Beginning Anew in Vietnam


A cloud of giant dragonflies descends on the football pitch. Like a football team they work together. Their opponents are the slow bugs that will soon be their afternoon snack. Other animals have made their home at the school. The call of the hidden night bird. Bats who feed at dusk. Purple and black butterflies as big as your hand flutter from flower to flower in search of precious nectar. Lightning fast lizards who climb the walls like Spiderman. The massive toad that decided to take a break in Nick’s shoe.

I’ve been in Vinh City, Vietnam for 10 days. I live at the school in my own teacher’s dorm. From my bedroom window I can see faraway mountains, an apartment building that’s being built, and farmers working in the field (picture below). There’s a cafe attached to the school called O’Nest (aka The Nest). A group of us played the board-game Taboo last night there. There are weekly movie nights. Kids line up and watch a movie on the projection screen while eating strawberry coconut ice cream. Yesterday I gave an impromptu English lesson to a Vinh City resident. He’d like to learn 10 new English words a day!

The people here are hard working and friendly. Mrs. Hanh is the principal and runs the school. She’s ever vigilant and deeply cares about the school, her staff and her students. Lisa works in The Nest. She’s cheerful and also wants to learn English. In a few weeks she’ll be returning to Vinh University. Nick and John are the veteran English teachers here. Nick is from San Diego and John is from Australia.

Here are the 3 most common questions I get from people here:

  • “How old are you?”
  • “Where are you from?”
  • Instead of asking “Are you single?”, they ask “Do you have a family?”

The school grounds are peaceful and a great place for kids to learn. A library (with 10 PC laptops) is across from my room. There’s a playground where kids can run around. Small gardens dot the campus. There’s a pool under construction. It should be done in 45 days. In the center of the campus is the football pitch complete with goals. In the afternoon I play football with my students.

This is just a glimpse at my life here in Vietnam so far. I’m very pleased that I made the decision to teach English abroad. I’m happy that I decided to make Vinh City my home-away-from-home. The experiences I’ve had in just 10 days have been incredible. I can’t wait for the next 355 days.