Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
More from Vietnam
Hello! I hope that each of you had a happy Easter celebration! Our service at chrch began at 7:00 am instead of the usual 8:00. This felt way too early for me, but most people get up between 5:00 and 6:00, so it doesn’t seem early to them. I am reminded of their early rising habits every time someone invites me for breakfast or coffee in the morning. They always want to go at or before 7:00. I really try to encourage my friends to go out with me in the afternoon. Since we teach in the evenings until about 9:00 pm, it’s hard to get to bed early, and therefore even more difficult to get up early.
I’ve mainly been working on plans for next year’s teachers. There have been many e-mails, texts, and phone calls going on between the schools and me. Usually we only meet with a few schools because we return to the same schools each year. Thankfully, Andrea, my boss, and I have meetings with two different universities. This is a good thing, but also adds a lot of extra meetings and decisions that need to be made.
We will be in Da Nang from Tuesday through Sunday. We will be meeting, likely more than once, with three English centers, two universities, the teachers, and thankfully, our university contact who is helping us prepare for the meetings. It is really helpful to have a Vietnamese person helping us negotiate with the schools because she has worked in the business world here for many years, and can guide us in the right direction. While all of this is going on, someone has to teach my classes, so that is one of the areas where "Boo-Boo" is being a huge help. She’ll stay in OUR CITY and teach all week. She’s also helped me write e-mails and go to some of the preliminary meetings. Please lift Andrea, "Boo-Boo" and me up as we go to meetings and make decisions as to where to send the teachers next year. Also, please pr*y that we will be able to stay calm and joyful in the midst of the busyness and stress.
In the midst of preparing for the meetings, we’ve still been going out with our students and friends. We have to keep the coffee shops in business!
Thanks for your pr*yers and support! It always means a lot, but especially during the difficult weeks. We appreciate you! I hope you have a great week!
Friday, April 6, 2012
More from our friends in Vietnam
Hello! I hope that you are having a good week preparing for Easter! I always miss the Holy Week services at ch*rch, but my thoughts are with everyone there.
On Saturday, I was asked to interview job candidates at the central gover*ment office in OUR CITY. They needed to hire a translator, so they wanted me to interview the candidates and do the interviews for them. As you all know, I struggle with Vietnamese. When I showed up at the office and was alone with the senior g0vernment official, who only spoke Vietnamese, I panicked a bit. Thankfully, we had a great conversation. Granted, it probably had dozens of grammatical errors, but we had a good time laughing and talking about our families, or more like, why I am not married.
This seems to be the number one topic of conversation when I meet new people. I guess it could be worse. The newly married couple who lives in Danang are constantly asked if they have any children, and why they are not yet pregnant since they have been married for more than two years. This is a real puzzle in the Vietnamese culture. I guess I should be thankful that all I have to answer about is my lack of a husband.
After the interviews that day, we took the public van to Danang for a weekend full of meetings with teachers and school contacts. The van is supposed to hold about 15 people. There were about 22-25 in the van on Saturday. This is actually fairly good compared to other times we’ve taken the van. I was just thinking how thankful I was that I had a seat and didn’t have to sit on top of anyone when two men started smoking. At first I just wanted to grab the cigarettes out of their hands and throw them out the window, but then we just had to laugh. Only in Vietnam!
While we were in Danang, we met with one of our university contacts. We were having a pretty serious conversation, and she asked why our organization wants out of English centers and universities. I was beginning to explain that we really want to have relationships with students, therefore teaching little children isn’t meeting our goal. All I had to say was, “Well, at the centers, the teachers must teach a lot of children.” “Oh!”, she gasped. “I completely understand. Children are so noisy and disruptive. I don’t like teaching them either.”
I was so relieved that she understood and didn’t push the issue of why we are wanting to go into universities. She is currently setting up a meeting next week with the president of one of the universities in Danang. Please pr*y that this goes the way that G0d wants it to go. Even though I think it would be wonderful, it may not be His will. And that is really all we want.
Another funny moment in Danang was hearing the American couple that I mentioned earlier tell about their cat being spayed. They have had this cat since they arrived in Danang, and wanted to make sure she didn’t have kittens. They took her to one of the few veterinarians in Vietnam, who gave them four pieces of rope and told them to tie each one on to each of her paws. They then put the cat on the table, stomach up, with a paw tied to each corner of the table. The vet asked if they wanted to watch the surgery. They fervently shook their heads no, so he told them to go out and get coffee, and then to come back in an hour. Needless to say, their poor cat is a bit traumatized by the experience. The vet’s office isn’t anything like it is in the States, either. There is just a table in the front room of the vet’s house, and when someone comes into the office, which is only open on the weekends since he has another job, he turns off the tv, puts on his white coat, and comes out to help you.
Another funny moment this week was when I was studying Vietnamese with David. Somehow we got onto the topic of the death penalty. He explained that 10 years ago in Vietnam, if someone was found to be guilty of certain crimes, they would take them to the public square, tie them to a tree, invite the town to come and watch, and then a firing squad would kill the person. He was quick to tell me, though, that these days it is much different. The difference is that now after they tie the person to the tree, they give them a needle shot in the heart so that they can’t feel the gun shot. Wow! It makes the American system sound like a fairy tale.
Please keep us in your prayers, especially as my boss, Andrea, comes next week for meetings. We will be in Da Nang almost all week meeting with universities and English Centers. We are pr*ying that G0d will open the right doors and close the wrong ones. The last two weeks, as I’ve been working with the schools, have been a huge challenge. The longer we work at the English centers, the more favors they expect. This is just part of the culture, which is opposite of how it is in the States. Please pr*y for us to have good attitudes and not to let this make us bitter toward any of the Vietnamese administrators.
Thanks for all of your pr*yers and support! We couldn’t be here without your help! It really is a team effort here in Vietnam. We need each one of you! Our sincerest thanks goes out to you! I hope that you have a blessed week!