Ramble on Rose (with the usual Dick) travel blog

Saturday mornings are very noisy

Naughty monkey (he just won't quit trying to pull my pants down)

Rosies baby class (graduation ceremony)

A rather pleasant little class

The future of Vietnam (busy with his sticker book)

How the wee sprites get to school

Hello there. Sorry it's been so long since we've written. We both have tried several times to write an entry but have ended up deleting what we've written. It never seems to sound quite right. We both agree that it's harder to write now we're staying put for a bit. We haven't wanted to bore you with the not so thrilling deatils of everyday life. However, it's high time we told you at least something.

We're half way through the trip now and half way through the teaching also. We can't decide whether we're pleased about that or not. We're settled and happy here and life is normal enough to feel safe, but it's interesting enough to keep us engaged. Just when you think this palce can't get any stranger, you see something to change your mind. The things that people transport on scooters is one of the greatest sources of amusement. The loudness of the music is also another gem. Sometimes on our way to work, we hear "Feed the World" blasting out of one of the electrical stores. That's pretty stange in mid march. Sometimes i look around at where we are and wonder how I manage to remain calm amidst all the strangeness but i feel very safe here.

I have recently submitetd an sample article to a local magazine here in the hope of getting some extra work. The magazine's called Saigon Inside Out and it's quite a good little read for the expats and travellers living in here. They have given me my first article to write. I have to find the best smoothie in saigon. And it's causing many sleepless nights aswell. I know it sounds like a wonderful assignment but i'm having to get motorbike taxis all round the city, drinking one after the other and finding them all pretty much the same, so wondering how to get creative about smoothies. I'm averaging at about a three a day habit. The scooter drivers must wonder about me. My vietnamese coming along ok but not enough to explain to them. I submit the article on Thursday, i'll let you know if it gets accepted.

Talking of smoothies, should be getting back to it..... Keep the messages coming.

x x x

Richard now, just a short comment on teaching English here in Vietnam, well, tis very interesting. The photographs you can see at the top of the page are of some of our weekend morning classes. these are the little people, and the lessons mostly involve running, sweating, shouting, chilli, a little bit of sick, loads of crisps and sweets, and more noise and chaos than is generally acceptable for 7.30 on a sunday morning. The lessons usually start off with the boys of the class trying to 'smackdown' me, which usually entails a 'pile on' situation, resulting in me looking very bedraggled, my shirt untucked and half undone and my tie knot the size of a peanut.

Once they have this over and done with, we need to keep them entertained for two hours, with songs, games and general daftness on our part. It can feel a little strange sometimes, running round the room after 25 Asian children shouting 'where's the lunchroom' but it gets the point across. Rosie and I also teach the real small ones (the ones that like to put ants in your shirt pocket), where we have two hours to get them to say, 'hello' and 'hi' and 'red'. They're very sweet, but can be such a handful, especially after the break, when they have had time to stock up on Coffee (the kids like iced coffee made with sweetened condensed milk), chilli powder wrapped up in rice paper and prawn crisps called 'poca'. All this food, and coffee makes them super hyperactive and incredibly smelly, so on returning from our 10 minute break the classroom is usually stinking, sweaty, hyperactive mess, just the right environment for teaching 'where's my wallet' 'it's under a tree'.

Aside from the weekend madness we both teach a selection of teenage classes, dealing with more complicated English. They can be a bit of a challange, as they are a bit too 'cool' and spend the majority of the time trying to chat in Vietnamese to their friends. When any lesson goes well though, it feels very rewarding, especially when at the end of it the students can use the language that you've been teaching. I've recently started an adult class for two hours on a Friday, which is without a doubt the most enjoyable and rewarding lesson. the students range from 21 - 45 (they think i'm 17 for some reason), and are all extremely keen, which means that we can look at the more subtle side of conversational English.

All in all i think both of us are enjoying the challange of teaching English a great deal. It's a very creative and interesting job, and very rewarding when the lesson goes well, and even if it doesn't, it's always very amusing.

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