Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

One month ago, Michael and I vacationed in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. We walked, talked, drank excellent coffee and cocktails, went shopping, saw the towers, went to a butterfly and open-air bird zoo, and relaxed in our hostel. There's not a great deal to do in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, unless you're loaded, but we managed to enjoy ourselves Western style--we went shopping. My favorite thing, specifically about Kuala Lumpur, is that you can walk down the street and see so many people from so many places. On your right you'll see a woman dressed in full Muslim dress, only baring her eyes. On the left, Hindi women and men. In front of you, a group of Chinese teenagers, and in front of you, Western tourists. I love to be surrounded by many different languages at once, people from around the world communicating their idea and feelings. It's like an orchestra, a symphony, a cacophony of desire.

Friday, April 24, 2009


During the Tet break, Michael and I took a life-changing trip to Thailand. We wandered through Bangkok, spent a breathtaking day in Phuket, snorkeled in Koh Phi Phi, fell in love with Koh Lanta and returned for one final night in Bangkok. Because life has been so busy with travel and plans for travel, I didn't post these pictures on the blog, but now that we're returning to Bangkok for my birthday, I'm reminded of all the good times. Peace, Karinna

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Au Parc

A glass of red wine, plate of tzatsiki, baba ghannouj, hummus, roasted pepper salad, tabouleh, and nivik. Last night Michael and I ate dinner at Au Parc. The restaurant was quiet, dimly lit, and served tasty, natural ingredients. The ambiance directly contrasted the chaos and all-consuming heat outside. For a few hours, I felt like we were dining in Portland—Home sweet Home.

Saigon Bath

It begins again. Burdened clouds tumble across the sky. Palm trees bend, motorbikes flee, plastic bottles bounce on cracked concrete. Deafening thunder shakes glass doors, glass windows. Lightening flashes like varicose veins on aging legs, splitting lips, popping,seedless grapes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lost in Translation

Media Having Trouble Finding Right Angle On Obama's Double-Homicide

“Ms. Jones, I discovered The Onion this weekend when I was researching for current events. I was so afraid! I read that Obama killed some people, and I called my mom up to read the computer. We were frightened for hours. We called our family members, and it was awful. Until, until we realized it was a joke. My mom said, ‘they can print anything in America.’ The Onion is funny.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

Future World Leaders

Most of my students are from Vietnam or Korea. There are the few and very far between who are from the U.S.A, Germany, Australia, Italy... I will not regale you with stories from my high school days, but the bulk of my time was not spent studying for the SAT. My students wake, study, eat, study, play an instrument to become "well rounded" and study again. Many of them attend academy after school hours and Saturday school. Sunday is family or church time, so the focus, job, purpose for these young people is to maintain a high GPA and ace the SAT.

The pictures above are two of my English 10 classes. Currently, we are studying poetry, so each student presented a favorite song and played the video for the class on youtube, then analyzed the lyrics with TP-CASTT structure. Here's what I learned from the student presentations and the chatting in-between presentations: most of my students LOVE pop songs and Sponge Bob, gossip about Friends, and read Twilight when they have a spare moment. Conclusion, teenagers are teenagers are teenagers. I sound like my parents.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Phu My Hung Bikers

Biking home from lunch today in the Phu.

Favorite People in Saigon

Dyana teaches kindergarten, with her hair in the air.

Jill tortures kids with math equations, makes funny faces and shares her coffee with me.

Michael learns to play the guitar with dreams of rockdom bouncing around in his head.

These are just a few of my favorite people I see once, twice, three times a day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shower Room

Like any living space, our apartment in District 7 of Ho Chi Minh city shrinks in size the more time we spend between the walls. In the next few weeks, Michael and I are going to begin the arduous task of apartment hunting to find a place outside of the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh. But before we go, I want to share my favorite room in our apartment with you. If you’ve been to Southeast Asia, you’re probably familiar with the shower room, but if you haven’t, I must introduce you to the most spectacular use of space.This is a picture of our second bathroom i.e. the shower room. As you can see, there’s no shower curtain! All you have to do is turn on the shower, flip up the toilet seat so the cover doesn’t get soaked, and begin the morning ritual. I love the shower room because I feel like I’m showering outside. There’s no space restriction; the water travels down the walls, around the floor, and sometimes splashes over to the bathroom sink. There’s even enough room to sing and dance. If you haven’t tried a shower room before, I highly recommend it.