After 2 months in Hanoi, I can safely say that I qualify as a walking tourist attraction!
The novelty of an African American person walking through the winding streets of the Old Quarter is a sight be behold! Sometimes the photos are taken without trying to be noticed and other times entire groups simply walk right up and ask to have their picture taken with me. This weekend it was a gaggle of teenage girls who were mystified by me and tripped over each other trying to stop for a photo opportunity, to which I politely smiled and obliged. I'm not really sure who all sees these photos or if I'm the topic of conversation over someone dinner table, but my new found celebrity status is taking some getting used to.
In other news...schools been in session for nearly a month now and is going well. Of course there are challenges to being on a founding team and opening a new school...but all in all, I'm really enjoying my international teaching experience thus far. One of the major differences that I notice is the focus on student learning. Not once has anyone mentioned the words "high stakes testing", "PSSA" or "test prep". Our schedule includes a 30 minute AM recess for everyone and an hour lunch/recess combination. I actually have time in my day to plan and do very little work at home. It's a completely different culture!
I'm all moved into my apartment now and am really enjoying it. I miss my pup terribly and wish that she was here with me, but it's incredibly comforting to know that she's being well taken care of by my parents and is enjoying being a country dog rather than a suburban dog. Pictures to come this weekend...after the cleaning lady makes an appearance on Friday. That's another one of my new found appreciations...a cleaning lady. It's amazing to come home to a clean house and not have to worry about mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms on the weekend.
It's finally starting to cool off here and by cool off I mean that the high temp for the day is only about 86 and the humidity levels are topping out at about 50%. To us westerners, the change is blissful. You can walk around without sweating through a shirt in 5 minutes and the hair that you spent 20 minutes flat ironing actually looks straight for more than 20 seconds when you walk outside. The locals on the other hand have referred to the change in weather as "winter coming early"! Coats, tights and sweatshirts were all the rage late last week as the morning temps dropped to 70. It really is funny to watch! I don't know what they will wear when it's really cold out! Stay tuned!
I've really been slacking off on keeping up with the blog, so my new goal is to update it every Saturday. We'll see how long that lasts.