Time sure flies when you’re having fun! It’s been over four months since we arrived in Vietnam. Things have been moving at a pace too fast to recount them all; but here are just a few amazing memories from the past few weeks.
The last two weekends we have been given the opportunity to take two amazing trips! The first one, two weekends ago, was to Phan Thiet, a stunning beach in Vietnam. We stayed at a gorgeous resort on the beach and were honestly too lazy to leave! We were there for four days and spent them lying out on the beach or swimming. It was without a doubt one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever been to. There were TONS of gorgeous purple, orange and yellow shells as well. It was nice to have a relaxing weekend out of the city.
This past weekend we got to go to Da Lat, a city in the mountains. The weather there was AMAZING. It was in the 70s, and it felt so nice to be able to wear a pair of jeans for the first time in four months! While in Da Lat, we did a TON of shopping! We all know how much I love to shop… In addition to shopping, we got to take a take a ride on a loog-like roller coaster through the forest, SO MUCH FUN! It ended at a massive, gorgeous waterfall! It was amazing weekend!
In the past few weeks, we have made amazing memories, as well as amazing new friends. Its so sad to think we’re going to have to leave everyone and our new lives here in less than a month! :’(
So sorry I haven’t been keeping my blog up to date. I must admit, I am not a very consistent blogger! Facebook is probably the easiest way to track my adventures.
I spent the entire month of February traveling Vietnam and Cambodia! The beginning was with school and friends over Tet Holiday and then my parents and brother came. The traveling was amazing and there were many gorgeous sites. I have pictures to post, but iPhoto is not importing so I will get them up as soon as I can. It was great to see family and travel! Between the Tet trip and traveling with my family, I have been to Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang, Sa Huynh, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and Siem Reap/Angkor Wat in Cambodia. (Pictures and more details to come soon, I promise!)
After two and a half months, we’ve realized how normal everything feels. We have our routine down and District 11, HCM, has really started to feel like home. The people at our favorite restaurants know us and what we want, it all just feels so normal.
Cé Cé, Carrie, Eva, and Jack Henry. My crazy Camden crew… You have made this trip amazing. Without you four, I have no idea what I would do. You are truly the best. I would be lost without you. I love you all to bits <3
Sorry about the delayed post! We have been very, very busy.
Over the past few weeks, school has really gotten in full swing. We do not have a lot of classes though, my schedule is: Study hall, math, biology, Vietnamese/study hall (it alternates), lunch, English Study hall (We have independent studies in English), crafts, study hall. So its not too much work. We were also expecting math to be a lot more challenging than it is. It’s not that it’s so hard, it’s just fast! They do one section per day, opposed to Camden that does about a section a week. English is also surprisingly hard, one of the English teachers wrote out an independent study for us that is a LOT of work!
We have been having fun too though!! We learned how to use the public bus system to get into District 1, which is a great place for shopping. However, we were never told that the bus doesn’t run after 6pm, so we once spent an hour looking for our bus and never found it.
A yummy chocolate mousse cake I got in District 1!!
In addition to that, it was Carrie’s birthday. For her birthday, we got her a cake and went rollerskating!
We were all very apprehensive!
Jack (Now known as “Mr. Phoenix”) Thought he was really cool…
Carrie’s fantabulous cake!
Last Friday we went to the US Consulate and American Center to register. The consulate was brief, but at the American Center we were asked to come back and give a presentation on Maine and come regularly to help Vietnamese students who want to come to the States practice their English, which is a really great opportunity!
It’s Wednesday night here and it is almost Tet Holiday, the lunar new year. Tet is huge in Vietnam. People are already setting fireworks off in the street at midnight which makes it VERY hard to sleep! We have two weeks of school off and we are going to travel around Vietnam with Dr. Binh, a few teachers, and some members of student council! It’ll definitely be a great time!
AND I AM ALSO HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE WE FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO TURN ON THE HOT WATER!!!
In the past view days we’ve began to enjoy the fine wonders of learning (Sarcasm). Sadly, we now have to learn things because after a few days they put us in the right classes which meant no more doing nothing… See images below for further explanation…
Ce and me!
Eva’s model shot… Note: Jack Henry in the backround casually creeping…
Besides the classes getting corrected, we have also discovered a new addiction: Iced coffee. It is made with coffee and sweetened condensed milk, it is AMAZING.
The frappes at our school cafeteria.
Iced Coffee at our favorite Pho restaurant.
On Saturday, we went shopping in District 1 with our friend, Lucias. We started the day off with lunch, which for most of us was really good sushi!
After sushi, we walked around District 1 shopping!
Playing dress up!
So. Much. Fun.
After we shopped around a bit, buying virtually nothing, we went out to a really fun dinner at a restaurant where we barbequed our own food on small grills in front of us build into the tables.
On the way home, poor Carrie barely fit in the back of the cab…
On Sunday, we spend the day exploring around our dorms in District 11. We found some interesting things: like approximately four nail places on our street and a food cart that sold chicken heads! We actually ate dinner there, but ordered chicken thighs.
School again tomorrow! We all really love it here!
Extremely early on Monday morning, we finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh after hours, well days, of flying. It was hot and we were all melting but surprisingly awake. The driver from APU met us at the airport and drove us to our dorm. The rooms are surprisingly nice, I’m rooming with Cece. The rest of the dorm was empty though because everyone was on break. There’s two queen sized beds, a mini fridge, two desks, a bathroom and NO hot water. We stayed up the whole first night then around, probably 7, ventured out into the city; all the way across an empty street, down an empty block to the boys dorm… Quite adventurous. (Not). We met up with a Vietnamese boy who goes to APU who showed us around, got us to an ATM and took us to breakfast. Our first meal was pho, a traditional Vietnamese dish with pork, rice noodles, and broth. It was VERY good.
In the late morning we traveled out of the city to Cu Chi, to visit Dr. Binh who owns and runs APU International School. We arrived at her house which was literally like a paradise, it had a lot over rivers flowing around with exotic plants and and small buildings with different purposes. We had a large meal with Dr. Binh with several courses, then the other Camden students, Will (the Waterville student) and I walked around taking pictures.
As you can see, Carrie is kind of completely gorgeous right here.
Jack on the other side of one of the ponds at Dr. Binh’s.
We spend the night and next morning in Cu Chi then came back to Ho Chi Minh where we met up with some members of student council and toured District 1, which is the touristy area of Ho Chi Minh. It was very strange, in Cu Chi and Ho Chi Minh, people would come up to us and touch us because of our pale skin. It definitely took some getting used to. And Eva and I crossed the street all by ourselves!
They don’t stop for you, you just have to hope for the best…
Today was our first day of school and quite interesting. First of all, they just didn’t have uniforms in our sizes, it’s like they’d run out of small ones, mines just massive. (Picture to come later). Our schedules are extremely messed up, but apparently they will eventually be fixed. For example, my schedule is BLANK (Late arrival?) Pre-Calc (What happened to Algebra II?) Crafts (Carrie and I were forced to make paper flowers while everyone watched us) Lunch, Physics (I’m sad I can’t take that one because it seemed really easy) Computer Science (All we learned was no student from Maine knew how to turn on a PC desktop) Vietnamese (The alphabet looks the same but its not… It’s so hard) Then gym (I have my PE Credits and I do not do physical activity, especially when it’s in the mid to high 90s)
Cece and I decided it would be a good idea to rearrange our room because we realized we had drawers in our beds we could not access and there is very limited storage. So Cece and I, who are both only about five feet moved two queen sized beds and two desks to completely different places all within an extremely small space. It was quite impressive. When the two beds take up about 80% of the room, it is next to impossible to move anything, I’m not sure how we did it.
Cece and me! <3
Soooo… Thats about all for now. It’s hot, I’m tired, and I’m melting… But I’m having a blast.
Over the summer, probably late July, I was having lunch with my friend Carrie, who informed me she was going to Vietnam for a semester, with our other best friend Eva. So, we then decided I should just go too. In a quick 24 hours, I had filled out the application and been accepted to APU International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Now, I’m getting ready to leave… Not really though. Less than two weeks left and it still doesn’t feel real; I haven’t even started packing… Not that I’m even entirely sure what to bring.
12 more days!