January 27, 2013
We grabbed egg bahn mi sandwiches for breakfast, then went on a short bike ride to the high school with Truc, our new friend from the night before.
The room we were meeting in was already full of students and teachers. We were given places of honor, right up front. Immediately, we were descended upon. First, we met all the teachers and answered questions. We discovered that there would be a fashion show along with some singing and dancing. Also, would we mind getting up and talking with the students and answering any questions? Did we want to be judges in the fashion show? Yes, yes, of course.
The kids were a little more shy with us, but some of them were brave enough to try their english out on us, which was quite fun. The hardest question was, “how are Vietnamese traditions different than American traditions?” Wowzers, weren’t sure that could be summed up in a couple basic english sentences, or if we even knew how to start answering it. We managed to blunder on about about how our typical family structure/living arrangements was different which seemed to satisfy the questioner.
The 4 hour meeting was a whirlwind of activity and conducted entirely in English. Everyone spoke good, clear English and we were both impressed with the participation level of the students. They had been divided into 6 groups of 6 to 8 students. Each group designed a “collection” for the fashion show and everyone got up at some point to preform a song or dance.
It was so fun to be around this energetic group of kids and adults. I think we took about a million pictures with everyone at the end of the meeting. As we were leaving, I asked Truc if we had just witnessed a typical meeting. Oh yes, sometimes they do even more activities, like play games.
Truc and two of her friends joined us for lunch at the chay restaurant. We were able to ask her lots of questions about the meaning of words and what other foreigners do in the town. She said she would take us on a tour after we go have a nap and the sun isn’t so hot. I took her suggestion and passed out, while Chandler just read.
Around 4, Truc and her two friends met us in the lobby and took us on a bike ride to the other side of town. We were going to go on a little hike to see a lake, a pagoda and a beautiful view of the green fields. Somehow, we also picked up 4 extra friends on the bike ride over.
Tri Ton is set in a valley and we were able to get a nice view of the area.
The pagoda was beautiful, as they all are. This one had a connection to the Khmer minority that lived in the region. It was surrounded by a series of statues in various scenes. Truc told us the statues tell a story, but none of them knew the story. Guess we’ll just make one up.
We headed back to the hotel as it got dark and said goodbye to our new friends. We were both so happy that we decided to stay for the whole day.