the locals

Went on the interview at the English school. Have to observe several classes and then do a demo before they give me a schedule. Planning to start teaching a few hours on Saturdays to start out. I have observed two classes. One of teenagers and one of kids, eight to ten year olds. The teenagers were pretty well-behaved, but the kids were a totally different story. I felt bad for the teacher. He didn't speak a lick of Vietnamese and the Vietnamese TA that normally helped him was out. Ten minutes into the class, the kids were coming up to me with their questions, thinking I was the new TA.

Some of the teenagers in the class.

Things with the house are going fairly well, the landlord is really nice. He's been in pretty often installing different appliances. Poor guy injured his toe and has been hobbling up and down the stairs for days, but its all finally done. The addition of Cable TV, ADSL, pictures on the walls, and some furniture and we might begin feeling at home. Will prolly get those things
done this weekend.

Our landlord, Anh Chi.

In other news, my cousins have been visiting often, so I rarely lack company. They like to take me out to the local resturants to eat. Went out for crab last night...Mmmmm.... my stomach though was not very happy with me this morning, I keep ignoring the fact that I'm a bit allergic to it.

In the process of getting necessities for the house, i.e. toilet paper , I managed to be held by security at a supermarket. The supermarkets here do not allow you to carry handbags into the store. What??? So I had to take out my wallet and camera and check my bag. Du insists on carrying the camera for me. As we're getting into the checkout line, a security
guard comes up to us and ask, "Did you lose something?" Du misplaced the camera! Man, not again.... so we said yes, its a Sony camera, could we have it back. Security guard must have seen Du leave it, but of course they were not going to make it that easy to get it back. They lead me to a back room where three men questioned me. "What else was with the camera, Miss?", they kept repeating. Ummm, I don't know. Its in a black camera case. Its a Sony. How many people actually own a digital camera around here. "What model number?" What??? Can you just give me the camera and I'll just show you the pictures of me on it? 20 full minutes of questioning and half of the questions were regarding why I spoke Vietnamese so well as a foreigner. Argghhhh...I seriously wanted to strangle them. Finally they give me the camera and then took their sweet time filling out a report. They took the camera back to get the model number and had no idea where to look for it, I had to point it out to them. Are you kidding me? Why the hell did they ask me for a model number in the first place when they didn't even know where to find it? I was fuming....

My cousin Anh Bi and the security guard that grilled me, so annoying...

Back at the house, life has been interesting. Been here three days now. The neighbors are generally a nice bunch, though a bit noisy and nosy at times. Saturday night I came home to find a huge birthday party in my alley, a.k.a. hem, which I didn't mind, only that all their bikes were propped against my front door and it took my cousin a while to move them so we could get in. Wonder how often this happens.

My hem at night.

Yesturday, around 6pm, all the kids picked my doorstep to sit on and played games with their shoes. Hmmm... went out to dinner and came back to find that the kids had been replaced by their mothers, just sitting there gossiping....As I unlock the door to go into the house, they took a moment to remind me to lock all my doors before I leave cause new houses have a tendency to be cleaned out, robbed around here... ummm, okay, thanks for the warning I guess, even though they know I already do that since they see me wrestle with the keys and locks every time I leave...My front door is apparently the place to be in the evenings.... Weird.. maybe its because I'm new and they are trying to get as much info on me as they can possibly

All that aside, I must say that my neighbors make some great food. Been eating breakfast in the hem instead of heading to Hideaway. I've had pho and these really cool mini ban xeos that are so good, not as good as Mom's but different cause they're mini. Haven't taken any picts yet, maybe later when I'm no longer the newbie in the neighborhood.

As for other parts of the neighborhood, I have to avoid certain streets here. There are a ton of shoes shops just around the corner and its taking all my willpower to not to go on a bit of a shopping spree and buy a couple of pairs. After all I did 10 pairs of shoes with me. You would think that would be enough, but no, shoes are my downfall.


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