Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday & Friday--March 8 and 9

Professional: Have finished covering the last of the theory lectures with the students. We are so thankful for our translator and our two UMP faculty. This material is challenging when it is in your first language; I can only imagine how difficult it is when it is NOT your first language. We have spent time with each of our small groups assisting with their concept analysis. Each pair + 1 group of 3 will present on Monday for a total of 18 presentations. I am thankful for the weekend to let my brain recover!
Personal & Cultural: Thursday was the International Day of the Woman which is celebrated quite extensively here. Several of our male students presented us with flowers.

The men do the cooking while the women play games. UMP celebrated with men cooking out in the courtyard area and women playing some of the traditional games.

Notice the women still seem to be helping! Dr. Kay tried her hand at cooking a Vietnamese pancake (similar to a crepe).
This picture of some undergrad nursing students shows the traditional white uniform with cap. The male students also wear a cap but with a different design.
For lunch, all of the students (37) took us to a special room in a near-by restaurant. There was quite a celebration with lots of food, beer (I actually like the Saigon brand of beer...) with ice, and karoke. I think the students wanted to skip class but Dr. Kay and I assured them we had work to do in the afternoon!

I sang "Yesterday" (The Beatles) with one of the students and Dr. Kay & I sang "The Rose" (Bett Midler--right??). The students were very kind with their applause. Many of the students sang traditional Vietnamese songs.
After class, one of the students went with me to a nail salon to interpret so I could get my purple-dyed fingernails fixed. Somehow I ended up with a leg and foot massage that took about an hour! It was very nice but not really what I had in mind. They did get my nails fixed.
Culture: I asked the students about women smoking in VN and they said it is ok. I don't know if that is true or if they only said that to make me feel better. I have seen men smoking everywhere but not women. When I have a break at the school, I go outside the gate. At first the students were concerned for my safety and would stand by watching. I told them that I would stay close to the gate with the guard in sight. The guard was very stoic--almost looked disapproving. I would always smile and nod at him but got very little response. By Wednesday, we had our UMP picture ID as a guest lecturers, so the guard was able to see that I had official business at the school. On Thursday, I finally got the slightest smile from him when I greeted him. Today, he actually came outside the gate and stood near me in what I interpreted as a protective gesture!
Tomorrow some students are taking us to the seashore. I am so excited! Apparently it is a bit of a drive but we will be able to see another part of Vietnam that is very different from HCM City. And, I will get to go swimming in the ocean! Stay tuned...

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