Backpacking Teacher

Travel, teaching and things in between. Saigon is the focus for now.

One week in the life of backpackingteacher

with 11 comments

bike 001

I’ve begun to develop a few routines in my life in here in Saigon. Mornings I wake early and get to school an hour or so before the kids arrive. This gives me enough time to get a coffee, check emails and review what I’m going to teach that day. I also get to practice the few words of Vietnamese I have learned to speak with the cleaner on my floor – which is something like hello, how are you – and then I can speak no more. Yesterday the cleaner at the school tried to set me up with a date. I politely declined (or at least I think that’s what I did) but who knows, perhaps I agreed to get married as her English is only marginally better than my Vietnamese.goat place 001 saigon 003

Back to my routine – Monday afternoons are golf, Tuesday and Wednesdays vary but I generally try to have a Vietnamese lesson on one of these days and then occasionally try to get down to a local street side goat place that some friends and colleagues frequent. Thursdays have now been set aside for tennis and then a quietish beer afterwards. Every Friday thus far has been a night out on the town and even that has ended up in a routine as, in the wee small hours of the night, there are very few places still open. Despite my best intentions to stay home or do something a little quieter, Friday nights always end up being long nights. It always seems to be somebody’s birthday, or some other type of celebration going on. Saturday therefore becomes more sober, laid back, watching rugby and perhaps a quiet trip into district 1 (the cafe/restaurant area of Saigon).

Sundays I generally spend on my bike exploring Saigon after my morning Vietnamese lessons. I love riding around and seeing Saigon on a Sunday and stopping off for a coffee when I need a break. I also thoroughly enjoy my Vietnamese lessons and my teacher, who was also the mischievous dining companion who introduced me to trung vit long (embryo in egg) in this post, is also a lot of fun. She must however find our lessons to be quiet a drag because I’m a poor student and I still can’t seem to make a connection between the way things sound and how they look on paper. Sunday evenings I generally catch a movie or do some quick prep for Monday’s lessons.

Tet 021 Tet 004

Despite the fact that I’ve begun to develop routines I haven’t had a dull or boring day in Saigon yet. If I feel even remotely bored I just head outside and I’ll see and taste things that are both unfamiliar and unexpected. Everyday is an onslaught of new words, smells, sounds and tastes. I’m still waiting for that post new country euphoria to die down and for me to enter that temporary slump where homesickness kicks in. I know it will come but, for the moment, I’m enjoying life in Saigon.


Written by backpackingteacher

February 22, 2009 at 12:05 am

Posted in expat, saigon, school, teacher

Tagged with , , , , ,

11 Responses

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  1. Sounds like a great life to me! Homesickness will kick in…but with everything…it comes in waves…like the tides…comes and goes. In the end… I hope you will still find that you like and enjoy Vietnam. It sounds like a wonderful country to be in!


    February 22, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  2. it is a great country and I guess the thing about being homesick is that when it does arrive I know that it’ll also only be temporary … your waves analogy describes it perfectly (or at least that the way I felt last time I lived o/s)


    February 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  3. So glad I found your blog. You are simply living my dream. I look forward to reading anything happening in the beautiful country:)


    February 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm

  4. Wow .. thanks. I’m certainly living my dream but didn’t realise I might be living someone else’s. Thanks for reading the blog Rogena.


    February 24, 2009 at 10:10 am

  5. Haha, yeah I know what you mean: There’s always an excuse on a Friday night; someone’s birthday/farewell/arrival. It’s not an easy life, is it…


    February 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

  6. Henno (now that’s a south african name if ever I heard one) ..thanks for the comment … I agree it is a tough life ..but I guess someone has to lead it 😉


    February 26, 2009 at 11:37 pm

  7. Isn’t it funny how we quickly we can adapt and settle into a routine, even in the most alien of places.

    Yeah, you’re going to hit that wall at some point. you know from previous experience it is inevitable. Just as certain, you’ll come out of that into another, more tolerant and understanding phase too.

    HA, I’m no longer sure what phase I am in!

    I got back to school last week to discover they had combined all of my classes into two days!

    Expatriate Games

    March 2, 2009 at 1:19 am

  8. Hey, david from here.

    I’ve been in hcmc for eight years and- so far anyway- that part about constantly seeing and tasting and hearing and smelling things that are both unfamiliar and unexpected, never ends.

    Glad you’re enjoying your new life here in vn. Getting into some routines is a good idea. If you do get homesick, that routine and the people it involves will be your support.

    hcmc david

    March 2, 2009 at 3:10 am

  9. EG … sounds like your holiday’s over mate…. all your classes in two days ..ouch …


    March 3, 2009 at 1:09 am

  10. Thanks for dropping in david … I’m a regular reader of your blog and can recommend it to others … glad to know that if I do stay in Saigon for 8 years that I will still find new and interesting things going on around me 🙂


    March 3, 2009 at 1:10 am

  11. […] mentioned the goat place before, a local restaurant that is a semi-regular haunt of mine. I was introduced to the place by […]

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