Friday, February 3, 2012

3 months worth of blogposts, Part II

Dear diary, 

Just completed the first day in Hanoi. In roughly 9 hours, we will be heading out for the first leg of our ride to Hoa Binh. We had a lot of fun today visiting the school that is benefiting from our fundraising. The kids were absolutely enthralled by the site of 18 foreigner-looking adults running around, chasing them , and taking photos while acting like kids themselves. But, that part of the update will come in a few days. I can't imagine updating every day of this ride and I also think it'll be asking a bit much because the availability of internet access will be so irregular. So, for now, part II of the past 3 months of my life in photo form. Enjoy!

Following my birthday and the girls' leaving do, we went out for one final dinner in Saigon before they both headed off for traveling. We decided to try out my friend's restaurant, Trinh, that specializes in Huế food. It was delicious!

Bánh bèo thập cẩm
Soft-shell crab with tamarind and peanuts. so ngon

Sticky rice and chicken
Bò tái chanh

Blurry vision of Saigon skyline from Chill bar
Next up, pre-Teacher's day! Teachers are highly respected here, so when that final weekend in November comes around, all the kids are extra nice and well-behaved (not really!) but they do come bearing gifts of all sorts for their teachers. 

Modeling with our balloon arc
One of my newest students, who I had been teaching for a handful of lessons,
brought me some roses. Thanks, dude!

Next up, Thanksgiving! This was my first Thanksgiving away from family. Obviously, it was going to be nothing like normal, but luckily, I shared the day with some couchsurfers. There were people from all over, some even celebrating this holiday for the first time. There wasn't much to it that resembled a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, other than a few food dishes. But, that doesn't mean we didn't try to make the most of it. 

We started out, of course, by going around in a circle, introducing ourselves, and then sharing what it was we were grateful for in our lives. After that, we feasted and got to know one another more. 

Dinner & dessert :)

Making some pumpkin pie before I headed out
Yup! Duck, pizza, baguettes, and 333.
A few days later, a bunch of the coworkers got together to wish one of our very own a bon voyage! Miss Pashman finished her contract at work and set off to finish out the rest of her journey elsewhere. 

Flash forward a bit and we are now in the second week of December. I'd like to remind you all again about why I enjoy ILA so much. The charity arm of the company does a lot for so many people in need. One of the final events of the year was the Saigon Super Cup. It was a 10-team football (soccer) tournament. We fielded 2 teams fro our center and remarkably ended up in the bottom of the tournament! Rigged, I says. Either way, the money we raised from the entrance fees and donations went towards providing transportation to children in our charities to travel back home to their families for Tết. 

ragtag bunch of ballers
The following day, I traveled back to my family's neighborhood to partake in my cousin's wedding. It was my first official, truly Vietnamese wedding. They had the most ridiculous entertainment I'd ever seen at a wedding: a magician!

I'm certainly no Andre Nguyen

One of the magician's pigeons blew up

duck duck duck duck duck and more duck

Cousin, hubby, and the proud, glowing (from alcohol) parents, aka my uncle and aunt
i love squid
Snapped a photo before I had to head back to work.
Mid-December rolled by and ILA had it's annual Christmas party. This was my first holiday party and it ended as well as any other holiday party that had an open bar would end.

ruined that bacon by throwing a salad into it
dead animals for all to eat
My sometime teacher's assistant
For the talent portion of the night, ILA held a competition for a video highlighting the school, its teachers, its students, and a holiday song. We unfortunately got 2nd place. I think the winner is below.

IUS - incredibly uninspiring school (sorry mike & lisa!)
doll haird
Tin & TAs galore

Steph & Kirsty sammich

Dale showing everyone how it's done
Dale showing everyone how it's REALLY done.
Okay, seriously, what's with the high-fives?
The following day, we had one last hurrah for 5 or 6 or 7 of our coworkers that finished their contract around the same time. It involved copious amounts of alcohol, tears, laughter, and more alcohol.

(Special-needs) Lisa and her helmet. Kidding!

First order of business - Power Hour! 60 shots of beer in 60 minutes 
I was in charge of tallying the shots and assigning nicknames.
Posing next to some of his artwork in Phong's room
Pretending to be Paul Connor

Nixon must pay for the blood debt!

doe-eyed kirsty bird
NOT a duck face

My coworker was waiting for his ladyfriend to finish saying her goodbyes, so I hopped on his hog to mess around. Random Vietnamese girl sitting by wanted to pose for some photos. Who am I to say no?

Trying to look all hord, haha.

Bulls-eye with the American dart. Thank you very much.

Look who I found!
About to head home, but not before I looked left & right for cars.

Frosh! Kiwis! 
Next up, a pajama birthday party and then a farewell dinner for the buds!

Look who came back to see me!
Happy birthday, Ivy!
Raw pepperonis

more duck duck duck duck duck
Ben & his uncle
And lastly, my second holiday away from home. This time, it was a bit more traditional. One of the dodgeballers invited some people over to her place for Christmas/Holiday dinner. A turkey from Black Cat and a bunch of sides from me and the Hoang sisters and it was a feast! Baked a pumpkin pie once again and boy oh boy, what a night. Food, drinks, friends and board games.

Well, there you have it. 3 months of updates in 2 measly posts. Hopefully my H2H posts have more substance.

Til next time!


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