Happy to be yourself

This morning we continued learning about careers and had a debate - do something you love and make
little money or do somethng you hate and make a lot of money? It was similar to the love vs. money debate we had a few weeks ago. One of my favorite statements was when Vic said that those who do what they love for little money are "happy to be themselves" - then he referenced "Just The Way You Are," a song we learned last week about how you are perfect just as you are. I love that they understood that message! You are perfect and lovely ("lovely" is one of their favorite words) and deserving of love and happiness just as you are, no need to change. One of the priests bought us all sugar cane juice and my students planned for a farewell party tomorrow - they were asking me about my favorite foods and drinks. Very sweet. In the afternoon we learned about health and I had them write down ways they can be healthy (or healthier). There is a lot of germ sharing over here, so I explained to them how germs are spread and what they can do to avoid spreading germs (wash your hands with soap and water A LOT, do not share chopsticks or water bottles, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze etc). I had them write down in their notebooks ways they can be healthy including hygiene, healthy eating, exercise and NO SMOKING OR DRUGS.

After class I went with the little girls to Chi and Bao's house. It is a rectangle of concrete with a straw roof (no walls); there is one small room made of bricks where they sleep. I met her parents who look so young, I think they are barely thirty. Her mother is beautiful and Chi has her exact smile. We sat down and they gave us iced tea and lychee while Chi's dad smoked a cigarette and her mom looked on smiling and laughing as Bao kept grabbing me and motioning for me to pick him up. Han was my little translator (she is a cute preteen who speaks English very well) and I told her "tell them I love their children!" Chi and Bao live right next to one of my students, Bo. We went to visit her and she gave me a very sweet card and keychain. Bo has Facebook (she friended my mom!), so I'll be able to send her messages to check on Chi, Bao and the rest of the kids once I'm home. I will really miss these sweet little kids! I wish they didn't live so far away. It's amazing to me that I had a special relationship with them even though we couldn't speak to each other in the same language. I will miss Bao running to see me and scooping him up while Chi looks on smiling.

After visiting with Chi's family we biked around on some of the dirt roads (I biked with Han on the back - it's hard! I don't know how she manages to bike with ME on the back!), Truc gave me a bracelet (she said "low-rah," pulled it out of her pocket and put it on my wrist) and I bought them all sugar cane juice. Tomorrow is my last day of teaching!

 At the end of our first week we enjoyed sugar cane juice together - since then students have come and gone, many attended class consistently and have learned some new things. Now almost at the end of a month we share another round!

 My little buddy! We met during my second week of teaching and he was instantly attached. I will miss carrying him around!

 Good job photographer Hung!

 I don't need to hold on to him, he stays put!
 I tried to put him down and he jumped right back

 Action shot of Nam by photographer Hung!

 My student Bo and Chi&Bao's parents outside of their home - photography by Han!

 There's Han! She was carrying my backpack for me

 Inside the newly built school - it's so nice and has beautiful views
 Jump Chi!
The kids cracked up when they saw this photo!
A little tour - walking to breakfast this morning
Here's a bonus video from the first week - we had a LOT of energy back then! Taken by Uyen :)



  1. What a fantastic post Laura! Those kids are really going to miss you...and you them. xox

  2. What an amazing experience this has been! Can't wait to see you. xo