Thursday, June 26, 2008

Last weekend in Vietnam... weird

Well, here I am, last weekend in Tam Ky. I'm excited to go home, I'm already making lists for what kind of food I want to devour once I get there
(smoked salmon on a bagel, nachos, something with stuffing, bbq, a familiar burger)
and I'm looking forward to the friends that I haven't seen in 2 months, sometimes more.
We are planning on stopping into the orphanages one more time. It's going to be weird saying goodbye. I mean, I did say my biggest goodbye to Hong a week and a half ago, but I still really loved the rest of the kids.
Our cooks are amazing too. I dont think I've talked about them enough. Grandma is quite traditional, she speaks hardly any english but can get her point across with a lkot of pointing and gentle laugh at the end. Her calm demeanor and sweet sniff kisses are enough to show us her personality. (Just yesterday she said Ba yeu Dani which mean grandma loves me!) You can't push Grandma around though, a little while ago, a man grabbed her chest at the beach and she punched him right in the face.
Mrs Haun is Grandma's daughter in law and stands about 4'8. She is trying very hard to learn english, and has gotten pretty good at it. We know that it's time to eat when we hear her bellow 'everybody!'Otherwise, it took a few daystounderstand her pidgon english, but after a few weeks I can communicate with her no problem. Her sentences are adorable, eg. Dani eat very small! you no like eat? (meaning why arent you eating very much, do you not like the food?)
I'm going to miss the two of them a lot.
At the same time, I miss my own grandmother, my friends and my family... I think I'm ready to go back.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Quiet Sunday Afternoon. (not published till Friday Afternoon... oops)

Things have been pretty crazy around here recently. The older kids from the B.O. left on Thursday for Hoi An, just a few days after Hong left. This leaves the Baby Orphanage with a lot of crying mothers, 2 lonely children who will be adopted soon and a bunch of kids under the age of 5 (including 2 children who were seperated from their older siblings). The orphanage has changed from being my favorite place to go, to my least favorite of the orphanages.
We visited the Hoi An orphanage... and it's horrible. In one room there are 30 children with birth defects (most due to agent orange). It was a horrible sight, they were confined to their beds, some tied down, most of them werent wearing underwear. One child had a head that was larger than their body. I guess the swelling expanded it, but it looked like something out of a Sci Fi movie.
Some of our kids were doing better than others adjusting to the new orphanage. Kieu, thankfully was doing fine, a little quiet, but she's ok. I was thoroughly worried that she would be called autistic again and them send her somewhere away from her friends. But others, not so much. Lieu and Lan were very upset, crying asking Carrie to take her home, Diem wouldn't get out of her room and see us or eat the fruit we bought. She was scared to leave because a few days earlier, one of the mother's beat her with a stick. It was really hard for all of us, I dont think that a single one of us got through that day without crying.
I came back on Saturday, watched some movies with Rosie and just had a quiet night in, eating ice cream and mixing up some Tang. Rosie went to the Catholic Church in Tam Ky (she knows the traditions but not all the words in Vietnamese). So here I am, quiet afternoon, reading some comics and listening to 'Danielle's Faves' which I uploaded to the computer. It's not too bad.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hue Pics

I'm just adding the link for our pictures of Hue (the place).
Here it is.


Hong's Last Day

So apparently Ive been spelling her name wrong the whole time. It's "Hong" with some accents. Anyways, she left Monday afternoon with her new American Family. I got to play with her all morning (to see pictures, click here)

I was really sad when we left after our moning session and I thought it was my last time seeing her because she was supposed to leave that afternoon.
Thankfully when we arrived in the afternoon do give the kids a special meal(they are so malnourished sometimes we cook something huge to help out)she hadn't left yet. As we drove in, the van to take her away was sitting in the parking lot. We kinda blocked the van in, and I chatted with the parents for a bit. (chatted-uncasually with tears in my eyes).

They seemed really ok. The father kept telling me that he thought we were doing a good thing helping the children out, and the mother reassured me that Hong was going to a good place. They started asking me questions about her, which made me even more sad. Like, they don't even know her yet. They have no clue how wonderful she is. I told them how quiet and sweet she is, that she tends to shy away from other kids, doesn't speak english very well but is very excited to go to America. The father laughed and said 'we were worried about having to drag her away, but she walked right out and sat in the van'. She sat there with her bag in hand (she loves keeping things in bags) and blew me kisses and waved goodbye.

After the door closed, one of the kids ran up to me, book in hand, and was like 'mai mai' (they call me 'american' in vietnamese). Hong nearly left her book behind. I didn't sleep all Sunday night because I was so fidgety so I sat at the computer and printed pictures off of her, some friends, Carrie and I so that she would have some pictures of her time at the orphanage. Thankfully, they opened the door back up and Hong looked really excited to have her book back.

Well, she's off to a new place, new family, new everything. I'm excited for her, I know this is the best opportunity for her. I hope everything works out really well.

I'm adding a link for the pics of our trip to Hue. Go back and take a look if you are interested.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Decision is final....

She is leaving tomorrow.
Man this has been a rollercoaster for me. One little girl, I dont know why such a little girl makes such a big difference in my life. One, beautiful little 8 year old girl. Her American family is picking her up early tomorrow morning. You can tell she doesn't know what to think about it. She will miss her friends, (who are kinda jealous) but knows she has a crazy adventure in front of her.
I'm excited for her, I know I should be, but its so sudden. I wish I knew earlier, I'm trying to think of a goodbye present, or print off some pictures and stuff. I wish I had known earlier so I could have gotten real pictures printed off instead of crappy black and white ones.
I should be more excited for her. It's not about me, not about me, not about me. She's off to a place where she will get fed a ton more, and have a real little sister, and two parents to look after her. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye yet. I thought I was leaving first. I guess this is exactly what the kids go through every time one of us goes home, eh? We go, they stay...

Weekend in DaNang: Day 2

The parentals are requesting pictures.
I figured I would start everyone off with a picture of my future husband. His name is Chan, he works at Pizza Plus, he is twenty five, can do sign language, read and write in English AND Vietnamese. I think I count that as knowing three languages.
He is the funniest person that I have never heard speak.

Anyways, We went to Pizza Plus (a restaurant in DaNang which hires young people who are hearing impared, teaches them sign language and cooking/serving skills). Amazing place. This was my second time there, hanging out with Nga (a girl who used to live an orphanage we work at) and Chan, the beautiful waiter boy who entertained us all the last time we went. I love it there. The food is decent, but the atmosphere is beautiful. I don't know what else to say.

To see more pictures of my weekend, click here

P.S. No I'm not actually getting married, I am coming home in two weeks... don't worry dad, you are still my number 1. Happy Father's Day!!!!

Weekend in DaNang: Day 1

While all my Canadian friends went to Nha Trang, I spent the weekend with a few Australians (Carrie and Paul). We started off with a crazy bus ride and a woman threatening to kick us off unless we pay more than everyone else on the bus.
Our hotel didn't work out because they gave us two single beds for three people. I mean, I don't mind sharing a normal sized bed, but Carrie and I didn't feel like spooning that night. The front desk staff refused to give us a new room, or tell us where another hotel was close by.
We left, went to Tam's Bar (owned by a lady Paul already knew) and asked her for some help. This woman is amazing, she has taken in about 7 children into her home, owns a restaurant, and uses the profits to help people who live up in the mountains, buying them clean water and showing them how to farm. We asked her to help us find a new hotel where the three of us could stay. She stayed silent for a moment, (I got worried we were intruding) and she jumped up and left.
A few minutes later she said that she got us a nice room in a hotel just down the street. Done deal.
I met a 16 year old American boy who was adopted from Vietnam when he was 2 who worked at Tam's place and he told me he would take me out surfing the next day.
So I was up, (not so early) and out in my bathingsuit, tank top and ready to go. The board I used was huuuge (the little guy carried it for me) but apparently the bigger the board, the easier because it is more likely to catch a wave (or just float). So I paddled around for a while, learned how to stand up. The waves were really small so I didn't do anything impressive, but I went home after a few hours with a bit of a sun burn and a huge board burn on my stomach. Yeah, I'm that cool.