happiness is taking things as they are...

Well. What a week! One where I have to just make myself write a post--realizing that I can't possibly write about it all--or I never will.
So, knowing that I'm going to forget some things, here's a glimpse of my week's excitement/adventure/..life:

-Taking the bus to work. Always an adventure. My family moved last weekend, and I am still deciding how I will get to work...this weekend was the bus experiement. It takes about an hour total, including about fifteen minutes of walking. Twice, I got lost and just got off the bus and took xe ôm (this is like a motorbike taxi. Pretty much any man who has a xe máy and decides to sit on a corner with an extra helmet, yelling obnoxiously at passers-by. Prices are negotiable... MCC does not encourage regular use of xe ôm, but sometimes you just gotta do it. I like to think of it as two-fold practice: Vietnamese and bargaining. I need lots of practice at both!).

-A day at work when my boss sent me four articles that were "urgent" and needed to be done by the end of the day. I'm not used to deadlines any more. It was quite a lot of pressure, but Hannah and I teamed up and tackled the job...

-Getting locked out of the house for a half hour after my morning run. Bà and Chị Hải went to the market. Yes, they knew I was out running. It was perfect shorts-and-a-long-sleeve running weather, but not perfect shorts-and-a-long-sleeve standing-around-in-front-of-the-gate-thinking-bad-words weather. So, I ran accross the street and begged the woman at the tea stand for a cup of chà xang nóng (hot tea) even though I didn't have any money. Another chance to practice Vietnamese...and see how fast I could get ready and bike to school (I exceeded my expectations and arrived a mere 3 minutes late!). And now I have a new friend who I get to wave to every time I leave the house!

-Teacher Day! Teachers are highly respected in Vietnamese culture, and on this occasion, they get lots of gifts and a few days off. On Thursday, Ali and I took our amazing teacher, Co Giang out for coffee to celebrate. We even documented the occasion.

-A WALK WITH MY HOST SISTERS! Seriously, trying to get them to do any remote form of exercise is like pulling all their teeth. But, they had two days off school for Teacher's Day, had slept till eleven that morning, nothing good was on TV (we found out later), the new neighborhood is nicer for walking, and they were bribed with money to buy snacks on the way. Or maybe they are sick of their weight-loss tea, I don't know. Anyways, I thought I would be doing well to get them to go for 15 minutes, but they wanted to keep going! I think we might have walked (slowly, yeah, but whatever) for 45 minutes! It was actually quite fun.

-Supper out at "Hot Rock Cafe" in honor of Bà, a former teacher. The restaurant was the most American one I have yet been to. They didn't even bother giving us chopsticks; I felt very clumsy with my knife and fork. I ate pizza, pasta, and garlic bread...I was very happy. Its funny because I don't really think about missing American food, but eating it that night reminded me of home (until...I was greatly amused by the fact that, after we finished stuffing ourselves with all this foreign food, Chú Hùng ordered a plate of fried rice...I had no trouble passing this up, but apparently he just can't feel full without rice, no matter how much other food he eats). Also, I felt at home with my family. I genuinely had a good time and didn't feel super awkward. I got into bed that night thinking, "I like my family!"

-Coat shopping with Cô Vân. The weather went from really hot to really cold--literally overnight. And I realized that I did not bring enough warm clothing. So on Saturday, Cô Vân took me out shopping for pretty much the entire day. Shopping is even more frustrating for me here than it is at home (yeah, who would have thought it could get worse?!) because I am about a foot taller than everyone. However, it was a great opportunity to hang out with my host mom, to ride xe máy (always a treat), and to sample some new street food, namely: Bún Ốc (breakfast noodle soup with snails) and Bánh Trôi (hot, sweet soup with sesame-and-coconut-filled rice dumplings--perfect for a cold day!!!).

-Sunday lunch by the lake. After church yesterday we strayed from our usual Indian fare, instead taking advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoying lảu (hot pot) while sitting on mats on the ground at the edge of the lake. Lảu is a meal that takes a long time and encourages loitering and conversation, so loiter and converse we did...

Ended up being what I guess I would call a good week (although I try not to rate everything in my head all the time, because I do that a lot here and usually end up frustrated), but crazy. I feel so much busier these days--so much so that one of my aunts assumed I must have a boyfriend now because I "đi chơi (go play)" so much. The business is a spectacular change from the boredom I felt when I first came here, but also accounts for the piling in my inbox (Sorry!)

I was impressed with myself because, especially early in the week, there were a few things that could have been really frustrating (and were) and that I would have expected myself to dissolve into tears about (given my tendency to cry not when I'm sad but when I'm frustrated). However, I found my self frustrated-and-laughing instead of frustrated-and-crying; I think/hope I'm getting better at relaxing and not worrying so much. I also think/hope that, when I return to the States, I will use the word "inconvenient" far less often...

As my tea-bag tag told me the other day at an appropriate moment, Happiness is taking things as they are.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you had a good week, and I really like that quote too.
    you should read mary oliver's "the messenger"