5:30am on Wednesday my alarm went off so I got up and dressed ready to go for a walk, looking forward to meeting Tuyền on Cầu Rào bridge, then realised it was raining! I know I probably should have gone up and down the stairs a few times for exercise, but I must admit I went back to bed instead...
Then at 8am Tùng came and picked me up and took me to the Nam Phap Church class. Yesterday while at Quán Nam Hotel, I met Josie - an Aussie teacher who has been here for 10 weeks and is teaching at VAIE. She invited me to come and take the class this morning, so when I arrived unannounced there was much surprise. Tuấn Anh is the monitor now, since Xuân now has a job. Since I jumped in as teacher, I didn't take any photos... but of the 34 students present, I recognised a dozen faces from last year.
After the class it was pouring rain, so we waited a while for it to ease a bit, then a bunch of us went to The Loving Hut for a vegetarian lunch.
Tarzan, Tran Anh, Tùng, Nguyệt, Công, Tuấn Anh, Trung Ho, Du Anh , and Lan.
It was still raining heavily when we left the restaurant... just as well I bought a rain cape yesterday when Khánh and I walked around the block. Tùng brought me home again and I had a bit of a nap and a quiet afternoon.
When it finally stopped raining, I phoned Mr Cường and surprised him. When he arrived to take me to Big C he gave me a big hug! Although I have a big room with a big fridge, there is space for a kitchen area, but no facilities. So far they have provided me with a single gas burner and a marble top table, but nothing else. I needed to buy at least some plates and cutlery for even though I don't plan on cooking much, I still need to be able to fix something to eat occasionally. The hotel is a bit out of the way and I haven't explored the nearest eating places yet.
Even though I didn't buy much food-wise, I had plenty of bags to hang off the motorbike on the ride home. Mr Cường asked me if the hotel is "your how?" (your house) and when I said yes he shook his head and said "Number 5, number 5..." Hmmm.
Dawn this morning was clear skies, so this time I set out for my walk and met Tuyền on Cầu Rào bridge. It was just like old times ... brisk walk, hot and sweaty, great conversation...
Later on, Khánh picked me up and we dropped in on Jutta's Nam Phap Church Class.. many of the same students from yesterday..
... and Madame Tra as well! Jutta is looking very fit, obviously enjoying life in Việt Nam. She is a great teacher.
I had an appointment with Ann at VAIE at 10am, so Khánh dropped me off. What a lovely warm welcome... starting with the security guard, the receptionist and then the teachers in the staff room... Frank, Trung, Sun, Josie and Ann. John and Melissa and Graham are still on staff, but away at the moment (in China and Australia), and there are 3 newbies - Josie, and 2 I have yet to meet. It was so lovely to see them. Lina has just started back from maternity leave, so it will be lovely to see her... can't wait to meet her new baby!
Ann is happy to give me some classes during the week, which is wonderful, since I will only be available for teaching for 2 months this year. She suggested that I should plan to return next year in May ... hmmm - that's just in time for summer - hmmm... Mr Cường came and gave me a ride home - just like old times. And I had a luxurious nap for 2 hours!!
Khánh came over and we went to our regular restaurant on Văn Cao for dinner. I had phở bò ... first time this year. And I actually remembered to stop talking long enough to pull out my camera this time LOL
After dinner he dropped me home to wait for Hà and Thảo to come over. they went to the wrong hotel at first, so we had to rush to get to the theatre to see a movie from the German Film Festival. I don't know what it was called, but it was an enjoyable movie. This year they had English as well as Vietnamese sub-titles, so i didn't have to guess what was going on...
We stopped off for Chè on the way home. We don't have anything remotely like Chè in Australia - it's just delicious. Tomorrow the girls will graduate. Both of them are working now, so I may not see them as often as I'd like. We must get together again soon and just sit and chat!
A friend of Jutta's, Hà, Jutta, Thảo, Ban and Khánh.