Journal 21.02.2010

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Oops, it’s been a while since I gave you an update, huh.. Well, I guess it may be because I haven’t done much. The past few days I have been sleeping in, spending time dreaming about the future, drinking coffee and just hanging around. Tuesday I went to Bien Hoa, which is the first city where people settled in the south of Vietnam. Today the city is quite industrial, but the island where the first people settled is still there, probably almost looking like it did back then. In the island you can also find the oldest pagoda in South Vietnam, called the man’s pagoda.

When we visited the pagoda, Chinh, Yin and I, we went to shake our lucky number out of a box. My number was 57. Obviously 57 means that my travels will go well, that I will hear good news from far away and – hold on to your chairs – that I will get married in 2010… We all know that it will not happen, so I hope the rest is true at least.. haha.. However, I will definitely go back to Bien Hoa to see Chinh’s fantastic family, her sweet grandmother with her black teeth.. That was a thing that answered one of my questions after being here for a while. Many old people have completely black teeth. I always thought that it was because they didn’t brush them or something, but now I know that back in the days people were told to dye their teeth black. This black colour was supposed to keep the teeth healthy. Chinh’s grandmother still has her teeth, so it must have done something good. But I must say, it looks strange.

Thursday I went with Chinh to her aunt’s house in HCMC district 1. The whole family were visiting her grandmother on her dad’s side. Her dad is sick and it is difficult for him to travel far, so this time it had been about 2 months since he had seen his mother (who btw is 98 years old). So the biggest challenge was to get her from 2nd floor to ground floor to see him. It was great to meet her, even though I couldn’t talk to her at all. She hears very poorly and of course doesn’t speak a word of English, so it was interesting.. 🙂

In the evening we gathered a lot of the volunteers from SCC and went to my friend Thao’s house in District 2. District 2 is a fairly new district and it is known to have quite big houses and a lot of expat families live in the area. We only saw the ground floor of the house, so I can only imagine how big the rest of the house must be. Maybe I will get to see it some other time when I come to visit her alone. When visiting people here, you almost always stay in the front room and never get to see the whole house. Well, I was very impressed with the whole evening. The family had been cooking all day for us and they had made plenty….! We were supposed to go for karaoke afterwards, but I guess we were all so tired from the dinner that we decided to go home in stead. This was the start of my lazy few days.. All I have been doing is going to the gym, shopping a bit and washing clothes.. 🙂

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