I arrived at class and some of the girls had written my name on the board - "Lora." Today we learned about transportation and travel. I had several new faces in my class today, including some of the brothers who work at the church (I eat with these guys every day, but they are very quiet. I was excited that they came! They're in their late twenties). I have a ton of new Vietnamese Facebook friends, and according to Facebook as of 5pm yesterday, two of my students are "in a relationship," so I had fun teasing them a little bit - "Boyfriend and girlfriend!?" "Nonononono!!" "Yes! On Facebook! It's official!" "Nononono! Not official!" We learned about modes of transportation - I started by asking them for words which I wrote on the board (one of the brothers said "UFO!!!") then I introduced some new vocabulary as well as some travel verbs and phrases like "on time" and "to be in a rush."  My TA Le had the great idea to have the new students introduce themselves to the class like we did on the first day. One of the boys has 5 sisters, 4 brothers, and 5 dogs!!! I said "are your parents tired?" Le translated for me and he smiled and nodded "yes." I loved to hear about their lives and families. Most of them are very quiet when they speak to the class. My little buddy Map was hanging in my class for a little this morning, and he helped me demonstrate "loud" and "quiet" - (screaming) "LOUD!!!!" (whispering) "quiet…"

We broke up into pairs to work on a conversation in which two friends talked about their summer travel plans. The conversation mentioned places like San Francisco, New York, St. Louis, Chicago and Boston. I pulled up photos of each place on my computer and walked around to each pair to show them the photos and talk to them about the places. They pointed to things like the Gateway Arch asking me what it was called. One of the girls saw Central Park and said "it's like a resort!" I pointed to the general direction of my apartment and told them "that's where I live!" They were amazed - so close to the resort! When I showed them a picture of D.C. they said "White House!!!" Each group said "thank you" after I finished showing them the photos and talking with them. None of my students have been to the United States and I have been to almost every place that we talked about today. I felt so lucky and grateful. I thought back to my time on tour with "West Side Story" and all of the places in the United States I saw on that contract - suddenly that time we drove by Wrigley Field on a 12 hour bus ride between shows, smelly and tired and sore and pissed off, turned into a blessing. I felt so lucky to be able to show them the picture of the bean in Chicago and say "I've been there. I saw my reflection in that bean!"

One of the words we learned today was "awesome." It was in the conversation we worked on and it's a word I use frequently with my students - it's a difficult one to pronounce. I was explaining what it meant to one of the girls "it means very good" and she said "oh! you're on fire!!!" and I was so excited!!! She remembered from the first day! Towards the end of class in the morning we began a writing assignment about a "dream trip." The students are excited to have me come sit with them and correct their work, and are always very gracious ("Oh! Thank you!") and open to learning. In the afternoon I taught vocabulary to students that weren't there in the morning, we continued with our writing assignment, and then we played a fun game of pictionary (Team Lucky Star vs Team Lonely Star - their name choices!)

After that it was playtime! I danced for literally an hour straight and was dripping with sweat, sunscreen and bug spray. The kids make a circle around me and I tried to get them to join in but they just stood there watching. At one point I was just doing a full improvisation performance - floorwork and everything (I was filthy, but no worries - the little girls like to help keep my clean by brushing me off, picking away lint, fixing my clothes etc). My girl group entourage remained loyal following me wherever I went. At one point we were sitting down together and one of the girls asked Trang (in Vietnamese) what my religion was. That's a long story, so I showed her my rosary bracelet that my friend Becky (hi Bec!) got me in Medjugorje. I have been wearing it every day on this trip along with an angel bracelet my mom made for me (hi Mom!). After I pointed to it and the girls grabbed my wrist and looked at it, they held out their wrists and showed me their own rosary bracelets! It was a very special moment - we can't understand what the other is saying, but we know exactly what the rosary means, what prayer means, what faith and love and compassion mean. There was a pretty epic "Let It Go" sing along with all of the teachers and the kids, followed by an amazing dance party. Check out the video at the bottom! Little Huy is pretty much a breakdancer! It started pouring after dinner so I enjoyed a run home in the rain - it felt so good to run! I miss my runs in Riverside Park but I have to say running down the street in the pouring rain in Duc Linh was pretty awesome. I was soaked through by the time I got back to my room. Tomorrow we will learn "The Star Spangled Banner" for the fourth of July! Time to rest (my voice is DEAD! Somehow it works with the kids - I scream and sing my face off all day, then by the end of the night I'm hoarse and coughing like crazy).

 Some of my students riding home from class (the mask is for the smog caused by motorbikes and trucks)
 Little Huy!!
Running away from the camera 

This is how we wash our dishes! Assembly line!
 Hiding from the camera!

 Practicing - some of the girls can do full splits! One of them can kick her face!

 Running away from the camera!

Rosary bracelets


  1. Oh my goodness Laura lu! That made me smile! Beautiful! xoxo