Friday, September 9, 2011

Settling in to Ha Noi

These past few days, Tuesday and Wednesday, where mainly days where I am adjusting to my new schedule, which is both pleasantly familiar and shockingly foreign, often at the same time. Example, back stateside, I awake every morning, run downstairs and eat a quick breakfast, then I head for school by car. In Ha Noi I do all the same things, however, I don’t usually have noodles for breakfast, or beef or chicken, and I don’t usually sit down for breakfast, I am more used to eating a microwave breakfast burrito as I franticly move through the house at around 6:30 because some genius invented the “zero” period. Luckily we don’t have a zero period here, but what we do have is a half hour of suppressed panic attacks as we make our way through the overly crowded streets of Ha Noi. So I am sure those of you at home reading this right now must be asking yourself the question, “ What do you prefer?” I’ll take the panic attacks.

Tuesday and Wednesday started very much the same, wake up around 5:45- 6, sit in bed for a few minutes trying to remember where it is exactly that I am, after figuring that out I start to wonder why. Then I head downstairs, where my host family is preparing breakfast, it usually consists of a bread roll, either cream cheese, bree cheese (I know it’s spelled wrong), or some sort of German cheese, or if I’m lucky all three! Usually accompanying it is some sort of broth, with noodle and meat. As you can probably tell I eat very well here. Next on the agenda is the grabbing of my backpack and walking out to the main street. I live around 7 klicks south of my school. Most of the other students live much closer, but there are two of us very close to each other, around a quarter mile or so. And as previously mentioned, we taxi pool together in the morning and most afternoons, although there have only been three so far so it’s a little early to say most. I have not yet seen a major traffic accident in Ha Noi, although the trip is still young, and not to sound weird or “pessimistic”, but I’m sure I’ll see at least one by the time I leave, although I must say the drivers here are pretty skilled. One way I try to describe the traffic flow here is it is kind of like water flowing it a two way river, now it’s time to put your imagination hats on, imagine that your hand is a car, and the river is the constant flow of motorbikes, with the occasional stick flowing by too, those are cars, and also there is a major lumber mill up stream so some massive logs go sailing by too occasionally, those are the busses.  As you put your hand in the water, it moves out of the way for you, and the street traffic here is the same way, you can just go cruising on into the street here, and the motorbikes move out of your way, like water in a river. Now occasionally a log comes your way, in this case there is no compromising with it (the busses here are notorious for being rude and unaccommodating to the walking public). Now that took longer than I thought, hmm what was I talking about? Oh yeah witnessing a major traffic collision. Anyway moving on, I’ve already described the drive before, so I won’t bore you with the details. Next we arrive at school, yesterday, Wednesday, our cab driver went an odd way, and even thought we left at around 7:30, we didn’t get to school until around 8:20, so that was kind of embarrassing. But it wasn’t our fault so I won’t lose any sleep thinking about it, although I’m thinking about it right now while typing and I could be sleeping right now so does that count? Just a bit of food for thought to keep you alert and on your toes while reading cause you never know what’s going to happen. So for the rest of school we just went through our normal schedule, not a whole lot of memorable events. At lunch, our group walked over to a small outdoor restaurant where they serve all sorts of different meats and vegetables. They even put it in a box so it’s mobile. After our lunch, we returned to school where we had math. So far as of right now, Thursday, we have had about 3-4 schedule changes, because it’s still the first week, and they’re still working out all the kinks in the schedule. How many more there will be, I know not. On Tuesday we have an early release day, because that is the time that we work on our service projects. But for the first few weeks we aren’t working so we just use this time to write or just hangout. Monday, Wednesday and Friday though we have class until about 4 o’clock. So when school ends usually I walk to the front of the campus and there are usually a line of cabs and you can just hop in. None of the cab drivers actually speak English, and I don’t speak much Vietnamese, so it’s usually ends up being really awkward. Because I’ll start out by saying hello, in Vietnamese, and then they start speaking really fast to me and I just stare at them blankly, and in my head wishing I could tell them, “NO HABLO”.  But eventually they figure out that I don’t know a word they’re saying, and we drive onward into the smog, hoping that they know where it is exactly they are taking me. So far they have not gotten lost yet, but I do have to give them some directions once we get close. After arriving home, I work on my homework just like the rest of y’all back home, then around 7 head down for dinner. Usually dinners here in Vietnam, and meals, contain some sort of meat, be it beef, chicken, seafood, or what have you, a secondary meat dish, vegetables, and rice or noodles. It is all amazing and I feel bad when I can’t eat all of it, because it is also very filling. Also a funny little excerpt for those of you reading this for the awkward and embarrassing moments, I accidentally called the meal last night “very expensive” instead of very good, which we laughed at after I realized what I had said, people are very forgiving here. And after dinner, I head up stairs, tipity type out my blogs on my computer and post them at night here, which is the morning for you in America, and that way they are posted in the morning with plenty of time to read them during the day.

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1 comment:

  1. Okay. I'm all caught up with your blogs and I just love them -- I'm going to savor each and every one and enjoy Viet Nam along with you.
    lol mm