**Previously started this on the 19th, but didn’t have time to upload it! Enjoy!
Time flies. Today I had my final in my Vietnamese language class. It was similarly difficult to the two previous exams however, I was not discouraged because I have seen great improvement in my language skills over the past 6 or 7 so weeks that I have been in Vietnam. Though my class is finish, I still plan to continue studying Vietnamese through reading the news, magazines, and books and through talking to the various people I will encounter especially during my independent study period.
This past Wednesday, my language teacher held class at a local bookstore/coffee shop. It reminded me of Barnes and Noble, they even had a membership card for discounts. We reviewed grammar rules and then delved into analyzing a poem by one of Vietnam’s famous poets/musicians – Trịnh Công Sơn. Over the 600 pieces of poems/songs he wrote, each can be categorized into a poem about love, the homeland, or destiny. We read a little background about him and excerpts from an interview he had before passing away in 2001. Mr. Trinh loved Vietnam—the people, natural landscape, lifestyle—and he wanted to capture his love through music. As he said in the interview, though he was growing old, the music he wrote will remain forever young.
Here’s the poem if you are interested in reading/translating it: http://www.trinh-cong-son.com/bietdaunguoncoi.html
After lunch, my classmates and I treated ourselves with a nice lunch at Au Parc, a recommended Mediterranean café. The café was busy-a good sign. We sat on the second floor in a brightly painted yellow walled room decorated ornately with Mediterranean designs and filled with colorful pillows. Everything on the menu looked delicious so narrowing down the choices took some time. I went to a daily special on their blackboard…I’ll definitely be back there when I return to HCMC.
Tonight, everyone and their homestay families gathered for a final dinner at the Zen Plaza. We ate delicious Vietnamese food –buffet style. Not disgusting Chinese buffet-like food. There were many many choices. I tried bits of this and that. My favorite dish was probably the banana flower leaf salad. I’m going to miss my homestay, especially the conversations I had with my homestay mom. I plan to visit them when I return to the city and possibly going to see “Breaking Dawn 2” with my homestay sisters. This past week we cooked up a storm. I showed them how they could use the apple butter I gave them for apple pie making. The pie turned out great! However, they aren’t accustomed to eating baked apples, so they didn’t like as much. My homestay mom commented that it was too sweet…as she was eating two sugar cookies, haha. She’s funny.
Saturday night we caught a plane to Da Nang and then a bus to Hoi An, an World Heritage site, renowned for its preservation of ancient town infrastructure and the beaches just a bike ride away. Check back for posts about my ventures through Hoi An and the rest of Central VN!