Will try my best to keep you updated and to have some record for myself, so here goes .
I’m so grateful I chose to wear the knee length, “stretchy” blue skirt today as the reason will become clear. So much is happening so fast, I can only capture snippets, at best.
After a glorious and much needed night’s sleep I started my day responding to emails from my 2 “Directors” Mr. Hung & Mr. Luan. Mr. Luan said Mr. Hung would pick me up at 8:00am to show me the canteen where I could have breakfast. Mr. Luan asked if I needed to go shopping or had gotten a SIM card. At 7:30 there was a knock on the door. Luckily, I was close to being ready. Mr. Hung had purchased a SIM card and helped me set up my phone. I now have a Vietnamese number and can contact and be contacted easing the slight, OK, maybe more than that, panic I felt at not being able to contact anyone, especially since I hadn’t been able to connect my computer to the WiFi.
Once my phone was set up, we walked down the stairs and I was given my first scooter ride across “campus” to the canteen – a small outside kitchen with stools and tables very much like PreK, so I felt right at home. We were joined by the Head of their English Language Studies department, Mrs. Trang, who was very anxious to speak with me and request that I work with her department in addition to the Early Childhood Department. She will also be my translator and would like as much information ahead of time about my workshops and presentations, which is good because it will force me to plan ahead. She has also offered to provide me some tutoring in Vietnamese.
I returned to my room, via 2nd scooter ride, hoping to have time to prepare for my introduction tomorrow, but that was 9:00 this morning and I am just returning to my room at 3:30 after having a full day attending a presentation about colleges in the US by two lovely Vietnamese women who work for the American Consulate in Ho Chi Minh, both studied in the US and both speak english fairly well. After their presentation, we were all invited to a business lunch with the Minister of the College and some Japanese businessmen and other members of the Ben Tre faculty and business community. Another gratitude is having a strong stomach because out of politeness, I’ve eaten many things that have been challenging as well as many delicious things and several No, No’s from DHMC travel clinic.
After lunch there was much discussion and confusion, in Vietnamese, about the “plan” getting a few food supplies for me. The two women from the US Consulate were going to drop me off in front of the Ministry and Education Bldg. on their way back to Ho Chi Minh, and a third year English student from Ben Tre was going to meet me and take me to the supermarket. This was the 3rd and most exciting scooter ride, well actually the ride home was much longer and much more exciting because were were carrying the bananas, avocados, yogurt, tea and towels I had purchased and navigating much more traffic. I’m grateful I still have fairly good balance and rode horses when I was younger since my driver was very petite and the littlest shift in my weight would impact the whole scooter! There seem to be at least 5 motor scooters for every vehicle. Ahhhh, I just love the adventure!
Go with the Flow: In the two short days I’ve been here, each time I thought I knew or understood “The Plan,” (Matt & Sonya, you know about this), something changed, so far, always for the better. As someone who, at least likes the pretense of having a plan, knowing what’s going to happen, aka, being in control, this is somewhat of a challenge for me, again in a good way, and one I don’t readily leave myself open to. Leaving Mr. Hung at 8:30 this morning, the plan was I would work in my room and then meet with him at 3:00, and he would take me to the supermarket so I could buy a few food supplies and a towel. Luckily, many other things happened and my work will have to wait until tomorrow. . . .