Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Christmas in Vietnam

First off, Christmas is a big deal in Vietnam. There are trees, decorations, lights, Santa Clauses and fake snow everywhere. Stores play Christmas music. People have parties. Basically everything the same as back home.

Every school has a tree and lots of decorations, and every school has a big Christmas party. This is one of my favorite schools.

There's a giant tree set up at our mall (3 stories tall) that you can climb up and take selfies. And every store is full of decorations and presents.

The one thing that they don't seem to have in Vietnam, is stockings. We looked all over to find (relatively cheap) stockings for all 10 of us roommates. We hung them on the stairs and secretly filled them with treats for each other for days before our roommate Christmas party.

We also all pulled eachother's names for Secret Santa, and had to buy and wrap presents for eachother without the other roommates knowing. Which wasn't easy in such a small household. Also, as you can see, we sort of built a tree haha.

We filled the house with lights and decorations.

We made lots of food and got all the roommates together. Jojo, our Vietnamese roommate invited some of her friends as well.

We all grabbed our stockings, counted to three, and ripped them open.

Mine was basically filled with junk food, headache medicine, and Flamin Hot Cheetos socks. (The picture of the guy is an inside joke. Don't ask)

 Then we opened our Secret Santa gifts. And everyone got such a personal, thoughtful gift.

I got these headphones. Which are the nicest headphones I've ever owned and are exactly what I wanted. I'm super happy with these (thank you Skyler!)

And we played some games, and had some drinks.

It was sooo much fun.

On Christmas Eve we had a Christmas dinner delivered.

Complete with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and more.

Brought straight to our door in tupperware containers.

And for actual Christmas, we moved around the furniture and put our spare mattress on the floor to make the living room into one big bed.

My roommates made a big breakfast, and we sat around our living room/bed. Ate good food, drank boozy coffee, opened presents, watched Christmas movies, and played games all day.

I've been pretty sick this week (both physically, and homesick haha) but it was a very nice, cozy, lazy day. and as long as we stayed inside with the AC cranked it was easy to pretend it wasn't 90 degrees outside. I love my roommates a lot, and I am so thankful for our home here. :)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Vietnam: Weeks 33-36 (or what I did in November/December)

Okay so here I am playing catch up again. Life is so easy here and moves so quickly I forget to post all the time and all of a sudden it had been a month since I posted so...here.

So, one: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not a holiday here at all. And my roommates don't necessarily care. So it wasn't a big deal.

But I like it. So I made little Thank You cards for each of my roommates telling them why I'm thankful for them (they really are the best)

Shoe picked up a bunch of pastries from a bakery on her way home. (And someone's drinking a coconut apparently. Just to remind you that this is Vietnam)

And we had wine, fried chicken and mashed potatoes delivered to our house. (Because Vietnam will deliver literally anything. Including bottles of wine.)

So uh. Not exactly traditional. But still fun.

Two: The final roommate birthday.
My roommate John's birthday was last week. And by weird coincidence there are no more roommate birthdays until May. We've done them all.

So we ordered pizza and drank beers and played Pictionary.

And opened presents of course.

We also had a Christmas party last week, but I'll save that for a big Christmas post in the next week or two. So here are just some random pictures.

Getting street food. As per usual.

Watching Shoe and Tuna paint their bikes. And yes it's still hot, perpetual summer here. And rainy season is basically over so it's lovely.

Bia Set once again.

Also been going to a ton of shows lately which has been a lot of fun.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Vietnam: Week 32 (in which we celebrate teacher's day)

So apparently Teacher's Day is a holiday that exists in basically every country (including the U.S. even though I'd never heard of it). In Vietnam they celebrate Teacher's Day on November 20th and it's kind of a big deal. 

The Thursday beforehand we got the day off, and they held a big party for all of the teachers. It's enormous because our company runs like...10 different schools. And each of those schools has a ton of different campuses with a ton of different teachers.

Mostly it's boring. Because it's hours long and the first hour or so is just people taking pictures (my phone was dying the whole time so sorry but I have very few pictures). 

Vietnamese people love to take pictures.

There are all these things set up to take pictures in front of. These are the Vietnamese teachers from one of my schools (I stole this from facebook don't tell them). Everyone is super fancy and pretty so it's fun to see. The long dresses with the slit on the side is traditional Vietnamese dress. 

 Each of the different school's have a little display set up. Also for taking pictures in front of (also stole this off facebook. Don't tell). 

This is the banquet hall where the actual ceremony is. There's a lot of talking and award giving (all in Vietnamese of course) and it's also pretty boring. But in between the different awards there are performers from the different schools. Mostly singing and dancing with lots of pretty costumes and music and stuff. It was really cool but unfortunately I don't have pictures of that either.

Then they serve a huge meal. It was very similar to the wedding I went to back in April. They serve you plate after plate after plate and constantly fill your glasses. Vietnamese parties are all essentially the same. Of course I don't have any pictures of the food for you. But it was delicious. And then the teacher's from one of my school made me take a ton of selfies with them before I could go home haha.

On the actual day of Teacher's Day kids bring tons of gifts for their teachers. Tons of flowers and gift baskets and cookies and all kinds of things. 

This is one of the schools I work at. The entire shelf behind the main desk is filled with gift baskets. And there were even more in the back room. And this is just a school that does English lessons. I can't imagine what it's like at the real schools. Definitely something we should have in the United States though, haha.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Vietnam: Week 31

Last week Shoe's friend came to visit from Oregon, and this week the two of them and Dylan and Meagan are in Cambodia. So I've just been hanging out at home alone mostly. But here's some pictures of us eating delicious food.