One week in the life of backpackingteacher
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.
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.
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.