Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SYA Viet Nam

            Today was my first day of school, and even though it feels like I am starting much later than everyone back in Santa Barbara, but it has actually only been 8 school days, so that’s not really that much time compared to how long I am here for, 171 days (now 167). But enough technical mathematic stuff, lets shift gears and get back to the real reason your reading this, because the blog’s all about me!

            Last night I forgot to set my alarm clock (well it wasn’t so much that I forgot but I fell asleep before I could get to it), but never fear valuable reader, I didn’t wake up late and miss school, it was the opposite, I actually woke up early, around 5:30, and spent some time writing. After about an hour or so, I was called down for breakfast, which consisted of noodles, some beef and vegetables. Soon after that, around 7ish, we headed out to the street to get a cab, we wanted there to be plenty of time for me to get to school. Once safely in the cab, I said goodbye to my host mother and was off into the hectic, messed up, and overall perplexing nightmarish traffic jam that would even leave the most aggressive NY cab driver curled up in a ball in the back of his cab crying. After about 20 minutes of nearly being broadsided by everything from motorbikes to large buses, we finally arrived at the school early, and was ready to start my day, taking that cab ride is better at waking you than any coffee ever will be.

Front view of the house, from just outside the gate
            Our school is on the second floor of the French center of the National University, you have to go through a gate at the top of the steps, and its really cool because to open it you have to use your thumb print, which I think is just the coolest thing, it makes me feel like every time I walk in I am entering some secret government facility. But anyway, back to the tour, it is kind of hard to explain the layout, so I will but pictures of it with my next blog, but that part that I can explain is that there are two classrooms, an student lounge, a teachers lounge/office, and a main office.

            Our first class, Vietnamese, started at 8, at that time 3 students still weren’t there, so our director just talked with us about our night and families. Then after about 15 minutes, one was still missing, so we started, we learned the alphabet today, it is roughly the same, except there is no F, J or Z, and a few additional variations of A, E, D and O, and U. Finally the last student arrived after being stuck in a half hour traffic jam. Our next class was Vietnamese history; this class is taught by Mr. Vuong, it is a mix of history, and also Vietnamese culture as well. Following history we had Economics, which was taught by Thay Chuck, he is a teacher from New Mexico, and also has a PHD. In econ we started with a little project where we split into groups of two, and got a sheet of paper that had 24 boxes on it, the instructions were to create a zoo within 24 acres and include at least two of the same animals and it is impossible to have every animal, so we had to make choices. Anyway our next class was English, in English we went over the first book that we will be reading, Catfish and Mandala. For the rest of the day, we had lunch close by at a fast food kind of place, it wasn’t really fast food like what you are probably thinking of, it is fast in the sense that they already cooked it and just serve it to you fast, its not a cheese burger or anything like that. After lunch, we had math, where we worked on some math problems that would help place us in our class, and after that we had AP environmental science, where we went over the year and what APES was exactly. By the time school was over, it was around 4 o’clock, and we all walked over to a store on campus where they sell notebooks, binders and pens and such for some much needed supplies. After returning to school, I relaxed in the student lounge for a while then it was time to head on home, but little did I know how long it was going to take to get a cab! There were 5 of us waiting, but I was sharing a cab with another student from the group, Anna, who lives close to me so we carpool, or I guess, taxipool. After waiting for about 40 minutes or so, all of a sudden 5, yes five, cabs all show up at the same time, even though we called close to 50 minutes before. Its like they were waiting for each other to show up before they all drove in because they were afraid to drive in alone.

            I arrived home around 6:30, my host mom was the only one home, because my host dad was at a lecture and my host sister was at a language class. So it was just the two of us at dinner. Next I went to go work on my homework, which was mostly reading. Well we’ve come to the conclusion of another exiting day, stay tuned for more!

1 comment:

  1. Andrew, your writing is so funny -- I'm smiling the whole time I'm reading. And I love the pictures!
    lol mm