did I really just eat that?

Tuy Hoa Travel Blog

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Went to the orphanage twice today, in the morning and after lunch.  In the morning I brought beads for Thu.  Turns out she's not much of a girly girl.  She really liked using the scissors and cutting the string but lost interest with the beads pretty quickly.  She let me make her a necklace.  I put it on and took a pic and she smiled!!!! looking at herself on the camera.  But as soon as that was over she had me take it off of her.  The "mothers" at the orphanage, the women paid to take care of the children, they loved the beads!! They kept asking me to make them bracelets and necklaces.  They were all having a great time.  They even made some jewelry for Thai (a 13 year old boy, whose not very attractive, can't take care of himself, can't communicate or move in anyway).  It's a good sign.  If enriching the lives of the mothers helps them take care of the kids then I'll make them necklaces every day.

The highlight of the morning for Thu was when I brought out a seashell I had picked up in NZ.  I put it up to her ear and she was completely mesmerised by the sound of the ocean.  She ran around to all the moms and babies holding it up to there ears.  Noone really responded to her, but she still seemed pleased. 

In the afternoon I brought clothes for the 16 year old mentally retarded girl.  She's such a nice quiet girl.  She loves affection but doesn't demand it.  She sat on the floor with the clothes and immediately started folding them.  She's always taking care of the children that the moms ignore, the non cute ones or the ones with disabilities.  It's a crazy thing to comprehend that a 16 year old girl with the mental capacity of a 7 year old is caring for multiple handicap children. 

I brought Thu some construction paper for her to cut up.  She liked that.  I also brought her markers and glitter glue.  She didn't have alot of ideas on what to do with it.  She only used the black marker (the one I took out of the box) and she just scribbled black lines down in rows.  Kind of like sentences in a book.  She went down the page over and over again.  I started showing her how to write her name and she did real well with the "T" and "H" but had some trouble keeping her "u" from looking like an "o".  She didn't get frustrated though, she just turned her attention away. 

She's been speaking vietnamese to me, which is great for her to be talking, but clearly I have no clue what she's saying.  So I've just started repeating everything she says.  She gets a kick out of it and I'm hoping she'll start to repeat everything I say.  This will make it easier for me to teach her english words.

I had a great conversation in English with a 13 year old girl whose been going to school and studying english for 6 years.  She understood me pretty well and she wants to grow up and either be a doctor or an architect and she wants to travel to America, her name was Minh, she's the daughter of one of the orphanage "mothers".

When Thu was done with the constuction paper she pulled out the paints I had brought her the other day.  She took the marker out of my hand and replaced it with a paint brush, I got the hint.  She doesn't understand painting within the lines or painting with one color.  She dips her paint brush in all the paint and makes a brown color that she smears all over the page.  Most children her age don't do this and I'm hoping she'll learn quickly once in kindergarten.

I'm a little concerned about corruption affecting me and Thu directly, as this is known as one of the most corrupt nations.  And what happened was at first i ws told her enrollment in kinde would be 15 USD a month and the next day they said $32 soo i'm wondering where this money is going.  I'll be doing some more research on that before giving any of the donations away.

For dinner this evening we were invited to a party at the sea food restaurant along the water.  It was a nice place, high class for Tuy Hoa standards.  University professors from Saigon, govt. officials from Tuy Hoa, businessmen like Saigon Beer company owner, and an assortment of others were all gathered to celebrate the first day of school tomorrow.  We're having another party tomorrow morning.  I'll be wearing the vietnamese dress I had tailored.  We need to be very formal since we're in front of a thousand students and being introduced as teachers.  The dinner party was a hoot.  Drunk vietnamese are so funny all they want to do is toast you and they're constantly refilling your wine glasses.  Delat wine is not very good but they give you these cubes of lemon (look like little turds) and you put it in your wine to sweeten it.  They served all kinds of fish.  Including a salad of greens with jellyfish mixed in, tentacles and all.  Well i had to try it.  It was like salty, chewy jello.  Not terrible though. 

Afterwards we went out for ice cream.  I had durian ice cream, tastes just like the fruit, not a fan.

Getting up at 5 tomorrow because the ceremony starts at 630!  Better get some sleep it's past midnight.

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Tuy Hoa
photo by: MarnieElder