundred-legged creature right next to my hardwood sofa. Lovely. If one of those ends up in my bed, I just might be on the next flight home to New York.

If it weren’t for the kind nature of the (majority) of Vietnamese people, the perspective on my experience here would be vastly different. Having a few other English-speaking teachers as neighbors helps, too. The students, as I’ve said, are so sweet but so shy, so it will take at least a few more weeks for all of them to get acclimated to their new classroom environment with a REAL, live American teacher!

Black Hawk Down is currently playing on HBO for the millionth time this week. I guess it’s cool that the only two English-language channels we get are HBO and Max, but they play the same movies ALL the time. I’ve been reading way more than channel surfing lately, so I guess that’s one more benefit to add to the short list I’ve got so far.

Okay, all I’ve done in this blog is whine, whine, whine, so I’ll stop now. I’ll have myself some dim sum for lunch at one of the very few but very CLEAN Chinese restaurants in town. That might make this scorchingly hot day seem a little bit better. Oh, and another thing: bathrooms. I now have the LOWEST standards ever for bathrooms. As long as it’s not a hole in the ground and there is at least half a roll of toilet paper left, that’s fine with me. You can’t ask for too much in Vietnam, after all.


  1. Sounds like Vietnam has a much less of the creature comforts then we do back Home.
    Keep your head up as beginning tomorrow you finally get to start your job.
    Hopefully after you develop a routine with work you can figure out how to get around some of the inconveniences and creepy crawly friends you are sharing your flat with. Can't wait to hear all about school.

  2. Kelly - you get used to creatures after a while. Tropics are like that. Florida & New Orleans are domestic tropical locals) and they absolutely have their share of wildlife. Don't forget the gators. I remember Mexico being full of bugs and less than commodious sanitary facilities. But that's the way it is and you will adapt after a while...and focus on other aspects. Hey - are you going to study the Vietnamese language while you are there? I see state department in your future...

  3. Thanks for all the feedback, guys! Today went way smoother than I thought it would, and all of my students are lovely. Miss everybody at home!