What's up? From the top!

This morning we learned about slang and it was hilarious. I taught phrases like "what's up?" "hot"
"freaking out" "dude" and "cut it out!" When I taught "hot" I said "that guy is really hot" (not to anyone in particular, just as an example) and one of the priests pointed to me and said "you! You are hot!" and I said "oh my gosh! You work at the church!" Everyone was cracking up ("to crack up" was another phrase we learned - "you are laughing so hard it's like you're going to crack open!"). After teaching them a bunch of words and phrases I had some of them come up to be "teacher" and teach me some Vietnamese slang words. Everyone was getting excited shouting out words for the "teacher" to write on the board and they got a kick out of hearing me attempt to pronounce things correctly. They clapped with glee when I got something right. Some words like "pro" and "kute" mean the same as in English - "professional" and "cute."

My little buddy Bao (from yesterday) came in to hang out - he stands right by my leg, a little bit behind me, almost like he is hiding behind my leg, or he runs right up to me and just stands in front of me against my legs like he is guarding me. We have a talent show on Friday so we had to rehearse! Bao followed us to the front of the church - our makeshift rehearsal studio to learn our dance to "You Raise Me Up." I tried to get the boys and girls to pair off - I raised little Bao up over my head (like Simba in "The Lion King") and said "you raise me UP! Boys be strong! Do some pushups! I want you to do this!" The couple thing was a complete fail. You can see a video on Instagram of them fooling around giggling and yelling. So we separated boys and girls and I made up an easy to follow dance - totally made it up on the spot, formation changes and everything. Le said to me earlier "Laura, do you have something prepared to teach?" and I said "Nope! We'll figure it out together!" and we did! The kids were really adamant about doing ballet so I taught them a few easy things like walking, a slow turn, and some swaying. It was a little difficult but somehow I managed to get non-dancers AND non-English speakers to follow along and remember a routine. There was a lot of laughter and they were good listeners (for the most part. I said "SHUT UP!!!" a few times - playfully, of course - and used some of our newly learned slang terms like "cut it out" and "knock it off"). I taught them the phrase "from the top!" which means "from the beginning!" in showbusiness. So I would teach them a little, we would review, then I would say "ok! From the top!" "Ok! Beginning!" I was sweaty and exhausted after singing, yelling, directing and dancing in the hot sun - at one point it started raining on me and I was like "oh thank God!" I said "I'm pooped! I'm beat! What does that mean!?" "You are tired!" "That's right!" After we finished learning our routine we went back to class to review a reading from the day before and Le bought me a sugar cane juice before lunch (thank you Le!)

In the afternoon we did a writing assignment - do you think slang should be taught to children? The conclusion was that if used in appropriate situations slang is good, but if it's used impolitely then it's bad. Everyone read aloud. My little girl gang and Bao (I learned today that Bao is Chi's little brother - she is 11 and he is 5) came by after I dismissed my class and took me around the grounds pointing out flowers to take photos of. There was a huge storm during lunch so there were a lot of bugs out - I got attacked by some ants and mosquitoes. One of my girls slapped my leg to kill a mosquito just as it was biting me! They gave me some flowers to put in my hair and we sat in my classroom to draw and play around. I would label each of their drawings: "flower" "tree" "house" so they learned a little while playing. They drew some pictures of me! They were jumping from desk to desk - little Bao would jump from desk to desk and if I was nearby he would jump right onto me! Luckily he is a very tiny, light five year old, so I was swinging him around and he was giggling and resting his head on my shoulder. So cute! I taught the girls a little bit of ballet (they are so good!) after Chi said "Laura, can you teach me ballet?" I love when she says English phrases perfectly! It's so awesome!

I just bought a six pack of toilet paper rolls for 15,000 dong (70 cents) and a bag of popcorn for 5,000 (23 cents). The Vietnamese girls are so awesome and helpful and go to the store with me when I need help. I walked into their room with an empty roll of toilet paper and said "ok, how much should this cost?" and Lam said "I'll go with you." My plan was to show up with the roll, point to it and hope for the best. One day during the first week here I went to buy some water bottles (by myself) and I just held out my wad of money for the shop keeper to take the appropriate amount from - the girls did the math and determined I was NOT ripped off, luckily!

Lessons today include: it's ok to not always have an exact plan (you'll figure it out!), you don't need language to teach, priests can be very sassy, it's ok to ask for help, and always reapply bug spray after it rains!

 My buddy Bao!

 Bao hanging out in my doorway

There's Chi!

Bao and Chi may be the cutest brother sister duo…ever
 The girls pointing out plants for me to take photos of
That's a drawing of me!



  1. I love your lessons of the day! Is that a drawing of you on the blackboard? xo