Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How not to peel a pomelo.

dear diary,

I wish I paid more attention all those times my mama cut/peeled fruit for me to eat. Why is it always the little things you don't think matter much actually do? 

I totally failed in trying to peel a pomelo yesterday. I usually buy them downstairs peeled & packaged neatly at the mart, but as I was driving back from somewhere over the weekend, I passed a huge open-air market and stocked up on some fruit. The result:

No idea why the uploader decided to flip my photo

I was tempted to just slice through everything like an orange and eat it, but I wanted to do it right. As soon as I flubbed on the first slice, I hopped onto the youchoobs and learned the proper way (also the way I learned how to roll a joint. Thanks Wiz!).

Or maybe I just got a defected pomelo? Taste-wise, definitely not. It was quite possibly the tastiest one I've had. Or maybe I'm saying that because of the effort I put into it. Either way, I have a new-found respect for the folks that not only hustle dey pomelo on the side of the streets, but will offer to carve it up for you and put it in a bag/on a tray.

One thing for sure though: by the time I'm done here, I plan to be a pro-carver like my mommy.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

smooth, mr. tin

Dear diary,

I conducted a speaking test the other day. I had a list of prompts for my students and I figured I'd choose the simplest one to start with.

Mr. Tin: Do you have a best friend? Can you describe him/her to me?
Student: No.
Mr. Tin (a little taken aback): No? You don't have a best friend? One friend you feel closer to than others? Really?
Student: She died. Last year.
Mr. Tin: *pause*
Mr. Tin: Oh. Okay. So, you're a teenager, right? What do you think teenagers find fashionable right now?

Way to segue, Mr. Tin. Level 0 damage control.

In other news: the Hoang sisters swung by for a quick visit, I now play (proper) football, and I crashed my motorbike. Yep. 

Thoa, Tin, & Anh

Mr. GQ of the Year.

The tattoo shop had a song on repeat about 17 times before I asked them to change it. I looked through their collection and found this gem.

Uhhhh, what??

From the tattoo shop's book of past clients/tattoos?

Sexy, aye? Exactly what I wanted to see in a tattoo shop - pubes.

Coworker Benedict riding on his brother, Will.

 Yeah, they're twins. And, they're gingers. Twingers, as I like to say, starting right now as I just made that up.

And I went on to score 0 goals that day.

Coworker Ian and I.

The  Hung Vuong Fury! (sponsored by

Since it's a bunch of English blokes, they're die-hards about soccer. SOCCER I SAYS. They play every Friday and I figured I could use as much physical activity as I could get considering all the beer I started drinking in VN. I've yet to score a goal, but when it happens, I'll pull a Chastain for sure.

Then, it was a night of redemption of ILA Center 5! They placed 2nd last year, so being the secret weapon that I am, we tore through this competition. 6 straight wins through the finals. Then we traded Ws/Ls until the 5th and final match and hoisted that beautiful, golden (plastic) trophy!

The Smashing Pumpkins + Mr. Vu the photobomber at the last second.

And uh, I asked a friend to take photos of the event and I guess she forgot. So, nothing from the first 3 teams, but here we are in the finals.

First rush!

Paul chucking away with his cape following his every move. How heroic.

Someone was mad!

Following a scuffle on a rush and a questionable call, our David decided to get all up in that guy's face. Words were exchanged, fingers were pointed, and chests were pushed.

The other two teams from Center 5 cheering us on.

6'3" Paul getting pegged in his lengthy legs (for the eleventeenth time)


Winners of the Best Dressed award.


Smashing Pumpkins!
Trophy, champagne, Stolichnaya vodka, and 1,000,000 to a bar&grill

Poppin' champagne!

And this happened:

Right knee.

Close up of right knee.

Closer-up of right knee.

Close-up of elbow and the juices my body was secreting.

Left knee lookin' fine.

3-toothed(teethed?) vampire bite.

Speeding/rain/pothole/something or other. Fortunate this was all that happened to me. I don't remember seeing what happened, but when I close my eyes, I can re-imagine it. I could hear the thud and feel myself tumbling, getting the wind knocked out of me. Then, the sound of a crowd of people forming around. 

----- Now, if you've ever witnessed any type of accident in the city here, you know what a zoo it could become. A buttload of people stop to see what's the happs and just chill on their bikes on the side of the road. Curious (nosy) people. ----

I throw my arm over my face so no one would be able to see and as soon as I get my breath back, I jump up, rush to my bike, let out a giant "FUCK!" and ride off to my building.

I didn't even bother cleaning up or checking myself. I just know I woke up wondering why I was in pain and then I realized. Trail of blood on my sheets and blanket and shorts. 

But, I got my bandages and ointments and tapes. Nothing broken except a little pride. 6 months in and I get my first life-long souvenir. Everything's just sore now. I can't laugh, sneeze or cough without wincing. Which is unfortunate since my other dodgeball tournament is tonight! 

Silver lining in the story, though: got a phone number last night. But, I'm pretty sure she just wants me to visit her at work and spend money. Oh, girls from the bars, mother warned me all abouts youse.

Ah, well. C'est la vie.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

enjoy your photos.

dear diary,

it has been quite a while. man, this is feeling like tapering off my xanga all over again. can't believe i used to update that crap several times a week. sorry to any of you who actually think i'm interesting enough to follow and wait for my updates.


Sax n' Art in downtown.  Owner on the bottom.
My first time going to a jazz club. The owner was phenomenal! Scholarship to Berklee, world-wide tours, etcetc. Totally saxxy.

Gillie and Justin. Former roommate + current roommate.

61 Club - men men men!
Of course, it wouldn't take long before we found the gayest club (or was it gay night?) in Saigon.

Coworkers at Vascos. 

And once my summer classes started winding down, we had trips! And a "petting zoo" came to the school. The only thing they were able to pet were bunnies and a turtle. The guinea pig and hamster weren't really friendly.

it's so fluffyyyyyyyyy. hi carol!

turtle turtle.

crazy ginger hair.

My very first class!
This was my first class I taught and first to end. Everyone passed and my TA owes me sushi.

School (all 5 or 6 ILAs in the city) trip to Cu Chi Village. Pretty much got paid to play some old-school Vietnamese games and sweat off 5 pounds in the heat. 

Bus 10!

My second class. None of the trouble-makers.

Mancala. hah.

Shrooms! Shrooms growing everywhere!

Bamboo model. waddup?

TAs and staff.

Most ridiculous game ever. Pretty much just separate all the different beans. 

Coconut shell race.

Chillin' out. Maxxin'. Relaxin'.

Magic Milk stole my shades.

Look at that tub! For makin dat fish sawc.
Imagine if you drowned in a tub of fish sauce. Sexy.

Children forced to do propaganda.
Jk. Vietnamese people love to make their kids perform. 

Jacked my student's headband. Hello Tinny!

This girl came with the craziest braided hair everyday! Always something diffraaant.

10 different types of fish sauce.

Gillie and I had the best roommate messaging system .
Whiteboards and fridges are so last decade.

Farewell party for one of our own!
Adios, Gloria!

Ok. That's enough for now. Just about all that happened in the last month or so that was worth updating. That, and I moved next to work. How convenient. That, and my roommate paid for a cook to come 5 days a week. I've never had someone cook for me for free before, other than my mom. Or my sister. Or Lana. But other than family, this is a first. Oh, privilege...what am I gonna do with you?


My experiences so far haven't really been what I imagined. I spend most of my time with expats/foreigners/coworkers. The only locals I interact with are the TAs at and students at work. Ok, and our cook. And our cleaner. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. My roommate hired a cleaner. And some dodgeball players once a week. I need to start speaking more Vietnamese.

I've yet to travel anywhere in VN. Then again, I haven't had the funds. But come October, oh boy!

Thank goodness it's payday today. I can start exploring the city. And such great timing because Anh and Thoa are in town! 

I've been struggling to write anything for the last 15 minutes, so I'll just leave. I loathe blogging. 

tinothy mai.